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Lack of spoof books hits sales at WH Smith

WH Smith has reported a 1% decline in like-for-like sales in the 20 weeks to 20 January.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Lack of spoof books hits sales at WH Smith

WH Smith has reported a 1% decline in like-for-like sales in the 20 weeks to 20 January.

While like-for-like sales in the retailer’s stores at stations and airports were up 3%, sales at its high street stores dropped by 4% after trade was impacted by a decline in spoof humour book titles and a lack of new big publishing trends.

The retailer said its stores at travel locations, which now account for almost two thirds of annual profit, benefited from continued growth in passenger numbers in airport stores over the Christmas period. Its recently opened new concept store in Gatwick South performed particularly well.

Stephen Clarke, WH Smith group chief executive, said: "The group has delivered another good performance over the 20 week period with total sales flat year-on-year and like-for-like sales down 1%, against a very successful period last year.

"Looking ahead, while there is some uncertainty in the broader economic environment, we remain confident that the group is well positioned for the year ahead as we continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in new opportunities."

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