WH Smith has reported a 3% increase in half-year profits to £64m, thanks to a strong performance from its travel division.

Although like-for-like sales in travel were down 3% during the period due to lower passenger numbers, profits grew by 9% to £25m in the six months to 28 February. In contrast, profits in its core high street division were flat, with like-for-like sales down 6%.

The group said it expected to open 22 new travel stores in the next six months, including three stores under the Funky Pigeon brand.

“We have delivered a good performance, despite a difficult consumer environment," said chief executive Kate Swann. “Looking forward, we expect the economic environment to remain challenging and have planned accordingly.”

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