WHSmith’s full-year pre-tax profits rose 9% despite a 3% like-for-like sales dip and the retailer is raising its high street cost savings target.

Profits grew to £112m in the retailer’s year to August 31. Travel trading profit jumped 11% while it edged up 4% in WHSmith’s high street stores.

WHSmith now aims to save £21m in its high street stores over the next three years. It made savings of £14m in the division this year and an additional £11m of savings have been identified over the next three years.

Travel like-for-likes were flat over the year while total sales increased 4%. High street like-for-likes dropped 5% and total sales fell 6%. However, the books and stationery retailer’s gross margin advanced 160 basis points.

WHSmith group chief executive Stephen Clarke said: “The distinct strategies for each of our businesses continue to deliver good profit growth.  Looking ahead, our focus will remain on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in new opportunities that position us well for the future.”

The retailer continues to grow its international travel business. It opened an additional 30 units in the year, giving it a presence of 165 stores overseas.

WHSmith profits surge 9% despite sales fall as it ups cost savings