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WH Smith reports fall in sales although travel business grows

Book and stationery retailer WH Smith said it delivered a good performance in the 20 weeks to 17 January despite a fall in sales.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

WH Smith reports fall in sales although travel business grows

Book and stationery retailer WH Smith said it delivered a good performance in the 20 weeks to 17 January despite a fall in sales.

Total sales edged down 1% in the period while like-for-like sales dropped by 2%. However, the group said that profit growth was in line with plan.

At WH Smith’s travel business total sales rose by 7% with like-for-like sales edging up 2%. Gross margin continued to grow driven by category mix management. In addition, the division continued to open new stores both in the UK and internationally.

WH Smith’s high street sales fell by 5% on both a total and like-for-like basis which the group said was also in line with plan.

Stephen Clarke, WH Smith group chief executive, said: "The group delivered another good profit performance. Travel continues to benefit from the ongoing improvement in passenger numbers and the impact of our latest initiatives. In High Street, our strategy to create value through gross margin improvements and cost efficiencies continues to deliver profitable growth.

 "It is important to recognise that this performance would not be possible without the hard work of all our colleagues, particularly those in our stores at this time of year.

 "Looking forward, we remain focused on profitable growth, cash generation and investment in new opportunities and are confident of making further progress."

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