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WHSmith announces store closures as High Street crisis continues

Retail giant WHSmith has announced store closures as the pressure on the High Street continues.

The nationwide book and magazine retailer has announced that it is to start closing branches – but has yet to reveal which outlets will be at risk or how many jobs are under threat.

WHSmith has announced store closures.

WHSmith has announced store closures.

The firm is to close six stores after reporting a fall in its yearly profits – and becomes the latest retailer hit by the high street's troubles.

READ MORE: WHSmith in Sheffield city centre to close and relocate while repairs take place

The firm has 610 high street stores in the UK including outlets in Doncaster and Sheffield.

The retailer said the six stores closing were "loss-making" because of "onerous" high street leases, and that they will close when their leases expire.

It made the decision after reporting a fall in profits for its high street stores from £62million to £60million in the year to August.

The retailer said it is now focusing on its travel stores, which are its shops located at airports, train stations, service stations, universities and workplaces.

READ MORE: More scaffolding as repairs at Sheffield WHSmith continue

In recent months, House of Fraser, Prezzo, Patisserie Valerie and French Connection all encountering problems.

Companies blame the rise of Amazon and other online shopping sites for driving footfall away from town centres.

A WHSmith spokesman said: “Over the year, WH Smith will be opening more stores than we’re closing.

"Across the business we will be creating jobs, employing more people next year than this year.”

READ MORE: Doncaster historic Post Office closes and moves inside WHSmith branch

George Charles, retail expert from money-saving website VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, said: "It’s incredibly sad to hear that such a pivotal part of our high streets is also failing.

"Everyone in the UK would have purchased something in WHSmith’s at some point or another, whether that was a book, stamps or some stationary, but as with many of the other struggling retailers, the cost of these goods is just too high to compete with online retailers or other stores on the high streets."

In July, WHSmith was named the UK's worst high street shop, with customers complaining it's expensive, out-of-date with rude staff.