WH Smith figures lifted by travel shops

A resilient performance by its travel stores helped news, books and stationery retailer WH Smith report sales figures in line with expectations today.

The high street side of the business saw like-for-like sales drop 3% in the 13 weeks to May 31, but this was offset by a 1% rise for the retailer’s shops in airports, train stations and motorway service areas.

WH Smith shares rose 1% today as it said it remained “confident” in the outcome for the financial year to the end of August.

Nick Bubb, a retail analyst at Pali International stockbrokers, said it was “reassuring” to see that WH Smith remained on track for profits of £75m (€94.7m).

He added: “The travel division is heading into the key summer period, but despite slightly lower footfall for the WH Smith airport shops, customer spend is still up and overall like-for-like sales for the division were still good at 3% when excluding tobacco.”

The travel division, which recently saw half-year profits increase by 13% to £17m (€21.5m), operates from more than 430 units.

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