A REBRAND of a popular UK store has caused backlash online, as people took to social media to express their fury.

Popular stationery and bookshop brand WHSmith trialled the rebrand in 10 of its English stores, which now have a sign that reads WHS instead of the retailer’s full name.

Some have remarked that the new logo looks remarkably similar to NHS branding.

The National: Some have argued that the rebrand looks too similar to the NHS logo

One Twitter/X user said: “What is so annoying is that it takes just as long to say ‘WHS’ out loud as ‘WHSmith’. And so everyone usually calls it ‘Smith’s’ for short. Which is the bit they’ve taken out of the branding. Terrible decision. (Before you even get to the fact that it looks too much like the NHS!)"

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Another added: “The WHSmith rebrand is unbelievably bad... Like someone typed WHS in Word and called it a day.”

None of the rebranded signs have appeared in the chain's Scotland stores yet.

In Scotland there are currently 64 WHSmith stores, reflective of 9% of the brand’s stores in the UK.

In April WHSmith announced it would open a further 120 shops after doubling its profits in a year. This is largely due to a bounce-back in air and rail travel following the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as expansion abroad and sales of electronics and premium food.

There are currently WHSmith shops in more than 30 countries and more than 120 airports around the world.

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Nick Bubb, a retailing analyst and consultant, told The Guardian: “There is some logic in having a different logo for the high street stores compared to the travel stores but the S in the WHS logo should be in a different type-face so it does not look like the NHS, so the rebrand has been poorly executed.”

WHSmith said it was a small trial in only 10 stores with no guarantee it would roll out to the wider estate.

It said that as well as the store logo there is also signage to raise awareness of the products it offers.