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Parcels and breakfast deals boost sales

Letter post falls: Photo by Terry Murden

Royal Mail: Annual profits leapt 25% after better-than-expected growth in the parcel delivery business, up 9% on the back of a surge in online shopping. Letters post fell by 6%.

Upgraded computer systems, allowing the packages to be sorted faster, also boosted the figures.

Pre-tax profits rose to £335m in the year to 26 March from £267m, while revenues grew 5.7% to £9.8bn.

It hiked its proposed full year dividend by 4% to 23p and said it remains on track to save approximately £600m in the current financial year.

Chief executive Moya Greene said: “We have made good progress against all of our strategic priorities. This has been a more challenging period for UK businesses and we have come through it well.”

Thomas Cook: The holiday operator reported a rise in pre-tax losses from £284 million to £314m even though revenue rose by 3% to £2.9bn.

It aid it was seeing strong customer demand across most of its markets ahead of its key summer season.

Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria were among this year’s favourite destinations.

Popular breakfast deals

Greggs: Its £2 breakfast deals and healthier eating choices have been popular with customers, it said in an update

In the first 19 weeks of the year it completed 87 shop refurbishments and opened 42 shops, including 20 franchised units in transport locations. After the closure of 14 shops, there were 1,792 shops trading at 13 May.

The company said shop openings will be focused on food-on-the-go locations, the relocation of existing shops and new catchments such as Northern Ireland and the south west of England.

It said: “We have made a good start to 2017 although the sales outlook remains uncertain in the context of slowing growth in disposable incomes.

“Input cost inflation is having a modest impact on margins in the first half of the year as expected, however we have increasing visibility of costs for the second half and anticipate this pressure to ease towards the end of the year.”

Balfour Beatty: The engineering firm said it is on track to meet management expectations for the first half of the year.

The London-based company, which is involved in several high-profile infrastructure projects in the UK including Crossrail and the Thames Tideway Tunnel, said its order book will show growth in the first half due to good order intake in the United States.

The company returned to profit last year and in a statement ahead of its AGM it said: “Balfour Beatty continues to make good progress on the Build to Last transformation programme, with overall trading remaining in line with expectations.”

Burberry: The luxury retailer reported a 5% drop in pre-tax profit to £394.8m, dragged down by weak wholesale demand in the US.

The group has benefited from the drop in the value of the pound in the last year, resulting in a 10% gain in adjusted profit at reported exchange rates.

It said this effect would reverse in the current year, with an adverse impact of about £30m.

Marco Gobbetti becomes chief executive in July.


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