Like-for-like sales slumped 5% at WH Smith in the 21 weeks to 21 January, the retailer has revealed.

In the retailer’s Travel stores in railway stations, service stations and hospitals like-for-likes were down 3%, while on the high street the fall was more pronounced, down 6%. Total group sales fell by 3%.

However, WH Smith insisted its performance was “resilient” and that it was “highly cash-generative with a strong balance sheet”. The company said profits were in line with expectations.

“Over the past six years both businesses have consistently increased profits and the group is now well balanced between travel and high street,” said chief executive Kate Swann.

“As a result of this, the months of November and December now represent less than half of annual group profit, compared to over 90% of group profits six years ago.”

“Looking ahead, we expect the trading environment to be challenging. However, we have planned accordingly and continue to be confident in making further progress in the year.”