Sales at WH Smith sunk after shoppers fell out of love with fads for grown-up Ladybird books and colouring-in.
The High Street chain saw sales fall 1 per cent over Christmas as no new trends emerged.
Followers of fashion: Booksellers had seen sales leap as titles such as Penguin’s Five on Brexit Island and The Ladybird Book of Mindfulness struck gold
Booksellers had seen sales leap as titles such as Penguin’s Five on Brexit Island and The Ladybird Book of Mindfulness struck gold.
But Stephen Clarke, chief executive at WH Smith, said: ‘Book sales were more challenging due to the decline in spoof humour titles and no new, big publishing trends.’
Online shopping also hit the 226-year-old newsagent as High Street sales fell by 4 per cent, while its stores in airports attracted a 3 per cent boost.
Over 50 per cent of sales and almost two-thirds of profits now come from the travel business. Overall, like-for-like sales fell 1 per cent in the 20 weeks to January 20.