WHSmith has suffered a fall in half-year profits but insisted it is “well-positioned” to hit full-year expectations.
The stationery specialist posted a 21% drop in statutory pre-tax profit to £65m in the six months to February, which it attributed to the acquisition of American travel retailer InMotion.
WHSmith said it incurred £9m of exceptional costs relating to the transaction, while it took a further £7m hit from the costs of a review into its high street business.
On an operating basis, profits inched up 1% to £92m during the period.
WHSmith’s travel division delivered a 7% increase in trading profit to £44m, as like-for-likes advanced 3%.
In contrast, its high street arm suffered a 4% drop in earnings to £48m.
The retailer’s travel stores registered a 7% uptick in profit to £44m with like-for-likes edging up 3%.
However, high street store profits dropped 4% to £48m. Like-for-like sales fell 2%.
WHSmith boss Stephen Clarke hailed a “strong” first half and said the performance of its high street division marked ”one of our best trading performances in recent years”, despite the decline in profitability.
Clarke added: “While there is uncertainty in the broader economic and political environment, we have made a good start to the second half of the financial year and the increase in the interim dividend by 8% reflects the board’s confidence in the outcome for the full year.”