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WH Smith first half profits boosted by travel business

WH Smith has seen it first half profit rise by 4% to £83 million as the book and stationery retailer benefited from a strong performance at its travel division. Group sales increased by 2% to £643 million.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

WH Smith first half profits boosted by travel business

WH Smith has seen it first half profit rise by 4% to £83 million as the book and stationery retailer benefited from a strong performance at its travel division. Group sales increased by 2% to £643 million.

Profits at the travel business were up 11% in the six months to 28 February as like-for-like sales rose by 5%.

Meanwhile, profits at the retailer’s high street stores were flat following a like-for-like sales decline of 3%.

The company said the high street profit was in line with expectations.

Stephen Clarke, WH Smith group chief executive, said: “Stationery performed particularly well over the Christmas period driven by strong sales from our new seasonal product ranges and books benefited from good sales of spoof humour titles.”

In the retailer’s growing international business, it has now won 255 stores including 10 stores in Singapore following a significant tender win in Changi Airport.

"Looking ahead, Clarke said: “2017 is a significant year for us as we celebrate 225 years since the business was founded. And, while there is some uncertainty in the broader economic environment, we will continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in the business which positions us well in the current year and into the future."

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