WH Smith upbeat despite sales fall
WH Smith shrugged off a 10th successive year of falling Christmas sales as it highlighted a "good profit performance" driven by a continued squeeze on costs.
Like-for-like sales were down 4% for the 20 weeks to January 18. They have been consistently negative for this period since 2005, but the retailer's strategy of focusing instead on margins is admired by analysts. Its 615 stores saw a fall of 6% but WH Smith said there was good margin improvement and costs were tightly managed.