Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
Another day with plenty of corporate news to talk about so kicking off, Dunelm [LON:DNLM] has published its final results this morning, covering the period to 30th June. Despite the disruption resulting from COVID-19, sales are off by just 3.9% with online sales up more than 100% in the final quarter. Pre-tax profits were however impacted rather more, down 13%, presumably reflecting the additional costs of reopening in a secure manner. The company will not be claiming under the government job retention scheme and has elected not to declare a dividend. Uncertainty remains over the outlook owing to the risk of further lockdowns.
Sticking with retail, we have interim results out from WM Morrison [LON:MRW] this morning too, covering the six months to August 2nd. Ex-fuel sales for the period are up 8.7% although once forecourt sales are taken into account, that slides to a 1.1% fall, underlining just how far demand for car journeys fell during lockdown. One interesting line from the numbers states the group saw an additional £155m of costs as a result of COVID, which was partly offset by the £93m saved from not being liable for business rates. A marginally increased dividend is being called, although a decision on a special dividend has been deferred. The company believes the strong momentum can be carried into the second half of the year.
Rank Group [LON:RNK] has published full year results for the period to June 30th this morning. Underlying results are down 15% but digital performed well, coming in some 23% ahead of last year’s figure. The company notes that its pre-COVID performance was strong, with underlying operating profits up 61% over the eight month period. Encouraging progress has been seen since venues started reopening and the company is confident that further cost savings can be made as it enters the next phase of its transformation plan. Assuming no further disruption, the company expects to be cash positive this month, although that doesn’t account for the impact of deferred duty and rent. No final dividend is being paid.
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