• Group like-for-likes flat
  • Travel retail like-for-likes up 5%
  • High street like-for-likes down 4%

WHSmith has posted a rise in sales and expects to meet full-year profit expectations.

The bookseller and stationer reported group sales up 2% in the 15 weeks to June 10, when like-for-likes were flat.

WHSmith’s travel division outperformed its high street arm.

Total sales at the travel business rose 8% – of that, 2% came from currency benefits at international stores – and like-for-likes climbed 5%.

WHSmith said that the performance reflected “ongoing focus on customer service, execution, space and category management” as well as continued growth in passenger numbers.

Gross margin at the travel business “increased in line with plan”.

At WHSmith’s high street arm total sales fell 4% and like-for-likes were down by the same amount.

The retailer reported that it continued to focus on the profitability of its high street division and that “gross margin improvement and cost savings have been delivered in line with plan”.

WHSmith reported: “Whilst there remains some uncertainty with regard to the broader economic environment, we continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in the business to position us well for the future. We remain confident in the outcome for the full year.”

The retailer said it is on target to open 15 UK travel branches this year and that it has “won further units internationally” including six in Rome which will open in July.

WHSmith now has a total of 165 in-store Post Offices in its high street branches.