Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross
We may have seen a flurry of good news from the retail sector yesterday, but has that already come to an abrupt end? Numbers from J Sainsbury for the 15 weeks to January 5th show total sales down 0.4% and like for like sales down 1.1%. The retailer has attracted criticism of late for being too focused on the potential acquisition of Asda and ignoring the day job – this seems to reinforce the idea. The company may be beating the market when it comes to sales of general merchandise, but even this showed contraction.
Keeping with the theme, Majestic Wine has posted its Christmas trading statement, covering the 10 weeks to December 31st. Sales are up 1.5% although the company is having to work hard to achieve this in a competitive market. As a result of discounting and acquisition costs, margins were 1.2% lower than they were a year ago. The company is convinced it has a winning proposition, but margin improvement will be key in its success.
They’ve been grabbing headlines in recent days with their foray into vegan sausage rolls, but Greggs has posted its Q4 trading statement this morning and they certainly seem to have a winning recipe. Total sales are up 7.2% and profit guidance for the full year has been dialled upwards a fraction to at least £88 million. The business is doing well in terms of adapting to changing consumer tastes and is deflecting the issues of high rents and rising wage costs which seem to be afflicting many on the High Street.