Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
There’s a Q3 trading update out from Halfords [LON:HFD] today, showing a marked improvement in performance over the year to date. Group revenues are up 4.6%, against a year to date contraction of 0.2%, whilst gross margins are also noted as having improved, too. Full year expectations on profits have been confirmed and are expected to be in the £50-£55m range.
N Brown [LON:BWNG] , the catalogue and online clothing retailer has updated the market today over its performance for the 18 weeks to January 4th. Digital revenues have advanced 2.5%, but total sales are down 5%. Perhaps of greater concern is the fact that margin guidance has been trimmed both on product and financial services income, leading to a downward revision to profit expectations for the full year. Management talk of a period of transformation for the business – the question seems to be whether the ramping up of digital sales can happen quickly enough.
Whitbread [LON:WTB] has its third quarter update out this morning, too, noting that global sales are 1% ahead for the period, although the UK performance is rather more sluggish, ahead by 0.3%. Accommodation sales in the domestic market remain sluggish, but the roll out of the Premier Inn brand across Germany continues apace. Weak business confidence, especially outside of London is noted as hampering performance, too. It seems that the business is progressing well following its disposal of Costa, although any post-Brexit economic clarity is likely to be welcomed by investors.