WHSmith has reported flat like-for-likes in its latest quarter as its high street business posted a sales drop, but travel performed strongly. 

Total group sales rose 2% in the 14 weeks to June 4, the retailer said.

In its high street business, total sales fell 4%, while like-for-likes slipped 3%. WHSmith, which posted an 11% jump in half-year earnings in April, said it was continuing with a “profit focused strategy”.

Gross margin improvement and cost savings have been “delivered in line with plan”, it said.

In its travel business, total sales climbed 9% while like-for-likes rose 3%.

WHSmith said the performance reflected its “ongoing investment in the UK business and the improvement in passenger numbers”.

It added: “Our new store opening programme is progressing well in both the UK and internationally, where we continue to win additional new units.”

Investec analyst Kate Calvert branded it “another robust trading performance”. She added: “Travel has good momentum ahead of its key summer trading period and High Street continues to be tightly managed.”

Looking ahead, the retailer said: “We continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in the business to position us well for the future.

“We remain confident in the outcome for the full year.”