WH Smith is poised to corner the airport market as it enters into a contract with BAA that will see all the airport operator’s book stores operated by the retailer.

There will be a phased programme of store hand-overs to WH Smith, beginning on March 1 in Terminals 2 and 4 at Heathrow.

The stores include six at Heathrow, two at Gatwick and two at Stansted.

As revealed last week, BAA did not renew its contract with Borders, and has also ended its contract with books retailer Hughes and Hughes in Terminal 5.

WH Smith’s travel arm has continued to outperform its high street business, with total sales jumping 20 per cent in the 20 weeks to January 17, and like for like-for-likes slipping 1 per cent, despite falling passenger numbers.

Its high street stores like-for-like sales fell 7 per cent in the same period.