British Am. Tobacco BATS has a new policy of keeping its shareholders and investors generally less informed about its financial progress or the lack of it and has stopped issuing interim management statement, replacing them instead with short updates twice a year prior to the start of its closed periods. So all it will tell you with todays update is that the business is trading very well but no figures are quoted to justify that assertion.
All that it will tell is that it has benefited hugely from a currency translation tailwind of 14%, thanks no doubt to the destruction of the value of the pound, by our political leaders. One possible strong point is that full year volume is expected to outperform the market but then it admits that market volume is expected to be down 4%, so in the end that is hardly going to set the share price alight.
WH Smith SMWH has continued to focus on profitable growth with the result that total high street sales fell by 4%, during the 15 weeks to 10th June, as did like for like sales. Travel sales continued to shine with a rise of 8% or 5% like for like but as far as the high street is concerned the lack of focus continues to be alarming.
Bellway BWY experienced strong sales demand and robust market conditions in the period from the 1st February to the 4th June. Volume growth for the year to 31st July is expected to reach 10% and the average selling price should get up to about £260,000 as against last years £252,793. The company also regained its status as a five star housebuilder.
Mulberry Group MUL profit before tax rose by 21% in the year to 31st March with revenue rising by 8% and cash up by 50% to £21m. UK sales did well with a rise of 10%. For the 10 weeks to the 3rd June retail like for like sales rose by 1%. The proposed final dividend remains unchanged at 5p per share.