Smiths News has reported a 2% increase in group sales for the 19 weeks to 12 January, despite a continuing slide in newspaper and magazine sales.

Sales were boosted by the newspaper and magazine wholesaler’s acquisition of The Consortium in April 2012, as well as a strong performance from its Bertrams books business - up 4.5%. However, sales fell 1.9% in its core Smiths News arm, with like-for-likes down 4.7%.

Smiths News MD Jonathan Bunting told The Grocer that consumers were buying one fewer newspaper a week or one fewer magazine a month because of the digital market, disposable incomes and changing purchasing habits.