Business

WH Smith profits rise thanks to travel sales

WH Smith at Victoria station in London Image copyright WH Smith

Profits at bookseller and stationer WH Smith rose 3.75% over the last six months, thanks to a rise in sales at its travel business.

Its profits from its outlets in airports, railway stations, motorway service stations and workplaces went up 11% to £39m as passenger numbers rose.

However, sales at its High Street business fell 4% and its trading profits remained flat.

Shares in the company fell more than 2.6% at the start of trade in London.

Last year's publishing phenomenon, adult colouring books, gave way to "spoof humour" books and parodies of classics from the 1950s and 60s.

The company said in a statement: "In the half [year], spoof humour books were a key driver of sales while 'colour therapy' sales reduced significantly versus last year."

It said it would open 15 new travel units in the UK this year and now has 255 units internationally across 25 countries.

Overall profits in the first six months of the company's financial year rose from £80m to £83m. It increased its dividend payout to shareholders by 9%.

WH Smith is celebrating its 225th anniversary this year. It was founded in 1792 by Henry and Anna Smith in Little Grosvenor Street, London.

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