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Three Quick Facts: WH Smith, Wickes, Saga


Three things you need to know in the financial markets today from investment writer, Tony Cross.

#1. WH Smith travel sales perform well whilst High Street suffers

WH Smith LON:SMWH has a trading update for the 20 weeks to 20th January out today. The company notes a good start to the year with strong momentum in travel retail as revenues rose 16%. High Street sales continue to suffer, falling in line with expectations although a modest uptick in sales was recorded in the Christmas trading season. With cost saving plans in track to deliver, there’s confidence more significant growth will be seen in the remainder of the financial year.

#2. Wickes profits set to impress but market looks challenging

Building specialists Wickes Group LON:WIX have a full year trading update out today, noting sales and cash levels as being in line with guidance, whilst adjusted pre-tax profits are now tipped to come in at the upper end of market consensus. Whilst there’s an underlying air of optimism in the note, the quarterly breakdown shows a marked deceleration in do-it-for-me sales.

Whilst some of that can be explained away by post-COVID normalisation, does it also infer that consumer confidence may be lacking? And whilst market share may be growing, looking at the revenue movement, is this at the expense of profitability?

#3. Saga plan to augment shareholder returns

Just a short note from Saga LON:SAGA to round off a quiet Friday morning, with the lifestyle play confirming media speculation that it is looking to re-structure its well-performing but capital-intensive cruise business. This still has some way to play out, but critically would improve returns for shareholders.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Make sure you do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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