WH Smith said sales in the 20 weeks to January 20 were flat on-year, while like-for-like sales were down 1%. Travel sales rose 7%, with like-for-like sales up 3%. On the High Street, sales were down 5%, with like-for-like sales down 4%. Chief executive Stephen Clarke said the results were delivered against a "very successful period last year". "Our travel business now accounts for almost two thirds of the group's annual profit and we continue to deliver strong sales growth across all our key channels," Clarke said. "This was driven by ongoing investment in the business and continued growth in passenger numbers in our airport stores over the Christmas period. Our recently opened new concept store in Gatwick South has performed particularly well and is ahead of plan." "High Street sales were in line with expectations. Our stationery and seasonal ranges, including cards and wrap, performed well with good sales growth versus last year. Book sales were more challenging due to the decline in spoof humour titles and no new, big publishing trends." "Looking ahead, while there is some uncertainty in the broader economic environment, we remain confident that the group is well positioned for the year ahead as we continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in new opportunities."
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