- Group pre-tax profit up 8%
- Travel revenue up 10%, like-for-likes up 4%
- High street revenue down 3%, like-for-likes down 2%
WHSmith expects to report increased profits and group revenue for its full-year, but falling sales in its high street division.
In its preliminary results, the group sales rose 3% to £1.2bn, up 1% on a like-for-like basis. Group pre-tax profit was up 7% to £132m.
Its travel business continued to perform well, with total sales up 10%, up 4% on a like-for-like basis. Trading profit increased 9% to £87m.
After trials in London Victoria railway station, WHSmith rolled out its digital offer to 23 stores, which are now equipped with digital fixtures that allow customers to try out items such as headphones before purchasing.
The group also opened more specialist book stores and now has seven in airports around the UK.
Smiths added that its international business “continued to grow rapidly” but that its market share was still very small and that it saw growth opportunities in that arena. Total sales rose 39% to £79m.
The group has 768 travel shops, 192 of which are international.
High street figures
On the high street, trading profit was up 5% to £62m but sales were down 3%; 2% on a like-for-like basis.
Franchise initiative WHSmith Local now has 127 franchisees signed up and 84 stores open, 44 of which have opened in the past year.
A spokesman for the group said: “We are seeing consistently good results across these stores delivering incremental profits for the franchisees and we still see long-term potential here.”
The group’s high street shops decreased from 615 to 612, with sq footage shrinking slightly. It closed 13 high street shops during the year.
Chief executive Stephen Clarke said: “Our travel business continues to perform well with strong sales across all channels. In the high street business, our profit-focused strategy continues to deliver sustainable growth.
“Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in new opportunities. While the economic environment is uncertain, we are well positioned for the current year and beyond.”