High street hopes hanging on WH Smith results

WH Smith is set to release its results this week
WH Smith is set to release its results this week

WH Smith is set to avoid the mounting gloom on Britain’s high street in full-year figures this week thanks to another impressive performance from its travel arm.

The group has seen sales decline at its 610-strong high street business for several years, but this has been more than offset by its burgeoning chain of shops at railway stations and airports, as well as cost-cutting efforts.

Sales at its travel arm overtook those at the high street stores for the first time in the last financial year, making it the largest part of the group by both sales and profit.

Another stellar showing from the travel division is predicted to help profits move higher yet again, with analysts pencilling in a 3.9 per cent rise to £145.4m.

Thursday’s figures for the year to August 31 come after a decent third quarter, with the travel business boosted by growing passenger numbers and a narrowing of sales declines in its high street arm.