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Smith on the slide?

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WH Smith, the troubled high street bookseller and stationer, has reported a continued fall in underlying sales and said that it will no longer “chase unprofitable sales”, and that it would separate its retail High Street outlets from its news distribution arm.

Like-for-like sales for the six months to 28 February fell 3% to £1.3bn, but profits before tax and exceptional items were up by 4% to £71m, from £68m.

Retail analyst Debbie Harrison said: “WH Smith has been stuck in the 1970s since the 1970s and needs to evolve into a truly 21st century company if it’s to survive much longer.”

Chief executive Kate Swann said: “Despite tough trading we remain confident in the outcome for the full year.”

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