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WH Smith to Sell Alcohol at U.K. Train-Station Bookshops

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- WH Smith Plc, a U.K. book retailer and stationer with more than 1,100 stores, plans to widen sales of alcoholic drinks to its outlets at railway stations.

The company is broadening its range of products and will sell alcohol “to meet the needs of customers on the move,” the Swindon, England-based retailer said today in an e-mail.

WH Smith operates more than 560 shops, which it calls travel stores, at train stations, airports, hospitals, workplaces and motorway service stations, according to its website. The company’s Liverpool Street rail station bookshop in London’s financial district is seeking a license to sell alcohol, according to an advertisement yesterday in the Evening Standard newspaper, which didn’t specify the products that would be on offer.

The retailer plans “a convenience range of alcoholic drinks in a selected number of WH Smith mainline rail-station stores,” building on a “small number” of travel stores that already sell the products, the company said.

WH Smith’s total group sales fell 3 percent, and revenue at outlets open at least a year declined 5 percent for the 21 weeks to Jan. 21, the retailer said Jan. 25. The travel stores outperformed the group with a total-sales increase of 2 percent and like-for-like revenue decline of 3 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Neil Callanan in London at ncallanan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net

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