WHSmith has reported a rise in total sales over the festive period, however like for likes slipped as the retailer’s strong travel performance was dampened by a fall in high street revenue.

The general merchandise retailer posted a 7% rise in total revenue in the 20 weeks to January 18, while like-for-like sales slipped 1%.

Across WHSmith’s travel division revenue climbed 19% bolstered by recent acquisitions InMotion and Marshall Retail Group, while like-for-likes rose 3%. Excluding its recent acquisition overall revenue increased 5% during the period.

The retailer said its UK business “saw good sales growth across all of our key channels with strong sales per passenger driven by our initiatives and ongoing investment”, with gross margins in line with expectations.

WHSmith plans to open up to 20 new stores this year, as well as a new flagship pharmacy store format at Heathrow Terminal 2 in partnership with Well Pharmacy.

The travel and general merchandise retailer now operates a 600-strong store network outside of the UK as well as its 590 UK stores, and has opened a further eight stores in the US across MRG, WHSmith and InMotion fascias since unveiling its plan to acquire MRG in October.

However, the retailer’s high street performance was more subdued as sales fell 5% on a total and like-for-like basis, although the retailer’s gross margin was ahead of plan and the business identified a further £3m in cost savings during the period.

Chief executive Carl Cowling said: “We are pleased with the progress the Group has made in the first 20 weeks, with total revenue up 7%.

“During the period, we completed the acquisition of MRG ahead of plan and integration into the Group is progressing well. This acquisition is in line with our strategic focus to grow travel, almost doubles the size of our international travel business and accelerates growth in the US, the world’s largest travel retail market.

“Our high street strategy continues to deliver through continued gross margin gains and tight cost control.

“Looking ahead, we are on track for the current year and as we continue to grow our share of the global travel retail market, the group is well positioned for the years ahead.”