WH Smith chief executive said that the company is on track in the delivery of its recovery plan.

It announced pre-tax profit up 32% to £70m for the six months to February 28.

The improvement has been driven by improvement on the high street with profit up 31% at its High Street Retail division despite a fall in like-for-like sales of 3%.

Swan said: “We have improved the business’s profitability by being more efficient, increasing product choice, improving availability and store standards. Customer response to these changes has been positive.”