Bookseller and stationer WH Smith group like-for-likes were down 3% in the 15 weeks to June 9.

Total group sales slipped1%.

WH Smith said: “The economic environment remains uncertain and whilst we continue to be cautious about consumer spending, we remain confident in the outcome for the full year.”

In the retailer’s travel division like-for-likes fell 3% while total sales grew 1%. WH Smith said it controlled costs tightly with gross margin up. It added that its new store opening programme “continues to progress well”.

WH Smith’s high street like-for-like sales were down 4%. Total sales dropped 3%.

It said: “Gross margins continue to grow and cost savings have been delivered in line with plan.”

WH Smith said: “We confirm that our financial position is in line with market expectations and our balance sheet remains strong.

“We continue to generate high levels of cash from our operations.

“As of 13 June 2012, we have purchased 6.8m shares and returned to shareholders £36m of the £50m share buyback announced in August 2011.”