WH Smith expects improvement after 'challenging' second half

<p>W H Smith has said that it expects it high street retail business to show an improvement in its profitability in the current fiscal year. This was despite trading conditions in the high street that "remained challenging during the second half of the year".</p><p>In a trading statement put out in advance of its year-end close on 31st August, the group said that it expected its financial results to be in line with expectations. The statement read: "The profitability of our High Street Retail business continued to improve through both gross margin gains and tight cost control. The Travel Retail division continues to perform well and our News Distribution business has also made steady progress. The three to five year plan to deliver value to shareholders that was set out last summer remains ontrack."</p><p>A number of booksellers, including Ottakar's and Borders, have warned recently of difficulties in the book market, after the recent bombings in London and the aggressive price promoting of the recent Harry Potter book.</p>