Speculation that WHSmith is considering acquisitions prompted a share price rise, after boss Kate Swann toured the City to meet investors following better than expected interim results last month.

Swann also impressed analysts with potential plans for new categories, as well as overseas expansion.

Investec analyst David Jeary issued a note last week welcoming new initiatives, such as a self-service till trial and international growth.

Jeary said: “We welcome the push within travel in international operations, although this remains in the early stages of development.”

He also highlighted the further £2m of cost savings that can be made in the second half.

Although Jeary described Swann’s interim presentation last month as “positive and confident”, he noted that she emphasised the tough trading environment, suggesting forecasts “should be kept on a tight rein”.

Last month WHSmith posted group pre-tax profit up 3% to £64m in the six months to February 28, which Jeary said was ahead of expectations.

Group total sales declined 4% to £686m and like-for-likes fell 5%.