Market report

Mulberry VAT plea | M&B | Dr Martens | Metro Bank

Market close


Energy and healthcare companies helped lift the FTSE 100, which was buoyed by a weaker pound. It rose 30.29 points, or 0.4%, to close at 7,453.75, marking a 1.8% uplift during November.

BP was among the top gainers, closing up 7.25p at 479p as oil prices edged higher. Harbour Energy, which is said to considering merger and acquisition opportunities, was a big riser on the FTSE 250, finishing up 6.25p higher at 229.5p.

Rolls-Royce, which is up 171% since the start of the year, was given a further boost by its ambitious financial targets unveiled this week. Its shares were up a further 5.5p at 268.75p.

The biggest surge of the day was Ashtead Technology which saw its shares climb 111p or 23% to 596p after its £53.5m acquisition of Aberdeenshire firm ACE Winches. Ashtead has seen its value rise by more than 250% since it was admitted to AIM in November 2021.

Shares in Dr Martens were down 24.5p, or 21.4%, to a record low of 90.25p after the bootmaker said it will miss expectations amid another slump in sales.

Dr Martens expects a sharp profit slump for the year after a slow start to the autumn-winter season impacted by warm weather across its three key regions.

The company says revenue is likely to decline by high single-digit percentage year on year, on a constant currency basis.

Full-year core profit is also expected to be ‘moderately below the bottom end of the range’ of market expectations of £223.7million to £240m.

Company round-up



Mulberry chief executive Thierry Andretta has made a renewed plea for the restoration of VAT-free shopping for tourists.

After the luxury brand reported a half year loss before tax of £12.8m Mr Andretta, said a weak economic outlook is impacting the entire luxury industry.

VAT-free shopping for international tourists was abolished in 2021.

He said the macro-economic environment has deteriorated, and this has had a knock-on effect on consumer sentiment.

“At Mulberry we have ensured that we are prepared to navigate this tricky environment, and we are confident in our ability to continue to execute our strategy.

“I continue to believe that offering VAT-free shopping in the UK would be one of the most effective ways to encourage business growth in this country.”

He added: “The fact that this has not been reinstated is creating challenges for all sectors; impacting not only the luxury players, but also hospitality, travel and tourism.”

The half-year loss was blamed on operational costs for new store openings in Sweden and Australia. 

UK retail sales were up 6% to £36.2m and digital sales rose 19%.

Shares fell 5.00p (3.03%) to 160p.


sheep Heid

Pubs and restaurant chain Mitchells & Butlers said operating profit for the year fell by about 8% to £221million as it faced continued cost pressures.

The owner of Toby Carvery, Harvester, and All Bar One and pubs such as the Sheep’s heid at Duddingston, said its city centre pubs are benefiting from the return of workers to offices.

A statutory loss of £13m from an £8m profit in 2022 was a result of movements to the property portfolio valuation as well as significant cost headwinds during the financial year. Revenue rose to £2.5 billion from £2.2bn in 2022. 

Staff turnover reduced in the year to 81%, a return to pre-pandemic stability.

Shares fell 20.8p (8.58%) to 222.6p.

Metro Bank cuts

Metro Bank will cut hundreds of jobs and will review its seven day opening strategy after shareholders approved its £925m rescue deal.

The challenger bank, which employed more than 4,000 staff at the end of last year said the plans would help it save £50m a year, an improvement on its previous cost reduction plans, which were expected to save £30m annually.

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