Airports and railway stations boost WH Smith

Retailer WH Smith has confirmed under-pressure high street sales continue to be offset by its growing chain of shops based at airports and railway stations.
WH Smith, Halifax.WH Smith, Halifax.
WH Smith, Halifax.

The stationer and newsagent saw total sales in its travel arm jump 8 per cent higher in the 15 weeks to June 10, including a 2 per cent fillip from the weak pound on revenues at overseas stores.

Like-for-like sales at the division rose 5 per cent, while same-store sales fell 4 per cent across its high street estate.

This left total like-for-like sales flat in the quarter.

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WH Smith said rising passenger numbers have helped push travel sales higher, while it has also been benefiting from expansion efforts.

It is on target to open 15 UK travel outlets this year, with more planned internationally including six in Rome due to open next month.

The group continues to focus on profits and cost cutting at its high street business and said the sales fall was expected, although it marks a steeper decline against the 3% drop seen in the first half.

WH Smith said it remained “confident” in the full-year result, despite “some uncertainty with regard to the broader economic environment”.

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