Retail chain WH Smith said it continued to trade well, despite a four per cent decline in like-for-like sales over the past 21 weeks.

Its high street stores, including branches in Bradford, Keighley, Birstall and at the Hartsead Moor service station on the M62, posted a fall of five per cent in the period, while its portfolio of travel-based outlets revealed a drop of two per cent.

This was broadly in line with previous trends as WH Smith reduced its reliance on the highly-competitive entertainment market, including CDs and DVDs, and focused more on its core books, stationery and confectionery markets.

Chief executive Kate Swann said margins improved in both divisions and noted that high street like-for-like sales were one per cent lower when stripping out entertainment sales.

She said: “Although we remain cautious about consumer spending, we have planned accordingly and are confident in the outcome for the full year.”