WH Smith reveals 4% fall in sales

image captionWH Smith operates more than 1,000 stores

Sales at book and stationery retailer WH Smith have fallen, with both its High Street stores and its Travel stores seeing a drop.

Like-for-like sales, which strip out changes in store space, in the 18 weeks to 2 July were down 4% on a year ago.

But WH Smith said gross profit margins were continuing to grow and said it was confident about its full-year results.

It added that it had returned £44.9m to shareholders of the £50m share buy-back programme announced last year.

WH Smith currently operates over 1,000 stores, primarily in the UK, comprising 581 High Street stores and 532 Travel outlets at airports, train stations, hospitals, workplaces and motorway service areas.

Book retailers have faced increasing competition from online retailers and from the rising popularity of e-books.

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