Here are three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
#1. Pearson profits set to surge off modest sales uptick
Pearson [LON:PSON] has published a full year trading statement this morning, noting a strong financial performance in 2021 and that full year guidance remains unchanged. Group sales advanced 8%, delivering a robust 33% uptick in profits compared to the previous year, ahead of expectations. Full year results will be issued at the end of February.
#2. WH Smith travel sales continuing to gain altitude
The 230 year old retailer WH Smith [LON:SMWH] has issued an update covering the 20 weeks to 15th January, headlining with good, group-wide progress and further store wins in the US. Despite the company’s focus on stores in airports and other travel locations. Sales for the period were 85% of pre-pandemic levels and as a result of this upbeat trading performance, the company’s cash generation is running ahead of plan, too. The company has a strong pipeline of new store openings and is confident that the recovery in travel markets will now continue apace into the summer
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#3. JD Wetherspoon sales still subdued, but hopes that second half of year will be better.
There’s a trading update out from Wetherspoon [LON:JDW] this morning which had the potential to be short and to the point. Sales for the 25 weeks to 16th January fell by 11.7% on a like-for-like basis from pre-pandemic levels, with the latter part being only slightly more heavily impacted by the implementation of Plan B restrictions. The ongoing COVID uncertainty makes sales predictions difficult and the chairman notes the company will be loss making in the first half of the financial year. There are however hopes that improved customer confidence and weather will see improvements in the second half, although the ongoing cost of the living squeeze presumably also warrants some consideration.
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