WHSmith recorded an increase in sales as a decline in its high street division was offset by a strong performance in its travel division.
The books and stationery retailer posted a 6% uplift in total sales in the 20 weeks to January 19 and flat like-for-likes.
The retailer’s travel arm posted a 16% climb in total sales, up 8% excluding its InMotion fascia, with like-for-like sales up 3%. Margins at this division were in line with expectations during the period.
WHSmith is on track to open 20 new stores in its travel arm in its current financial year, including its new Heathrow airport concept stores.
The retailer’s international business currently comprises 420 stores across 28 countries including 116 shops under its most recent acquisition, US travel retailer InMotion.
High street sales declined 1% with like-for-likes down 2%. The retailer said its high street stores grew gross margin during the period and it was on track to deliver the planned £9m cost savings for the year.
WHSmith chief executive Stephen Clarke said: “The group has delivered a strong trading performance with total sales up 6% and like-for-like sales flat.
“Our Travel business continued to grow across all channels. InMotion delivered an impressive sales performance over the Christmas period and integration into the group is progressing well.
“High Street delivered a good performance, particularly in Stationery, driven by good growth in Christmas cards, wrap, diaries and fashion stationery.
“Looking ahead, whilst there is existing uncertainty in the broader economic environment, the group is well positioned for the year ahead and beyond.”