WHSmith has posted a 3% decline in its High Street stores for the 21 weeks to 21 January, but a strong performance at its Travel stores drove overall sales growth.
The group enjoyed a 5% rise in like-for-like Travel sales, with airport store sales especially busy over the Christmas period. Overall like-for-like sales rose 1%.
At its high street stores gross margin increased year on year and an additional 32 post offices were opened during the period, bringing its total to 145. A further 23 post offices are due to open during the financial year.
“In Travel, we have delivered good sales growth across all our key channels in the period. This was driven by ongoing investment in the business and continued growth in passenger numbers - particularly in our airport stores over the Christmas holiday period,” said group chief executive Stephen Clarke.
“In High Street, we saw another good performance with sales in line with expectations driven by our new seasonal stationery ranges and spoof humour books. As a result of the performance in Travel we expect group profit growth for the year to be slightly ahead of plan.”