Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Understanding the new competitor: WH Smith

Mark Fletcher
March 10th, 2014 · 5 Comments

whsexpressThe newsagency on the ground level of the Virgin domestic terminal at Sydney Airport is now a WH Smith business, another new outlet from the successful UK retailer that is expanding in Australia. This location is different to others I have written about several times recently.

I saw WH Smith Express today. From the name to the in-store offering, this a more focussed business than had occupied this location for many years. It’s impressive.

This is what WH Smith brings to Australia, retail focus, absolute clarity on their offer and all their brand stands for.

WH Smith is a brand on the move in Australia. Newsagents need to have a plan – from the individual business perspective to brands we trade under.

Take a look at the WH Smith corporate website and you will soon see that they dominate in the UK the space we occupy here. There are not here to escape the harsh UK winter. No, they are here for profit.  We need to develop our response.


Category: Newsagency challenges · Newsagency management · newsagency of the future · Newsagency opportunities · WH Smith

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gary Carr // Mar 10, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    I am interested. Do have something in mind or is this just a rhetorical statement.


  • 2 KMc // Mar 11, 2014 at 12:12 AM

    This is where there is perfect convergence of Big Retail and Big Property. If we as an individual operator start a similar store in a major shopping centre we could probably generate a bottom line of about $75K (after paying outrageous rents) on an investment of $200K. $75K is not a decent income for an individual. If W H Smith invest $2.0 Million in ten stores and generate an income of $700K then that’s not a bad ROCE to put into the annual report. If they come at it in waves of 5 or 10 sites it’s a signal to the rest of us: Get big or Get out !


  • 3 Mark Fletcher // Mar 11, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    The announced and probably yet to be announced by moves by WH Smith remind us how important retail is. Any competitive situation will be won by strategically retailers and not agents.


  • 4 Steve Denham // Mar 11, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    WH Smith have a formula that works in the UK travel sector and has a growing network of sites across the world. The last decade has shown WHS to be a confident operator of these sites. The key thing that they been doing has been taking cost out of running their business from store level through to head office. Add to this a push to high margins and they have a successful business model.


  • 5 Mark Fletcher // Mar 11, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Steve thanks for your insights from the UK. We need to not underestimate their moves here in Australia.


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