WHSmith’s half-year results reveal a healthy rise in sales at its travel arm, offsetting a struggling high street performance.
Pre-tax profits for the six-months to February 28 rose by a four per cent increase to £83 million, as total sales grew two per cent and hit £643 million.
This was boosted by an 11 per cent profit growth in its travel arm, accounting for £39 million.
Meanwhile total sales in its travel arm jumped 10 per cent and five per cent on a like-for-like basis, attributed to a growth in passenger numbers during the period.
However, this growth was offset by the 225-year-old retailer’s high street estate, posting flat profits of £53 million and a drop in sales of four per cent.
Its travel business now boasts a 768 store estate, with 255 of those operating outside of the UK including 10 in Singapore.
“Looking ahead, 2017 is a significant year for us as we celebrate 225 years since the business was founded,” WHSmith chief executive Stephen Clarke said.
“And, while there is some uncertainty in the broader economic environment, we will continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in the business which positions us well in the current year and into the future.”