Retail chain WH Smith has reported a four per cent increase in half-year profits, bringing the figure to £72 million.
This is despite a drop in high street sales, which five per cent in the six months to February.
It's the firm's travel division – which comprises 740 units at airports, train stations and motorway services – that has seen the most improvement. Its seven per cent increase in sales has contributed to the company's positive report.
The retailer's last trading update was in January. At the time, like-for-like sales for the group were down two per cent , with high street figures falling five per cent. However, profits were increasing according to expectations.
In addition, WH Smith is returning up to £50 million to shareholders. It has cut £6 million of costs from the business in the half-year and a further £5 million of cuts are expected for the next six-month period.
Chief executive officer Stephen Clarke said that the company is seeing "improving trends" across the travel side of the business. This is an economic environment with robust growth. He also believes the current housing market and fuel costs will add to consumer confidence.
"Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on profitable growth and cash generation while investing in new opportunities in both travel and high street that position us well for the future," he added.
StoneX Financial Ltd (trading as “City Index”) is an execution-only service provider. This material, whether or not it states any opinions, is for general information purposes only and it does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. This material has been prepared using the thoughts and opinions of the author and these may change. However, City Index does not plan to provide further updates to any material once published and it is not under any obligation to keep this material up to date. This material is short term in nature and may only relate to facts and circumstances existing at a specific time or day. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment, legal, tax or other advice and no reliance should be placed on it.
No opinion given in this material constitutes a recommendation by City Index or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although City Index is not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, City Index does not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination. This material is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation.