WH Smith has won the tender to operate 18 former Dixons Travel stores at UK airports, and will reopen them under its previously US-focused InMotion brand.

In April Electronics retailer Dixons Carphone announced plans to permanently shut all of its 35 Dixons Travel airport outlets, and WH Smith will now take over 18 of these, at airports including Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester, Luton, Birmingham and East Midlands.

The group describes its InMotion brand as “our market leading tech and accessories business in North America”, with 117 stores across 43 US airports.

It said that “Combining our learnings and expertise from North America, these stores will provide passengers with a superior customer service experience and a combination of premium products from brands such as Apple and Samsung, as well as an extensive range of tech accessories”.

WH Smith also said that “In a fully recovered travel environment, we anticipate that these stores will deliver sales of c.£60m per year”.

The group confirmed the news as it published its latest trading update, in which it said that “While both our Travel and High Street businesses continue to be impacted by the current trading environment, we are encouraged by the improving trends”.

Total revenue in its UK travel division during the 18 weeks to July 3, 2021 was 32 per cent of 2019 levels, although in the week to the same date this had risen to 38 per cent.

“Going forward, we see further opportunities to win additional WH Smith stores in airports and hospitals and we are well positioned as travel markets recover and passenger numbers increase,” the group said.

In North America total revenue reached 88 per cent of 2019 levels in June, while in Europe it said that it was seeing “a gradual improvement as passenger numbers begin to recover”.

In May WH Smith announced plans to open around 100 new travel stores over the next three years.

WH Smith to open 100 new travel stores

whsmith.co.uk, inmotionstores.com