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June 6, 2018, 2:45 a.m. EDT

WH Smith sales up as travel outweighs high street

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By Adam Clark

WH Smith PLC (SMWH.LN) said on Wednesday that its sales rose 4% in the 13 weeks to June 2, as growth in its travel business outweighed a decline in its high-street stores.

The newsagent and stationery retailer said total sales rose 1% on a like-for-like basis from the prior year.

In WH Smith's travel business, sales were up 8% and like-for-like sales increased 3%. WH Smith said it benefited from continued investment and increased passenger numbers, and that it is on target to open between 15 and 20 new units in the U.K. during the year.

Internationally, the company said it will open eight new units in Madrid airport over the summer, bringing its total to 282 units. It expects a further 10 new unit openings during the rest of the year.

In its high-street business, WH Smith said both total and like-for-like sales were down 1%. The company said its gross margin continues to improve and that cost savings are in line with expectations.

"We continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in the business to position us well for the future. We remain confident in the outcome for the full year," Chief Executive Stephen Clarke said.

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