WH Smith sales dive

WH Smith have reported a 4 per cent drop in like-for-like sales as customers bought fewer books.

The figures for the 21 weeks to last weekend showed that the retailer's High street stores saw
a fall of 5 per cent while its travel-based outlets dipped by two per cent.

WH Smith has been concentrating on it core books, stationery and confectionary markets rather than CDs and DVDs where it faces tough online competition.

The figures were in line with City forecasts.

Chief executive Kate Swann is driving a cost-cutting programme at the retailer which has outlets at airports and stations across the UK.

She said: "The group delivered a good performance during the period. We made further progress in our high street business and our travel business continues to perform well, despite soft passenger numbers at airports.

"Although we remain cautious about consumer spending, we have planned accordingly and are confident in the outcome for the full year."