W H Smith reports high street book sales increase

W H Smith reports high street book sales increase

W H Smith has announced that it expects full-year results to be at the top end of market expectations, saying book sales on its high street arm had improved following a “positive publishing schedule".

The books and stationery chain released a pre-close trading update prior to the announcement of its annual financial results on 31st August, assuring investors that both its high street and travel arms remain highly cash generative.

W H Smith’s Travel UK store opening programme is “on track” as the company continues to manage costs tightly and it is also proving successful at winning new business abroad.

“In the High Street business our focus on gross margin and tight cost control continues to deliver a good performance,” W H Smith said in the statement. “In addition, High Street has seen an improvement in the sales trend of books following the recent positive publishing schedule.”

The bookseller has benefited from strong sales of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy by E L James (Random House) and has given front of store and promotional space to Bared to You by Sylvia Day (Penguin).

W H Smith is also expanding a new travel store front, the London News Company, in 11 spaces in Gatwick Airport.

The company also announced this morning (23rd August) that it would instigate a further share repurchase programme for investors of up to £50 million for the financial year to 31 August 2013 following the success of its last one which ended on 7th August this month.