WHSmith is set to double the size of its international travel business with the acquisition of US travel chain Marshall Retail, as it unveiled full-year sales and profit growth.

The entertainment and travel chain has signed an agreement to acquire Marshall Retail Group for $400m (£312m) to drive its international travel growth.

The US retail chain has 170 stores across US travel resort and tourist locations, 59 of which are in airports. The retailer has another 33 airports stores slated to open by the end of 2024.

WHSmith’s outgoing boss Stephen Clarke heralded the acquisition as “an exciting value-creating opportunity, entirely in line with our strategy”.

WHSmith has launched a £155m share equity placing to partly fund the acquisition, with Barclays and JP Morgan acting as joint book-runners.

The retailer expects its acquisition of Marshall Retail to be completed in the first quarter of its current financial year and will integrate the existing management team with its own operations.

The retailer’s latest acquisition comes as the business reported a 1% rise in group pre-tax profit to £135m in the 52 weeks to August 31, spurred by an 11% uplift in group revenue to £1.4bn.

Headline pre-tax profit was up 7% to £155m.

Group like for likes rose 1% during the period, as overall travel revenue climbed 22% to £817m and was up 3% on a like-for-like basis.

High street revenue declined 2% on both a total and like-for-like basis to £580m.

WHSmith’s acquisition of InMotion was completed during the financial period and the retailer said its performance is “ahead of our initial expectations.”

The retailer ended the financial year with 433 international stores in operation across 30 countries and over 100 airports.

WHSmith has proposed an 8% increase in final dividend, which chief executive Stephen Clarke said is “reflecting the group’s cash generation and our confidence in the future prospects of the group.”

He added: “While there is uncertainty in the broader economic and political environment, we are pleased with the start to the new financial year in both businesses. Looking ahead, the group will continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and delivering value for shareholders.

“Finally, as this is my last set of results before leaving at the end of this month, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the great people across our business for their hard work and commitment which has made WH Smith such a success over recent years. WH Smith is a great business in very good shape and I have every confidence in Carl Cowling and the team to continue to deliver the strategy that has served us so well.”

Analysis: WHSmith takes off with transformational travel deal