WHSmith has revealed like-for-like sales at the stationery and book specialist slumped 6% in its third quarter.

In the 14 weeks to June 8, total sales fell 5%.

Although sales fell across all its stores, the travel shops fared better than its high street division delivering flat total sales and a 4% drop in like-for-likes.  

WHSmith added: “Our new store opening programme, both in the UK and internationally, continues to progress well.”

Across the high street stores total sales fell 8% and like-for-likes declined 7%, which the retailer said was due to difficult comparatives due to a “strong publishing schedule last year”, including Fifty Shades of Grey.

It added that gross margin had improved and it has controlled costs tightly across its stores.

WHSmith was confident about its full-year performance despite the “uncertain” economic environment. It said its balance sheet “remains strong” and it expects to generate high levels of cash from its operations.

WHSmith said as of June 12 it has purchased five million shares and returned to shareholders £34m of the £50m share buyback announced in August 2012.