WH Smith posted a rise in sales over the crucial Christmas trading season, after the retailer benefited from a rise in travel sales as it continues to move its focus from high streets to airports and train stations.
Total sales were up six per cent in the 20 weeks to 19 January.
In the firm's travel arm, sales were up 16 per cent with like-for-like sales rising three per cent.
The firm said that it saw “good sales growth across all of our key channels and gross margin was in line with plan.”
Meanwhile, fresh evidence of struggles on the high street were underlined with a two per cent fall in like-for-like high street sales, although the group kept its guidance of maintaining £9m of cost savings.
Why it's interesting
Today's trading statement from WH Smith is yet another indication of the firm's long-term strategy to transform from a jack-of-all-trades high street giant to a retailer expanding in travel markets such as airports and railway stations.
Analysts have seemed relatively reassured by the move, with Markets.com chief market analysts Neil Wilson saying today: "The High Street division is suffering but it’s been more than made up for by an excellent performance in Travel."
What the company said
Group Chief Executive Stephen Clarke said: "The Group has delivered a strong trading performance with total sales up six per cent and like-for-like sales flat. Our Travel business continued to grow across all channels. This was driven by our ongoing investment in the business, including the roll out of our new concept stores at Heathrow, and growth in air passenger numbers. InMotion delivered an impressive sales performance over the Christmas period and integration into the Group is progressing well."