The company’s travel division, which has 561 stores in railway stations, airports and service stations, chalked up an 8% jump in operating profits to a record £57m in the year to 31 August. Operating profits in its high street division rose 2% to £52m.
However, group sales fell from £1.3bn last year to £1.27bn, with like-for-like sales down 5%. Like-for-likes were also down 5% in its high-street stores and down 3% in its travel stores.
CEO Kate Swann said the company’s latest performance was “in line” with its strategic plan. "We have delivered a good performance across the group, despite a challenging trading environment, with further profit growth from high street and record profit in travel,” she added.
"The economic conditions remain challenging; however, we have planned accordingly. We are a resilient business with a strong and consistent record of both profit growth and cash generation, and have opportunities for growth in both the UK and internationally."
WHSmith also announced plans to launch an ebook reader after signing a distribution deal with Canadian group Kobo.