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Jan. 23, 2019, 2:58 a.m. EST

WH Smith's travel expansion drives sales, growth

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By Adam Clark

WH Smith PLC (SMWH.LN) said Wednesday that strong growth in its travel division more than offset a slight decline in its high-street unit in early fiscal 2019.

The retailer said total sales rose 6% for the 20-week period to Jan. 19 compared with the same period the prior year, or 3% excluding its acquisition of U.S. peer InMotion. Like-for-like sales were flat.

Travel sales climbed 8%, excluding InMotion, with like-for-like sales up 3%. WH Smith said gross margin was in line with its plan and it expects to open around 20 new U.K. stores this year.

High-street sales dropped 1%, while like-for-like sales fell 2%. The company said it continued to increase its gross margin and remains on track to deliver 9.0 million pounds ($11.6 million) in cost savings for the year.

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