The UK’s largest book and newspaper retailer WH Smith has blamed poor summer sales on the hot weather and a “highly competitive sales environment”.

In a trading statement before the group’s year end on August 31, it said entertainment sales had been hit, partly due to heavy discounting on CDs by the supermarkets. Sales of books, stationery and news sales were “satisfactory”.

The company also claimed that its travel business had been hit hard by the Iraq war and the SARS virus.

The stationer said that “despite the slowdown in the UK retail business in the second half of the year, the cash generation of the UK businesses remains solid”.

Exact figures will be published after WH Smith’s close period at the end of the month.