Market report

JD Sports surges | M&B | ASC hires | Retail sales


JD Sports in St James

Shares in JD Sports Fashion closed 7.25p lower at 163p despite predicting annual profit to pass £1 billion after record results in the year to 28 January.

The company, owner of outdoor firm Tiso, posted forecast-beating profit before tax and exceptional items of £991.4m, up from £947m a year earlier.

It now expects profit before tax and adjusted items for the 53 week period to February 3 2024 to be in line with the current average consensus expectations of £1.03bn.

Revenue in 2022-23 was £10.1bn, up from £8.6bn, and JD said it was reassured with trading in its new financial year to date, with organic sales growth of more than 15% after 13 weeks.

“This performance is further evidence that consumers worldwide are more attracted than ever to JD’s differentiated proposition,” said Chairman Andrew Higginson.

Real estate giant British Land was also among the FTSE 100’s biggest fallers after it said that it had significantly written down the value of its property portfolio after rises in interest rates.

The group fell to a £1 billion statutory loss as a result. It saw shares finish down 21.4p at 356.5p.

The FTSE 100 moved 0.36%, or 27.85 points lower to finish at 7,723.23.

Mitchells & Butlers

sheep Heid

Pubs group Mitchells & Butlers said its cost outlook in the medium term was improving after reporting a rise in sales growth for the past six weeks.

Sales growth came in at 8.9% on a like-for-like basis from a year ago, the group said. Adjusted operating profit was £100m (HY 2022 £120m).

Rising costs have posed a big challenge for the hospitality industry, which has been slowly recovering from COVID-19 pandemic lows, although resilient customer spending has helped it remain positive.

CEO Phil Urban said: “Whilst the environment remains challenging, we are pleased with the momentum the business carries into the second half of the year. This provides confidence that we are tracking ahead of management’s previous expectations in both the short and the medium term.”

Artisanal Spirits Company

The Artisanal Spirits Company, owner of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, has appointed Billy McCarter, formerly interim finance director as chief financial officer with immediate effect.

The group has also welcomed Chris Leggat as business development director. He joins from Douglas Laing & Co, the independent Scotch whisky blending and bottling specialist, where he was chief executive.

ASC will announce an AGM trading update for the four months to 30 April on 24 May.

Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust

Tom Slater, manager of one of the UK’s biggest investors in innovative companies, has admitted the past 12 months have been “painful” for shareholders, but said it will continue seeking out exceptional growth opportunities.

Full story here

Retail sales

Retail, Multrees Walk

Scottish consumers hoppers are cutting back on clothing, electrical goods and furniture as food prices eat into household budgets, according to new data.

The April sales monitor from the Scottish Retail Consortium showed total sales rose by 9.1% year-on-year, although after adjusting for inflation the growth was estimated to be 0.3%.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Easter provided a slender but nonetheless welcome uplift to retail sales in Scotland last month.

“However, the figures reveal a continued and indeed more pronounced polarisation of performance between food and non-food categories.

“With households spending more on groceries due to elevated levels of inflation, the consequences of this can be seen with more discretionary spending areas losing out, with volumes declining.

“Much hinges on whether soaring food inflation can be brought under control enough to allow consumers to comfortably start spending again on non-essential items.”

Global markets

Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden will cut short a trip to Asia this week, to join negotiations with Republicans to avert a potentially catastrophic debt default.

Mr Biden remains “optimistic” about securing a deal, though house speaker Kevin McCarthy said much work remained in negotiations to raise the federal borrowing limit and avert a default, with the deadline for agreement just days away.

Wall Street ended mixed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1.0%, the S&P 500 closing 0.6% lower and the Nasdaq Composite up 0.2%.

Sterling was quoted at £$1.2470 early Wednesday, lower than $1.2486 at the London equities close on Tuesday.

Japan’s economy grew faster than expected in the first quarter, official data showed, helped by a recovery in inbound tourism after pandemic border restrictions were lifted.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index was up 0.8%, having slightly earlier reached a new 33-year high.

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