WH Smith upbeat despite drop in sales

WH Smith this morning posted a drop in sales over the Christmas period, although it said improved margins helped to underpin profits.

The stationery and books retailer posted a five per cent drop in like for like sales over the 20 weeks to 20 January.

In its high street stores, like for like sales fell five per cent and like for like sales at its travel stores fell four per cent over the period, although WH Smith said gross margins improved and costs were tightly managed.

"Looking ahead, we expect the trading environment to remain challenging however we are a resilient business with a consistent record of both profit growth and cash generation, and are confident in making further progress in the year," chief executive Kate Swann said today.