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.