John Menzies has insisted its newspaper and magazine wholesaling arm Menzies Distribution “remains central to the group”, despite a drop in half-year sales and profits.

Operating profits fell by £800,000 to £13.7m in the six months to 30 June on sales down from £683.8m to £673m due to strong World Cup comparatives.

Like-for-like newspaper sales fell 3.2% while magazines were down 4.9%. The figures were in sharp contrast to Menzies’ aviation arm, where profits rose £4.7m to £13.8m on sales up 30% to £332.7m.

“We will continue to innovate and evolve the business model to mitigate declining sales while identifying and pursuing new revenue opportunities,” said chairman Iain Napier.

Last month, Menzies Distribution bought Media On The Move, a media management company providing marketing and distribution to airports and airlines, for £1.2m.