WH Smith posts 4% decline in sales

| July 7, 2011 | 0 Comments

WH Smith, which sells newspapers, books, stationery and confectionery, today announced like-for-like sales fell 4% in the 18 weeks to 2 July compared with the same period a year ago.

However, the company, which operates on the High Street and at travel-based outlets such as airports, train stations and motorway service stations, said it “remained confident” about the full year.

Retailers such as WH Smith have been hit by growing competition from online retailers but the group said its strategy of reducing costs and boosting gross margins was paying off.

The 219-year-old group said it had returned £44.9 million to shareholders of the £50 million share buy-back programme it unveiled last year.

The positive results from the company come at a time when retailers face a challenging trading environment as consumers continue to be squeezed by higher inflation and rising unemployment.

In the last two weeks alone, several retailers have announced they are to enter administration.

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