WHSmith’s travel sales rose in its third quarter as it developed a new smaller format for high street stores.

Overall, group like-for-likes inched up 1% while total sales increased 4%.

Travel like-for-likes were up 3% with total sales growing 8% in the 13 weeks from March 1 to June 2, 2018.

WHSmith attributed the performance to its continued investment in the business and rising traveller numbers and said gross margin increased in line with its plan.

It is opening new travel stores both in the UK and internationally and plans to open between 15 and 20 units in the UK and 10 internationally during the remainder of the year. WHSmith now operates 11 standalone travel book stores, the latest being at the newly renovated London Bridge station.

On the high street, like-for-likes and total sales both dropped 1%. However, gross margin continued to improve and WHSmith delivered cost savings in line with its profit-focused strategy.

The business said that it continued to invest in its new store format trial and was evaluating its performance. It added that had extended the trial to a further 10 shops and was developing a small store trial.

Group chief executive Stephen Clarke said: “We have delivered a good sales performance in the third quarter in both our travel and high street businesses.

“While there is some uncertainty in the broader economic environment, WHSmith serves millions of customers each week and continues to grow both internationally and in the UK.

“We continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in the business to position us well for the future. We remain confident in the outcome for the full year.”