Next plc NXT First half full price sales were up +4.5% on last year,. ahead of the +1.0% guidance given in January and the +2.2% given in May and even coming as a surprise to Next itself which admits that its performance was flattered by the unusually warm summer. The reality is that the market is still volatile and those headwinds continue to batter retailers in General. The even harsher truth is that over the past 10 years retail sales have fallen by 10% in whilst like-for-like sales are down by 32%. Next even admits that it does not know what the high street will look like in 10 years’ time which means that future will involve a constant process of reinvention and experimentation in the hope that somewhere along the line, it will get things right.
Imperial Brands IMB updates that the business is performing well with the tobacco business delivering a much stronger second half and volumes for the full year outperforming the industry. Revenue growth will remain in line with previous guidance.
Card Factory plc CARD describes its interim results for the half year to 31st July as “solid”. Online sales growth was strong but like for like sales fell by 3.1% hit by the usual disasters of a weak consumer environment, particularly challenging footfalls across the high street and those dreaded headwinds the effects of which are being mitigated through improved efficiency.Profit before tax and basic earnings per share grew by 17.2% and 17.1% respectively and the shareholders are of course being looked after with a special dividend of 5p per share on top of the maintained ordinary dividend of 2.9p.
Harvey Nash Group HVN has now substantially completed its transformation programme and despite a weaker market, produced a robust performance in the half year to the 31st July. Gross profit rose by 7.2% and on a like for like basis was even stronger with a rise of 11.1%. Profit before tax increased by 19.2% and earnings per share by 22.6%. The interim dividend is to be increased by 6.5% to 1.75p per share. All this, says the CEO, achieved in a challenging market with the UK business delivering a a robust performance and Vietnam performing strongly.