WH Smith's profits boosted by growth at travel stores

'‹Annual profits at '‹WH Smith '‹rose '‹7 per cent thanks to strong growth at its airport and train outlets.

WH Smith said trading profit at its high street outlets was flat at 62m

The firm said trading profit at its 750 outlets at travel hubs, including railway stations and motorway service areas, rose 10.3 per​ ​cent to ​£​96​m and the division now makes up over 60 per​ ​cent of its trading profit.

Trading profit at its high street outlets was flat at ​£​62​m.

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The final dividend was increased by 10 per​ ​cent to take the year’s total payout to 48.2p a share.

The company’s travel business has been expanding internationally. It announced the win of six units in both Rome airports, adding another country to its mainland European presence of Alicante and Dusseldorf.

At home​,​ travel business sales over the summer benefited from a sharp rise in the number of ​overseas visitors ​coming to Britain.

Official data showed that tourist numbers hit a record in July adding to evidence that the weak pound has made tourism a big beneficiary of last year’s Brexit vote.