WHSmith (also written WH Smith, and known colloquially as Smith's and formerly as W. H. Smith & Son) is a British retailer, headquartered in Swindon, England, which operates a chain of high street, railway station, airport, port, hospital and motorway service station shops selling books, stationery, magazines, newspapers, entertainment products and confectionery.

WH Smith plc
Founded1792; 230 years ago (1792) in London, England
HeadquartersSwindon, England, UK
Number of locations
1,700 (570 high street & 1,130 travel) (February 2020)[1]
Key people
Henry Staunton (Chairman)
Carl Cowling (CEO)
Revenue £886 million (2021)[2]
£(27) million (2021)[2]
£(80) million (2021)[2]
Number of employees
11,235 (2021)[2]

www.whsmithplc.co.uk Consumer


The company was formed by Henry Walton Smith and his wife Anna in 1792 as a news vendor in London. It remained under the ownership of the Smith family for many years and saw large-scale expansion during the 1970s as the company began to diversify into other markets. Following a rejected private equity takeover in 2004, the company began to focus on its core retail business. It was responsible for the creation of the ISBN book identifier.[3]

WHSmith is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

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