WHSmith profit increased five per cent for the six months ending February 28th, 2013.
Total group profit before tax rose to £69m, up from last year’s £66m, and group profit from trading operations increased four per cent on the prior year to £77 million, up from £74 million in 2012.012.
This is despite sales being down on the same period one year ago. Group total sales were down by four per cent with like-for-like sales down five per cent.
In the UK, WHSmith opened 12 new stores during the half year. It now has 565 overall.
Kate Swann, group chief executive, said: "We have delivered another strong performance across the Group with EPS up 11 per cent and the interim dividend increased by 13 per cent.
"Both businesses continue to increase profit year on year, despite the challenging economic environment.
"So far this financial year, we have returned £28m to shareholders through the share buyback announced in August 2012.
"We expect the trading environment to remain challenging, however the business is in good shape and is well positioned for continued growth in both the UK and internationally."