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Ian Pollard – Sainsbury #SBRY board reduced to Meaningless Twaddle.

Sainsbury J plc SBRY You know that Sainsbury has a serious problem when the best which it can find to say about Chistmas is that Convenience stores hit a new record on Christmas Eve. Management gives the impression that it is lost for words and so it should be. It has been absolutely trounced during the Christmas quarter by that Bradford upstart and arch enemy, Morrisons.The only explanation it can manage to offer is the stunning “Retail markets are highly competitive and very promotional and the consumer outlook continues to be uncertain.” I think most people apart, apparantly from Sainsbury’s management, already knew that.

For the 15  weeks to the 5th January total retail sales fell by 0.4% and like for like retail by 1.1%. Grocery did do better with a rise of 0.4%, whilst as a continuing sign of the times, Grocery online and Convenience positively surged by 6% and 3% respectively. The company has had to admit that it could not compete on General Merchandise because the market is highly competitive and promotional and sales declined by 2.3% with margins under pressure.

Sainsburys does however have a solution. It has a new priority. It is going to “further enhance its differentiated food proposition” – in other words management will, as usual in these circumstances, seek refuge in jargon in the hope that nobody will notice it has been reduced to meaningless twaddle as a first line of defence.

Taylor Wimpey TW produced another strong performance in the year to the 31st December. Home completions increased by 3%  and 3,416 affordable homes were delivered as against 2809 in 2017. What happened to the unaffordable homes, nobody bothers to say. Presumably they were dumped in Barnsley. The overall average selling price remained flat at £264k which is never a sign of a boyant market.The order book did however rise strongly during the year from 7,136 homes in 2017 to 8,304 homes in 2018.

Ted Baker TED increased sales by 12.2%  in the five week period from 2 December 2018 to 5 January 2019. E-commerce sales did even better with an increase of 18.7%  and now account for 25.7% of total retail sales. The company regards this as a good performance attained despite the “continuing challenging external trading conditions across its markets.”

Greggs plc GRG With fourth quarter total sales up 7.2%  Greggs claims a very strong finish to a year of significant strategic progress.. Many managements are beginning to learn that they can make themselves look really good by  stressing how serious market problems, which they have to overcome, are. So Gregg’s achievements  were achieved despite the well-publicised challenges in the consumer sector but In 2019 things will get even better. In 2019 it will execute the “supply chain change programme” despite  ( chorus please,altogether now )”the many economic and other uncertainties hanging over the consumer environment.”

 

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Ian Pollard – Ted Baker #TBK will continue to be challenged

Ted Baker plc TED group revenue rose by 3.5% in the 28 weeks to the to the 11th August but profit before tax fell by 3.2% and basic earnings per share by 1.8%, so the management did two things. Firstly it increased the interim dividend by 7.8% and secondly it sought refuge in the time honoured excuse of “challenging external trading conditions”, thereby completely ignoring the successful companies which not only face challenging conditions but beat them. Wholesale sales did rise by 10% and e commerce by 24.1%. North America, the UK and Europe did see small sales rises in retail sales but the rest of the world  showed a small rise or a small decline depending on how you calculated your currency. As for the future it looks like the board has already succumbed to those challenging conditions which it believes will continue through the second half.

Electrocomponents ECM benefitted from strong momentum in the six months to the 30th September. Group like for like revenue grew by 10% after a strong second quarter and adjusted profit before tax for the half year is expected to grow from last year’s £79m to £100m.

Audioboom Group BOOM produced record revenue for the quarter ended 31 August 2018 with a rise of 14% on Q2 2018 and 26% up on Q3 2017. Despite that revenue for the 13 months ending 31 December 2018 is now expected to be below current market expectations. That will still show a hefty rise on the 12 months to November 2017 which produced $6mUS$ compared to between $11.5m and US$13m which is expected for the end of the current year.

Gooch & Housego GHH  has entered its new financial year with a record year end order book, which, as at 30 September 2018, stood at £96.1 million, an increase of 33% compared with last year. On a like for like basis and excluding the impact of foreign exchange this still comes in as a healthy 17% rise. The company is in a strong position and has been able to take advantage of positive market conditions.

Intercede Group IGP updates that operating losses for the six months to the end of September have been substantially reduced to less than £1.0m compared to last years £3.1m. Revenue for the half year has risen by more than 10% compared to last year.

AB Dynamics plc ABDP has performed well throughout the year and the Board expects both revenue and profit before tax will significantly exceed market expectations.

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Ian Pollard – Reckitt Benckiser #RB – Egg on face & seeking wriggle room

Reckitt Benckiser RB is left wiping  egg off its face as it abandons its proposal to acquire part of Pfizers Consumer Health Care business. The CEO finds himself squirming with some embarrassment as he tries to wriggle his way out of a situation which he seems to admit they should not have got into in the first place.  He says that RB only believes in organic growth but fails to explain as to why on earth they then went and got themselves involved in a proposed acquisition, Then he goes on to admit that in the end the proposal to acquire part only of the business, became impossible and again offers no explanation as to why they went for the impossible without realising that it would be impossible.

