WH Smith profits up 4% despite fall in high street sales
WH Smith has reported that pre-tax profit rose by 4% to £72 million in the six months to 28 February.
However, like-for-like sales at the group’s high street stores dropped by 4% with total sales falling by 5%.
The travel division fared better with like-for-like sales up 3% and total sales rising by 7%.
Stephen Clarke, WH Smith group chief executive, said: "The group has delivered another strong performance. We are seeing improving trends across all formats in travel, and in high street our profit focused strategy continued to deliver over the key Christmas trading period.”
The group acquired a further 15 international units in the period, taking its total to 185, including four at Sydney International Airport.
The high street business now operates from 621 stores after WH Smith opened one new store and 20 Trial Cardmarket stores in the period. In addition, the group said it made good progress with a franchising trial to local newsagents under the brand WH Smith LOCAL. Following the original five trial stores, it now has a total of 22 stores converted to the brand.
Clarke added: "Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on profitable growth and cash generation while investing in new opportunities in both travel and high street that position us well for the future."
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