WHSmith has reported a fall in first-quarter like-for-like sales across its high street and travel divisions.

Group like-for-likes fell 4% in the 10 weeks to November 1, while total sales dropped 3%.

WHSmith’s total sales were up 2% in its travel business but like-for-likes fell 2%. The retailer said gross margin in its travel arm has increased in line with its plan and it has made “good progress” with its store opening plan in the UK and internationally. 

WHSmith’s high street arm’s total and like-for-like sales were both down 6% in the period but the retailer said it has “made further progress on gross margin and costs continue to be managed tightly”.

WHSmith said: “While the current climate continues to be uncertain, we remain a resilient business and are well positioned for continued profitable growth both in the UK and internationally.”

The retailer has purchased 0.65 million shares and returned £6m to shareholders as part of a rolling share buy-back programme that began last month in which it will return £50m to shareholders.