Market report

Next poised to snap up FatFace in £100m deal

Next has a number of brand assets including Victoria’s Secret (pic: Terry Murden)

Next was in focus amid expectations that it is about acquire clothing and lifestyle business FatFace in a deal worth about £100 million.

The FTSE 100-listed company is closing in on the chain three years after it was taken over by its lenders.

FatFace, will be the latest high street brand to join the Next group, following Reiss, Joules, Cath Kidston, and Next also has partnerships with Gap and Victoria’s Secret.

Other retailers struggled. Burberry Group was down 2.7% after LVMH announced 9% organic revenue growth in the third quarter, falling short of the anticipated 11.2% by analysts and casting a shadow on the luxury retail sector.

The general clothing retail sector shared the sell-off with JD Sports Fashion down 3.85%, Frasers Group off 1.6%, and Marks & Spencer 1.64% weaker.

Construction and DIY retailer Kingfisher saw a 1.88% decline following a profit warning from builders merchant Travis Perkins, which saw its shares tumble by 6.74%. In a trading update, the Northampton-based firm said operating profits for the year would be between £175 million and £195m, down from £240m projected in August.

Nick Roberts, chief executive, said: “Market conditions remain challenging with continued weakness across new build housing and domestic RMI. Deflation on commodity products has also been greater than we had anticipated.“

The student accommodation and build to rent homes specialist Watkin Jones has warned of a further deterioration in forecast underlying profit for the year after being hit by extra costs in the race to complete schemes.

Iona Street

The firm said it had met its target to complete four schemes in the second half of the financial year but had incurred additional costs, including acceleration costs to ensure successful completion on two schemes. It has also sold its three non-core private rental sector operational assets.

But previously forecast underlying profit of £2m will slip to breakeven with revenue for the year set to exceed £400m.

In a year-end trading update it said it had now pared back overheard costs in a streamlining exercise expected to generate annualised savings of over £2m.

BP has confirmed its ongoing commitment to reducing oil and gas output, despite recent upheavals in its executive leadership, according to a report in the Financial Times.

The assurance was given at a two-day investor event in Denver by the company’s interim chief executive, Murray Auchincloss.

He stated that BP’s long-term objectives, including its net-zero ambitions, remain unaltered, the paper said.

Mitie Group enjoyed a 4.65% surge after it announced solid top-line growth in the first half, crediting recent acquisitions and projecting a revenue increase of 17% over the full fiscal year.

Transport operator FirstGroup gained 3.89% after announcing expectations of boosted full-year profits in its rail and bus divisions due to stronger-than-expected demand and robust passenger volumes, alongside other corporate actions.

Pub chain Marston’s reported healthy growth in sales and an improved cost outlook as it updated investors on trading.

It is aiming to reduce its debt by £60m-£70m in the next 12 months and said it expected to sell off around £50m worth of non-core properties.

The company said in 52 weeks to 30 September total retail sales in the group’s managed and franchised pubs rose 11.3% on last year with like-for-like growth of 10.1%.

Stock markets were affected by global inflation concerns and the conflict in the Middle East. and the FTSE 100 was down 0.11% at 7,620.03.

Sterling was last up 0.11% on the dollar to trade at $1.23, while it inched up 0.03% against the euro to change hands at €1.159.

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