WHS sales drop 4% like-for-like

WHS sales drop 4% like-for-like

W H Smith’s like-for-like sales have dropped 4%, but the bookseller remains "confident" about its final year results, it said today.

In the 18 weeks to 2nd July, WHS total group sales decreased by 1% and like-for-like sales dropped 4% compared to the same period last year.

The retailer’s high street stores performed worse than its travel shops, with total sales down 3% on the high street and like-for-like sales down 4%. The travel shops in comparison saw total sales rise by 2%, albeit like-for-like sales growth was still negative at -2%.

The company had good news to report in its international expansion however, announcing it had secured a further seven units abroad, taking its total overseas tally to 47.

While WHS said it continued to generate “high levels of cash” from its operations, the bookseller believes the outlook for the market is unclear.

It said: "The economic environment remains uncertain and whilst we continue to be cautious about consumer spending, we remain confident in the outcome for the full year."

In April, the company reported that for the six months to 28th February, its total sales had dropped 4% to £686m, with like-for-like sales falling 5%. The company’s high street stores maintained an operating profit of £47m, the same as 2010, with total and like-for-like sales falling 6% to £473m.