WH Smith posts 4% fall in Christmas sales

| January 27, 2010

WH Smith, which sells newspapers, books, stationery and confectionery, said it remains cautious about consumer spending after it posted a 4% fall in sales for the 21 weeks to 23 January.

The fall in sales was slightly better than analysts expectations of a 5% fall and the 218-year-old retailer said it has planned accordingly for the year ahead and is confident in the outcome.

Kate Swann, chief executive, said: “The group delivered a good performance during the period. We made further progress in our high street business and our travel business continues to perform well, despite soft passenger numbers at airports.”

Like-for-like sales fell 2% at its travel-based outlets, which include airports, train stations, and motorway service stations, but this was in line with forecasts.

Shares in the retailer have gained around 11% over the last six months to close at 490p yesterday.

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