Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
Full year results are out from Halfords [LON:HFD] this morning, covering the period to April 3rd. Sales are fractionally ahead, matched by some margin improvement, although the success is very much weighted towards retail rather than the autocentres. Perhaps more interesting however are the reports of company performance in the last few months, following the COVID shut down. As an essential retailer, the company was permitted to maintain operations but for the 13 weeks to July 3rd, sales were down a mere 2.8% year on year. Online sales and the cycling division were the stand outs. Given the ongoing uncertainty, the company has withdrawn guidance but under a range of scenarios expects full year revenues to be down by 5% to 9.5%.
Whitbread [LON:WTB], the owners of Premier Inn, have published a Q1 update today, highlighting the company’s reopening strategy as the COVID unlocking continues. Sales for the quarter were around 80% lower, with the company having run some operations for essential workers. The company does however believe that its ownership model of properties means it is well placed to deploy an enhanced cleaning regime and in turn attract the confidence of consumers.
Bumper full year results from JD Sports [LON:JD] have been published today, covering the period to February 1st. Sales are up by around 30% and profit margins have only seen a slight erosion, leaving pre-tax profits a shade higher. The final dividend is being withheld given the extraordinary market circumstances and given the short period since store reopening took place the company is guarded over the outlook. Sales momentum is however apparently good and there’s confidence that the established multi-channel model provides the tools for success even if the retail environment undergoes lasting change.
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