Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
There’s a trading update out from Greggs [LON:GRG] this morning which has some comparative performance stats set against the picture two years ago. Sales are a little behind, but the most important takeaway seems to be that – whilst acknowledging considerable uncertainty – the board now believes that full year profits could be around the level seen in 2019. That’s significantly higher than had been expected previously and is the sort of momentum that would be considered as good news both for the company and the wider economy.
There’s a Q1 update out from funeral operator Dignity [LON:DTY] this morning. Revenues are up 14% and operating profits have gained 35% from the same period a year ago as the number of deaths remains elevated as a result of COVID. However the company notes that since the end of the quarter, the country’s mortality rate has dropped below 5 year averages, but with rules on the number of mourners allowed at funerals being eased, there’s an expectation that this will be reflected in revenues going forward.
Hotel Chocolat [LON:HOTC] has published an update for the eight weeks to April 25th, a period which covers both Mother’s Day and Easter. Stores were closed across these two events, unlike the comparative period in 2020 where regular trading continued across Mother’s Day, but despite this, sales were some 60% higher. That’s a result of the successful multi-channel strategy which was sufficiently robust to even best the 2019 figures. The company has committed to repay the furlough funding it received from the government and the board now expects trading for the full year to June 2021 to be significantly ahead of expectations.
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