WH Smith sales falling but its profits weather the storm

WH Smith said its sales are falling but profit is on target thanks to cost cutting and the success of its travel outlets.

Smith’s trading update yesterday showed like-for-like sales in the 18 weeks to 2 July are down four per cent. The company says it has been able to increase margins, which leaves City analysts assuming profits will be as they were previously predicting, about £93m for the year.

Chief executive Kate Swann (pictured) was paid £4m last year as the company continued to keep profit on track despite the tough climate on the high street. The company said sales at the expanding travel arm and shops at airports and railway stations, were up two per cent. Smith’s revealed a £50m share buyback in October last year and yesterday said it has completed £45m of this.