StockMarketWire.com - Book retailer WH Smith said third-quarter sales rose 4% on-year, as growth in its travel business offset weakness on the High Street.

On a like-for-like basis, sales rose 1%.

'Whilst there is some uncertainty in the broader economic environment, WHSmith serves millions of customers each week and continues to grow both internationally and in the UK,' the company said.

Sales in the travel business, which has bookstores in airports and train stations, rose 8%, or 3% on a like-for-like basis.

'This good performance reflects our continued investment in our UK and international businesses and growth in passenger numbers,' WH Smith said.

The company said it was on target to open between 15 and 20 units in the UK this year. In its international business, it was due to open eight units recently won in Madrid Airport over the summer, bringing the total number of units open internationally to 282, with a further ten due to open this year.

High Street sales fell 1% both on a total and like-for-like basis, which represented a slowing rate of decline compared to previous quarters.

'Gross margin continues to improve and cost savings have been delivered in line with plan,' the company said.

'We continue to invest in our new store format trials and evaluate their performance. We have extended the trial to a further ten stores, as well as developing a trial for smaller stores.'

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