WH Smith has reported a 6% hike in full-year profits to £108m, but sales continue to fall at the retailer.
The company said group sales were down 5% in the year to 31 August 2013, with like-for-like sales also down 5%.
Like-for-likes in its Travel stores in railway stations and airports fell 4% during the year, and were down 6% in its High Street stores.
WH Smith said it opened 30 new Travel stores during the year, taking its total to 673. The new stores included two WH Smith Simply Food’s – in Salford Hospital and Manchester Royal Infirmary.
It also revealed it has partnered with Budgens and Londis operator Musgrave Retail Partners GB to trial a convenience offer in railway stations, hospitals and airports.
It blamed the fall in sales in its High Street stores on “some challenging markets and the strong publishing schedule in the second half of the prior year”. WH Smith opened four new High Street stores during the year, but closed seven, taking its total number to 615.
“We continue to deliver on our strategy with a strong performance and good profit growth in both businesses,” said WH Smith group CEO Stephen Clarke.
“Travel increased profit to £66m and in High Street profit increased to £56m. The group remains highly cash generative enabling us to invest in our businesses and in new opportunities, while returning cash to shareholders, including a further £50m share buyback announced today.
“Looking to the year ahead, we continue to plan cautiously in an uncertain environment, however we are a resilient business and are well positioned for continued growth in both the UK and internationally,” he added.