The Icelandic volcanic ash cloud has hit third-quarter sales at WH Smith.

The high street retailer said like-for-like sales dropped 4% in the 14 weeks to 28 February, citing the impact of fewer fliers on its travel stores.

But like-for-like sales were down just 25 in its travel stores, it claimed, excluding the impact of the volcanic ash cloud. Total sales fell 3% during the period.
“The economic environment remains uncertain and while we continue to be cautious about consumer spending, we remain confident in the outcome for the full year,” said chief executive Kate Swann.

Meanwhile, Walker Boyd has been appointed non-executive chairman for the retailer.

He takes up the role on 1 September and will replace Robert Walker, who has been chairman since 2005.

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Travel focus boosts WH Smith profits (22 April 2010)
WH Smith hit by falling entertainment sales (27 January 2010)