Morrisons W MRW has never lost our Ken’s ability to spring surprises and the new management team is doing just that with a 5.3% rise in the interim dividend and underlying profit before tax for the half year to 31st July up by 11%. Whilst total turnover did fall by 4%, first half like for like sales increased by 1.4% and the improving trend continued into quarter 2 where like for like rose by 2%. Cost savings for 2016 – 17 will exceed £1bn. Morrisons claims that its new team is making a real difference with lower prices, better service and improving quality.
NEXT NXT Total brand sales for the half year to the end f July rose by 3% but this was only achieved by discounting, with full price sales down by 4%. Profit before tax is down by 1.5% on a weekly comparable basis, last year having 53 trading weeks, compared to this years 52 weeks. Despite this being the age of the internet, it is perhas surprising that Next is bringing forward new store openings due next year, into the current financial year and will increase net trading space by 350,000 sq.ft. Next direct sales rose by 3%.
John Lewis Partnership BB90 saw small rises in sales for the half year to 30th July translated into whopping falls in operating profit and profit before tax which slumped by 74.5%. The company claims this is due to far reaching changes in society and deep structural changes in the retail market. Gross sales rose by 3.1% and John Lewis showed a like for like rise in sales of 3.1% compared to a 1% fall at Waitrose but the bad news is that the unwanted pressure are expected to continue throughout the rest of this year and next.
Ricardo plc RCDO The year end order book stands at a record high at £231m, up from last year’s£140m The fully year dividend for the year to 30th June is being increased by 90% after a strong performance from the two acquisitions which the company made. revenue rose by 29%, underlying profit before tax by 41% and basic earnings per share by 30%. The company sees the outlook as positive with potential for good further growth.
Crawshaw Group CRAW is disappointed with current trading. The suppressed footfall from which it began to suffer in June has continued to the end of the half year and since then conditions have remained difficult. The company is taking remedial action, it says.