Australian Newsagency Blog

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

Does WH Smith plan to expand in Australia beyond Wild Cards and Gifts?

Mark Fletcher
June 11th, 2014 · 5 Comments

In March this year a rumour was put to me that WH Smith had purchased a newsagency related business in Australia. I reported the rumour to one of the owners of the Australian business. They denied it and that was the end of it as far as I was concerned.

A couple of weeks ago, I was told another rumour about WH Smith acquiring a local newsagency related business. This, too, was denied.

Last week, yet another rumour about WH Smith acquiring yet another newsagency related business.

Either many people are jumping at shadows or there will soon be an announcement to put meat on the bones of the rumours. That the name WH Smith is being spoken of so much in newsagent and newsagency supplier circles speaks to the interest and / or fear we have here of this large UK business.

The speculation is heightened by the company not saying much on the back of their swift and unexpected purchase of the local Wild business.

My view is that WH Smith is not a small or medium-sized operator. Their model relies on a mass network. In the UK it is transit and high street businesses. In Australia it is hospital related retail, transit retail and a mid-size gift franchise group. What they have today feels, to me, incomplete. I am expecting news about WH Smith in Australia – I am not sure when and I am not sure what, specifically, the news will be but I am expecting news.

11 likes

Category: Newsagency challenges · newsagency of the future

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 John // Jun 11, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    What are newsagents worried about with WH smith. Yes they are a big company but they are just the same competition as to what we have now isn’t it? Being as corporate they could not buy stores with lotto anyway could they? We need to work together as newsagents and work against our competition, not ourselves as happens now.

    2 likes

  • 2 Mark Fletcher // Jun 11, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    John newsagents have never all worked together and never will, not now.

    4 likes

  • 3 Tracey // Jun 11, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    John you are right newsagents do not work together and WH Smith is just another competitor. Not sure they will get a lotto licence though, but maybe someone else may understand the business better.

    0 likes

  • 4 Amanda // Jun 14, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Not sure why you think WH Smith could not get a lotto licence John? Have you not heard of SupaNews, 7eleven or Coles Express? All have lotto licences.

    0 likes

  • 5 Mark Fletcher // Jun 14, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    I agree Amanda – the restrictions on the types of businesses getting a licence for Tatts products are lower today than ever before and I expect them to get lower.

    1 likes

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