WHSmith has revealed a “reassuring” interim trading update, despite a fall in like-for-like sales.
Group sales in the first 13 weeks of the second half to May 31 were up 6 per cent, reflecting the impact of recent acquisitions. Combined like-for-likes at WHSmith’s high street and travel divisions were down 2 per cent for the period.
Like-for-like sales slid 3 per cent at WHSmith’s high street business over the period, but were up 1 per cent at the travel arm.
WHSmith said: “The integration of our recent acquisitions is proceeding in line with plans and the financial position of the group remains in accordance with our expectations."
It added: “The economic environment remains uncertain and, while we continue to be cautious about consumer spending, we are confident in the outcome for the full year.”
Pali International analyst Nick Bubb said it is “reassuring” to see profit before tax is on track for£75 million in the year ending in August.
Bubb retained a buy for the retailer. He said: “The shares have fallen back to 400p, having had a good run up to mid-May, but we still think the long-term growth/bid story is attractive, given the value of the airport shops.”