- WH Smith said, looking ahead, it continues to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in the business to position the company well for the future.

"We remain confident in the outcome for the full year," it said.

In the 14-week period from 1 March to 4 June 2016 total Group sales were up 2% with like-for-like sales flat.

"In our Travel business total sales were up 9% and like-for-like sales were up 3%, in line with expectations. This sales performance reflects our ongoing investment in the UK business and the improvement in passenger numbers," the company said in a statement.

"We made further progress actively managing our space to best meet the changing needs of our customers and landlords. Gross margin increased in line with plan.

"Our new store opening programme is progressing well in both the UK and internationally, where we continue to win additional new units."

In its High Street business, WH Smith continued with its profit-focused strategy, with sales in the period in line with expectations. Total sales were down 4% and like-for-like sales down 3%. Gross margin improvement and cost savings have been delivered in line with plan.

"We generate high levels of cash from our operations. As of 7 June 2016, we have purchased 1.7m shares and returned to shareholders £29m of the up to £50m share buyback announced in October 2015."

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