We have what appear to be a fairly anodyne set of full year results from fashion retailer Burberry. Earnings per share and dividends have both come in at the top end of analyst expectations and there are no real surprises. Growth in Asian markets is reported as being mid-single digit – well below the highs of a few years back, but the brand seems to be holding on to its timeless appeal in these less mature markets, too.
When you pop into Marks & Spencer at the train station or buy a newspaper at the airport, chances are the store is actually managed by a company called SSP. They’ve published half year results today and it seems as if there’s little not to like about the numbers. Margins are up, profits are up and shareholders will be rewarded with an increase in the dividend too. Global acquisitions are spreading the risk as well – business like this may be cyclical, but the increasing spread of the operation is worth noting.
Mitchells & Butlers
Pub and restaurant operator Mitchells & Butlers – the name behind brands ranging from All Bar One wine bars to O’Neills faux-Irish boozers – has published its half year results today. The company is steering a steady-enough course with like for like sales growth of 1.6%, which jumps to 2.5% if you include the impact of snow. However strip out inflation from figures like this and it’s a little less impressive. UK consumers remain on edge over the future, leaving many casual restaurant brands struggling. Until this dilemma is solved, many operators in this sector are going to continue walking a fine line.