WH Smith is planning to cut up to 1,500 jobs as bosses said its recovery from the coronavirus lockdown has been “slow”.

The retailer, which has stories on Broad Street in Welshpool and the High Street in Newtown, said it is starting to consult with staff over plans that could see as many as 1,500 of them losing their roles.

The company said it needed to reduce costs as its shops in airports and train stations are hit by low passenger numbers and its high street stores also suffer from low footfall.

The company said just over half of its UK travel shops have reopened and that 246 of its largest sites have started trading again.

All of its 575 high-street stores have opened, the business said, but footfall is strongly down compared to last year.

Revenue was 57 per cent lower last month compared to July 2019, even as sites started to welcome customers back, with most of this loss coming from the travel arm.

“We now need to take further action to reduce costs across our businesses,” said company chief executive Carl Cowling.

“I regret that this will have an impact on a significant number of colleagues whose roles will be affected by these necessary actions and we will do everything we can to support them at this challenging time.”

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 the first retail chain in the world, and was responsible for the creation of the ISBN book identifier.

WHSmith is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. It celebrated its 225th anniversary in 2017.

Since 2007, the company has taken on a number of Post Office branches, mainly within its high street shops.

By April 2016, this had reached 107, including former Crown Post Offices.

WHSmith also operate a number of shops within hospitals, following its acquisition of Yorkshire-based newsagent chain United News in March 2008.

In addition to its existing joint ventures and franchise shops, the company trialled the smaller format, convenience-based WHSmith Local concept during 2013

Since 2011, the company has also opened shops under its Funky Pigeon brand.