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Major British Retail Chain Opens in Budapest

Hungary Today 2024.01.16.

A long-established British retailer, WHSmith, has entered the Hungarian market. It immediately opened a giant store; the question is whether this will be followed by further expansion. The opening of the major retail chain in Budapest was highlighted by Budflyer.

The new store is not just anywhere: it opened on the departure side of Terminal 2B at Liszt Ferenc International Airport, writes Világgazdaság.

This is no coincidence, of course, as WHSmith has a strong preference for airports and transport terminals.

This is why the brand may be familiar to many people, for example, from their travels in England. However, the chain is not limited to such locations and has a much more extensive network than the duty free shops that are common in an airport environment.


Founded in 1792, Smith originally started out as a family-run newsagent, but soon grew into a chain and became the world’s first retail chain when WHSmith was established in 1828. Last year, they celebrated their 231st anniversary. The retailer is the UK market leader, with more than 600 stores in key public areas (high streets and shopping streets) and around 800 more in airports, railway stations, hospitals, and along motorways. They are also present in Australia, South-East Asia, India, and the Middle East. They now operate in over 120 airports in thirty-two countries.

Their main profile is books, newspapers, and stationery, but recently have expanded their range of products. Their stores in different destinations include

  • some local products
  • electronic equipment
  • food and drink.

The shop at Budapest Airport opened three weeks ago in mid-December. The development was reported on social media.

In a LinkedIn post, the company wrote that they had opened a 1,200 square meter store offering a range of key products and local specialties to passengers. They also said the Hungarian store opening is part of a process to launch more than 100 new stores in the next year. It was not revealed whether more WHSmith stores will open in our country.

In any case, WHSmith’s Hungarian subsidiary was registered as WH Smith Hungary in the summer of 2023. The company has a registered capital of HUF 3 million (EUR 7,889).

WHSmith is no stranger to controversy with a Hungarian flavor either. In September 2022, the British retailer had removed the well-respected magazine, The European Conservative, from its range. The reason for this was a criticism from LGBTQ circles and an interview with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Two of their customers called on social media to boycott the bookshop until they removed the magazine from their range – with temporary success. However, WHSmith soon decided to relaunch the publication from the fall 2022 issue.

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Via Világgazdaság; Featured image via Facebook/Budapest Airport

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