Photographer: ConstantinosZ/Getty Images

WH Smith Isn't Laughing as Humorous Book Shortage Hits Sales

British authors have lost their sense of humor, at least according to one retailer.

WH Smith Plc, an ever-present on U.K. high streets, said Wednesday that a lack of funny book titles dampened sales over the last 20 weeks.

“Book sales were more challenging due to the decline in spoof humor titles and no new, big publishing trends,” the Wiltshire, England based retailer said in a statement.

The category had boosted Smiths’ sales in Christmas 2016, with popular series including parodies of Enid Blyton’s classic Famous Five books. Titles included Five on Brexit Island and Five Give Up The Booze.

WH Smith shares fell as much as 5.3 percent in early London trading as analysts said the profitability of U.K. high street stores continues to come under pressure.

Those struggles contrasted with its thriving travel operations, with the company having opened new stores in London’s Gatwick and Stansted airports, and also Singapore’s Changi, during the reporting period. Travel now accounts for about 60 percent of WH Smith’s profits.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.