WH Smith has secured new lending facilities of £120M as its looks to strengthen its balance sheet, working capital and liquidity position during the coronavirus crisis.

As the new financing arrangements are conditional on raising new equity, the book and stationery retailer has said it is in an “advanced stage” of preparation for an equity issue of a maximum of 13.7 per cent of its issued share capital by way of a placing.

WH Smith said it has experienced a substantial downturn in economic activity due to the covid-19 pandemic. It added: “These financing arrangements, coupled with a broad range of mitigating actions to manage the cost base and cash-flow, will provide sufficient liquidity to deal with this most challenging of trading environments.”