Following a focus on its travel arm, WH Smith has reported a rise in sales over the Christmas trading period.

In the 20 weeks to 19 January, the retailer revealed a total growth in sales by 6%, with sales in the travel arm rising 16%.

WH Smith is focusing on growth opportunities within its travel arm, which is performing strongly. The group will shut a number of high street stores. 

Despite the fall in high street sales, the WH Smith chief executive Stephen Clarke said that the group enjoyed the third best quarter in the past 15 years.

“The Group has delivered a strong trading performance with total sales up 6% and like-for-like sales flat. Our Travel business continued to grow across all channels. This was driven by our ongoing investment in the business, including the rollout of our new concept stores at Heathrow, and growth in air passenger numbers. InMotion delivered an impressive sales performance over the Christmas period and integration into the Group is progressing well,” he said.

Following the trading update, shares rose almost 2%.

Jonathan Pritchard, who is a retail analyst at Peel Hunt, said: “Trading has remained decidedly solid through the first half. We continue to believe that the InMotion deal in the States is a complete game-changer, opening up a massive new market to WH Smith.”

Shares in the group (LON: SMWH) are currently trading +2.24% (1231GMT).