Back in 1792, on Little Grosvenor Street in London a news vendor named Henry Walton Smith first opened the doors of H W Smith. Little did he know that his small newsagent would go on to become the first chain store company in the world and quickly become a household name across the UK and the rest of the world. Roll on 225 years to 2017 and WHSmith is celebrating its 225th anniversary.
We quickly became the favoured newsagent, stationers and bookseller, opening stores across the UK. But we were just getting started. In 1848 we opened our first Travel store – a bookstall at Euston Station and in 1903 we opened our first international store in Paris. And we’ve been growing ever since.
Today we have over 1,300 WHSmith stores worldwide, with over 750 in Travel locations. Growth in the Travel business has accelerated over the last five years and we now have over 200 international stores, across 25 countries from Sweden to Saudi Arabia, and France to Fiji.
Not bad for a business that started life as a small news vendor in a back street in 1792. But dedication and vision for the future can take you places. And our commitment to delivering the best products for our customers has taken us all over the world.
WHSmith is a leading retailer across the globe and is the UK’s favourite bookseller, stationer and newsagent. The Group is made up of two core businesses – Travel and High Street. Each business focuses on how to best service customers’ needs in the environments in which we operate.
The Travel sector sells a tailored range of newspapers, magazines, books and impulse products determined to satisfy all needs guaranteed for an enjoyable trip. We are perfectly located where our customers need us most – at airports, buses and railway stations. At every Travel store, our store layouts and inventory are made to reflect the unique preferences and demands of people on the move. Without a doubt, this is how we became a leading retailer in convenience, books and news for the world’s travelling customer.
Our High Street stores boast an extensive product and convenience range including stationery, news and impulse products and books. We believe that accessibility and the unique WHSmith offer and experience is key to becoming the UK’s favourite high street stationer, bookseller and newsagent. And our stores, seasonal and long term plans always reflect this mindset.