WHSmith said it expects the outcome for the year to August 31 to “be at the top end of market expectations” in a pre-close trading statement today.

The bookseller and stationer said its travel business “continues its good performance despite the current economic climate and its UK store opening programme remains on track”.

WHSmith added: “We continue to manage costs tightly and have delivered strong gross margin gains. Travel continues to make good progress in winning new business in its international channel.”

In its high street arm the focus has been on gross margin, and tight cost control continues “to deliver a good performance”. The retailer added that the high street business “has seen an improvement in the sales trend of books following the recent positive publishing schedule”.

 Both businesses remain highly cash generative, WHSmith added.

 The retailer will instigate a further share repurchase programme of up to £50m for the financial year to August 31 2013.