May 14, 2020 / 6:49 AM / 11 days ago

WH Smith sees book sales surge as closures hammer results

May 14 (Reuters) - WH Smith reported an 85% slump in group sales in April on Thursday, slightly better than its earlier forecast as a 400% rise in online book sales helped offset some of the damage of mass coronavirus closures of its kiosks and stores.

The company, whose newspaper and stationery outlets are a common feature of UK high streets, hospitals and train stations, said it was planning on a phased store re-opening schedule across its international territories, UK travel channels and high street business.

It reported a small dip in headline group profit before tax to 80 million pounds in the year to February, roughly in line with earlier guidance.

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham

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