Smiths News has said it is on track to generate 50% of its profits from outside its core newspaper and magazine wholesaling operations by 2016.

Releasing its full-year results today, the newstrade distributor said underlying pre-tax profits rose 11.6% to £53m on sales up 0.4% to £1.8bn in the year to 31 August 2013.

It said 29% of its profits now came from outside newstrade – up from 24% in 2012.

Its core newspaper and magazine wholesaling division reported a 2.5% increase in profits to £40m during the year, but sales fell 2.6% to £1.5bn.

Newspaper sales fell 2.7% on a like-for-like basis, while magazine sales dropped 9.2%. It blamed a “challenging” Sunday market in newspapers and “significant price discounting in the TV listings segment” in magazines.

Smiths News’ Bertrams book business reported a 6.1% increase in profits and a 7.8% increase in sales during the period. Its The Consortium unit notched up a 15.3% hike in profits, while profits rose 11.15 in its Media division.

“We continue to make good progress against our medium term strategic objectives,” said CEO Mark Cashmore.

“We have grown group revenue and increased profits in all four of our divisions with 29% of profit now coming from outside newspaper and magazine wholesaling, up from 24% in 2012.

“Looking ahead, we remain focussed on achieving 50% of profits outside of newspapers and magazines by 2016 and believe our ability to generate significant free cash will support a progressive dividend policy,” he added.