Smiths called it a “robust performance” in “challenging market conditions”, helped by the performance of recent acquisitions in the book, education and care market.
Smiths has been diversifying away from newspapers and magazines to reduce its dependence on this area. It said this morning it is targeting 50 per cent of group profits to come from outside of newspaper and magazine wholesaling by 2016.
Newspaper like for like sales fell 2.1 per cent, while magazine like for like sales were down 6.6 per cent over the period, although the Jubilee, Euro 2012 and the Olympic Games generated an extra £7m in sales.
Chief executive Mark Cashmore said: “We have shown tremendous resilience in our core newspaper and magazine distribution business and made substantial progress in our books division, Bertrams.
“Our more recent acquisition of The Consortium represents another step forward in our diversification strategy as we look to broaden our market reach in new areas of specialist distribution. Looking ahead, we have a clear strategy for growth with opportunities in all our divisions."