Wholesaler's profits higher than expected and WH Smiths looks set to pay chief executive bumper bonus

Book wholesaler Bertrams profits ahead of expectations

Wholesaler Bertrams is in consultation with 140 staff at its library supply business in Leeds over its possible relocation to Norwich. Bertrams is owned by Smiths News who said the relocation of its library arm "would reduce costs, but just as importantly it would improve service by reducing the lead time for the processing of library books, one of the key measures of service identified by the library consortia".

Bertrams' revenues totalled £75.8m in the half year to 28th February. The wholesaler's operating profit of £2.4m was ahead of expectations and "significantly ahead" of the £0.7m achieved in the equivalent period last year, before it was bought by Smiths News.

Mark Cashmore, group chief executive, said: "Bertrams continues to perform ahead of our expectations and is now well placed to capitalise on growing its online, academic and international sales." Cashmore said the business had recently won a new two-year book contract with HMV.

Overall revenue at Smiths News rose 51% to £919.8m, with profit before tax £15.3m, up 43%.

Meanwhile at W H Smiths...

Kate Swann, chief executive of W H Smith, could bag a payday of more than £5m under a bumper management incentive plan being drawn up by the newsagent and stationery chain. It would keep her at the helm of the retailer for at least another three years.

Swann, 44, is regarded as one of the hottest properties in the retail sector after growing profits four-fold since taking the helm at W H Smith in 2003.

Perhaps this isn't surprising seeing how much the company charge publishers for putting one title into their stores! But then the retail chain can shift bucketloads of books particularly at airports, so some might say it is marketing money well spent.