Wednesday 12 November 2014 4:06 am

WH Smith share price remains flat despite fall in underlying sales – and its carpets are still a mess

WH Smith's underlying sales were down one per cent over the ten week period to 8 November, but investors were unaffected by the news.
Shares in the retailer hardly changed during morning trading, going up by just by 0.5 per cent to £12.12.
Of the two parts of the business – WHSmith Travel and WHSmith Hight Street, the travel side performed better, with like-for-like sales increasing by two per cent during the period. WHSmith High Street, meanwhile, experienced a four per cent decline in like-for-like sales. 
WHSmith Travel operates 725 stores, mainly in airports, railway stations, motorway service areas and hospitals. At present the business is focussed on the UK, but it is also expanding abroad.
“We continue to make good progress with our store opening plan both in the UK and internationally,” the company said in its interim statement this morning. 
“The new financial year has started well however the peak trading periods for both businesses are ahead of us.  We remain focused on profitable growth, cash generation and investment in new opportunities,” it continued. 
On 16 October, WHSmith announced a plan to buy £50m worth of shares back from its shareholders via a rolling share buyback programme.  As of yesterday, it had purchased 0.6m shares and returned £6.1m to shareholders. 


A spotless WHSmith carpet would be a sight to behold – the retailer still hasn't got to grips with a vacuum cleaner, it seems. Followers of the Twitter account @WHS_Carpet continue to point out the never-ending stains, rubbish and masking tape frequently found on the store's floors.