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Quiz revenue slumps; Nucleus AUA rise; JD Sports


4.30pm: Equity markets quiet

Equity traders remained cautious ahead of major US banks reporting on their first-quarter earnings later this week.

The FTSE 100 index rose just 1.37 points to close at 6,890.49.

JD Sports rose 3% after the sports fashion wear retailer said it delivered a resilient annual performance.

Babcock International (see below) jumped 32%, making it the best mid-cap performer. The defence contractor will not pay a dividend for financial 2021 or 2022, though it also ruled out coming cap in hand to the market for more cash after announcing 1,000 job cuts and a £1.7bn impairment charge.

12.30pm: Covid update

Travel restrictions around Scotland will be lifted from Friday (16th) allowing for larger groups of people to meet outdoors.

Full story here

10am: Sturgeon to give Covid update

8.30am: GDP rise, FTSE 100 barely moves

New data showed the UK economy grew by 0.4% in February, slightly undershooting the 0.5%-0.6% predicted.

There was better news on exports to the EU which dropped off a cliff in January but have rebounded, though they are still £2bn down on pre-Brexit levels.

Babcock announced a £1.7bn write-down, but the shares jumped 34%.

The FTSE 100 was 12.8 points lower at 6,876.31.

7am: Quiz revenues plunge

Fashion retailer Quiz Clothing saw a 66% decline in revenue for the FY 2021 to £39.7 million against £118m generated in the year ended 31 March 2020.

Revenues from Debenhams UK concessions in FY 2021 amounted to £3.4m (FY 2020: £16.5m). Subsequent to 31 March 2021, the group ceased to sell product through the Debenhams website. Revenues from this channel in FY 2021 amounted to £5.5m (FY 2020: £7.7m).

Given the previous decline in revenues, the group does not anticipate that the termination of sales through Debenhams will materially impact upon its profitability or cash flows.

The group said it continues to focus on identifying and delivering new opportunities to grow revenues through its own website and store network, as well as by working with new partners appropriate for the Quiz brand.

7am: JD Sports tackles Brexit issue

JD Sports Fashion said it will open a warehouse in Dublin that will be operational in the second half of this year in order to fulfil online orders in Ireland.

It plans to ramp up warehouse capacity in the EU to fulfil online orders and minimise disruptions from Brexit.

“The global Covid-19 pandemic and, more recently, the UK’s formal exit from the European Union have presented a series of unprecedented challenges which have severely tested all aspects of our business,” said executive chairman Peter Cowgill.

JD Sports’ online business has performed well during the pandemic and the company has embarked on at least three big acquisitions in the US and Europe in the past few months.

The UK’s departure from the European Union, however, had caused some disruptions due to customs checks on the transfer of goods from the UK to EU countries, the company said.

Pre-tax profits fell to £324m from £348m on revenues of £6.17bn, up from £6.11bn a year earlier. The total dividend has been lifted to 1.44p a share from 0.28p. It forecast 2021/22 profits in the range between £475m – £500m.

7am: Just Eat Takeaway

The food delivery group’s quarterly order growth accelerated for the fourth consecutive quarter with the company processing 200 million orders in the first three months of 2021, representing a 79% increase over the same period in 2020.

7am: Babcock remodels

Engineering group Babcock is axeing 1,000 jobs and will book a £1.7 billion impairment after a review of its contract profitability and balance sheet. This will see a £30m hit to underlying operating profit.

Full story here

7am: Nucleus update

Nucleus Financial, the Edinburgh wrap platform, secured its best ever month for cash inflows ahead of its expected takeover.

Assets under administration (AUA), rose to £18bn as of 31 March 2021, up 28.4% year-on-year and 3.1% on the previous quarter.

Full story here

Overnight markets

China’s exports surged 30.6% in March compared to the previous year as the economy continued to reopen and global demand revived.

Overseas sales rose to $241 billion (£175.5bn), decelerating from the dramatic 60.6% surge in the first two months of 2021.

Imports rose 38% over the previous year to $227.3bn (£165.5bn) in a sign of reviving Chinese economic activity.

Investors showed little enthusiasm for the reopening of a chunk of the economy in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The FTSE 100 index lost 26.63 points, or 0.4%, to close at 6,889.12, while even the more domestically-focused FTSE 250 ended the session 97.71 points, or 0.4%, lower.

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