WH Smith said today it was confident about the outcome for the full year as higher profit margins offset lower sales in a tough market.
The newspapers, books and stationery retailer, which trades from over 570 high street stores and more than 500 outlets at airports, train stations, hospitals and motorway service stations, said total like-for-sales sales fell 4% in the 18 weeks to 2 July. That compares with a fall of 5% in the six months to 28 February. However, the firm said gross profit margins continued to grow, following a long-term trend in which it has focused on more profitable products, better sourcing and better control of markdowns.
Store opening helped lift total sales at WHSmith Travel by 2%, whilst like-for-like sales were down 2% in the period. WHSmith High Street total sales were down 3% and like-for-like sales were fell 4% in the period.
"The economic environment remains uncertain and whilst we continue to be cautious about consumer spending, we remain confident in the outcome for the full year," WH Smith said.
NamNews - Thursday 7th July 2011