Shares in WH Smith fell more than 8% today after the books, newspaper and stationery retailer said it would close six high street stores and a franchisee initiative as part of a restructuring to cope with weaker consumer spending. 

The company said group pretax profit fell 4% to £134m in the year ending in August, while high street trading profit fell 3% to £60m. 

WH Smith operates 867 travel outlets - including outlets in Dublin Airport - and 607 high street stores in Britain.

It said it would wind down its franchised convenience store arm WHSmith Local and its Cardmarket chain, as well as closing about six high street stores and restructure some other operations.

"We are not ignoring the broader challenges on the UK high street and during the second half, we conducted a business review to ensure our high street business is fit for purpose now and for the future," chief executive Officer Stephen Clarke said. 

Total revenue from the high street business was down 3% with comparable sales also falling 3%. But travel trading profit rose 7% in the year to £103m. 

Analysts said WH Smith's shares would receive a boost if the firm split its travel and high street businesses.

They said that WH Smith is a fine example of how going online isn't the only solution for traditional retailers as its travel arm enjoys growth while focus shifts from its high street.