Crest Nicholson CRST updates that the trading environment continues to be generally robust with demand for new houses  continuing to be strong. Deference is paid to the government for its role in supporting the housing market to such an extent that in great swathes of the country, homes have become so expensive as to be unaffordable except for the wealthy despite price inflation having moderated.

Ted Baker plc TED reports another year of continued progress and success as profit before tax for the year to the 27th January produced a rise of 12.3% in profit before tax. Revenue grew by 11.4% and basic earnings per share by 12.6%. It is proposed to increase the final dividend to 43.5p. per share bringing the total for the year to 60.1p., a rise of 12%

Sanne Group plc SNN Group revenue for the year to 31st December rose by 77% and profit before tax by 49%. The final dividend is recommended for an increase to 8.4p per share, bringing the total for the year to 12.6p compared to 9.6p for 2016

Safestyle UK plc SFE found its market becoming increasingly challenging as 2017 progressed. Its financial performance was impacted as raw material prices increased at the same time as finance subsidy costs and lead generation costs. Profit before tax for the year to the 31st December fell by 28.5% and basic earnings per share by 31.1%. The final dividend remains unchanged at 11.25p per share. Market share grew by over 10% during the year but perhaps this is a classic case of increasing market share irrespective of profitability. 2018 has not brought any improvement and the year has got off to a difficult start. Order intake is below management expectations as the company’s market continues to deteriorate, whilst competition increases and consumer confidence continues to fall.

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Ian Pollard – Sainsbury Beats The Pessimists

Sainsbury J plc SBRY expects full year underlying profit before tax will be moderately ahead of published consensus after a strong third quarter produced a rise of 1.1% in like for like sales, excluding fuel, for the 15 weeks to the 6th January. Groceries online and convenience saw growth of 8.2% and 7.3% respectively leading to a rise of 2.3% in total grocery sales. The icing on the cake was that general merchandise and clothing outperformed the market in challenging conditions. Online now accounts for 20% of total group sales lending support to those who expect families to continue replacing the car for shopping, in favour of the armchair. The size of the turnround in Grcocery can be seen from the fact that last years third quarter rise over 2015/16 came in at 0.3% compared to this years 2.3% rise over last year.

Taylor Wimpey plc TW updates that the fundamental housing market remained solid in 2017 and the company’s trading performance was good. Housing completions for the year to 31st December rose by a comparatively modest 5% with major factors favouring the industry continuing to be low interest rates and the governments Help to Buy Scheme. Must be great to be in an industry where government helps to keep your market overheated, year after year.The average selling price on private completions grew by 3% save that in Spain it actually fell slightly – presumably no government help there!

Page Group PAGE was held back in quarter four by a miserable performance in the UK which showed a fall of 2.8% in gross profit compared to growth well into double digits in the rest of the world. Those old UK favourites of challenging market conditions and the impact of macro economic factors are held responsible for the UK letting the side down.For the full year 22 countries produced record gross profits with an average rise of 9.9% in what was a record year.Nor only was the UK not one of the 22, it produced, again, a comparatively abysmal perfornance with a fall of 3.8%.

Ted Baker TED produced a good retail performance over Christmas, with retail sales for the 8 weeks from the 12th November to 6th January showing growth of 10.5% at constant currency rates. This was however overshadowed by a particularly strong performance from e commerce which produced growth of 35%.

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Dominos – Swiss Sales Surge Follows Price Reductions

Dominos Pizza Grp DOM Sales during the 13 weeks to the 24th September rose by 11.9% on a like for like and constant currency basis. Demand was strong and the quarter saw a record number of store openings as well as a recovery in like for like sales. Switzerland led the way with like for like growth of 20.4%, following price reductions earlier in the year and a surge of 69.6% in online sales.

Marstons plc MARS Updates that both sales and profits for the year to the end of September, were ahead of last year and despite recent market conditions being subdued further growth is targeted for 2018 when the opening of 15 new pubs and bars and 6 lodges is expected. For brewing the 2017 year has been transformational with own brewed volumes up by 6%. Taverns on the other hand produced like for like sales growth of 1.6% and Destination and Premium only managed 0.9%.

Ted Baker Plc TED Interim results for the 28 weeks to 12th August saw group revenue rise by 9.5% on a constant currency basis whilst basic earnings per share were up by 12.2%. Asia was particularly strong with a rise in sales of 19.6% on a constant currency basis. Overall the half year performance was in line with expectations with profit before tax up by 17.8% and the interim dividend being increased by 17.5%.

easyHotel plc EZH The  year to the end of September was one of accelerated growth with a strong like for like performance in both owned and franchised hotels enabling the company to continue to outperform the market. Total sales for the year rose by 39% with like for like revenue in owned hotels up by 13.7% and by 8.6% in franchised hotels. 2560 owned rooms and 2263 frnchised rooms are under negotiation.

Iofina IOF  produced more iodine than expected  in the third quarter of 2017 which became a landmark period, as at the same time, global iodine prices continued to recover.

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