Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group [LON:FRAS] has published interim results for the 26 weeks to 25th October this morning and despite the lockdown earlier in the year, numbers may well leave investors with something to cheer. Sales are off by a mere 7.4%, but margins were maintained and profitability is up. Online sales were particularly helpful in bolstering the performance of premium lifestyle channels and given the strength of trading since the end of the last lockdown in England, the company is also upgrading its forecasts for the full year. Many corners of retail may be struggling, but there are certainly plenty of signs of life here.
Keeping with retail, Ocado [LON:OCDO] has published Q4 numbers today. The company continues to enjoy success, both from its recent tie up with Marks & Spencer and also the broader shift amongst consumers to doing grocery shopping online. Revenues are up 35% from the same period last year but the average number of weekly orders is up by just 3% meaning bigger baskets than were seen a year ago. However the company notes there’s a normalisation in play here, with a reversion from the peak seen earlier in the year. Regardless, full year EBITDA targets have been upped again from the levels suggested just a month ago by a further £10m to £70m.
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PubCo Marston’s [LON:MARS] has published results for the 53 weeks to 3rd October. The 15 week closure earlier in the year has taken a toll, but the report highlights some bright spots. The company outperformed the market by 7% in Q4 and saw sales at 90% of the previous year during the period, but the broader picture remains depressed with underlying revenues off by almost a third and the £95m profit from 2019 sliding to a £22m loss. With trading restrictions still in place for the sector and no sign of this relenting before the spring, they note government support remains necessary although management do try to strike a more optimistic tone over the longer term outlook.
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