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Like-for-like sales drop 6% at WH Smith

Book and stationery retailer WH Smith has reported a 6% fall in like-for-like sales in its third quarter.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Like-for-like sales drop 6% at WH Smith

In the 14 weeks to 8 June, total sales dropped 5% compared to the same period last year. 

At the group’s high street stores, total sales were down 8% and like-for-like sales fell by 7% reflecting the stronger publishing schedule last year. However, gross margins continued to increase and cost savings were delivered in line with plan.

At WH Smith’s travel division, which includes outlets at airports and railway stations, total sales were flat with like-for-like sales down 4%. The group said the new store opening programme for the division was progressing well both in the UK and overseas.

In a statement, the group said: “We confirm that our financial position is in line with market expectations and our balance sheet remains strong. The economic environment remains uncertain and whilst we continue to be cautious about consumer spending, we remain confident in the outcome for the full year.”

The news comes as WH Smith’s chief executive Kate Swann prepares to step down from the business this month after nine years in the role. She will be succeeded by Steve Clarke who is currently managing director of WH Smith’s high street business.

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