The group, which supplies around 30,000 UK retailers and newsagents, reported a 9.2% plunge in like-for-like wholesale magazine sales in the year to August 31, blaming "wider economic pressures" for an ongoing drop in demand, as well as heavy price cuts in TV listings while newspaper sales were also down 2.7%.
The group said it was on track to see half of all profits come from outside of newspaper and magazine wholesaling by 2016, up from 29% in the past financial year, as it diversifies towards digital media, as well as supplying resources to the education and care home market through recent acquisition The Consortium. Underlying group pre-tax profits rose 11.6% to £53 million.
Smiths said profits and revenues rose across all four divisions, with the core news distribution arm seeing earnings up 2.5% as cost cutting offset newspaper and magazine sales falls.
Its Bertrams book wholesaler posted a 6.1% rise in underlying operating profits, while educational and care home supplier The Consortium delivered a 15.3% rise in earnings. The firm's DMD media business, which supplies inflight entertainment to airlines, also saw a double digit increase in earnings, up 11.1%.