Next pc NXT Full price sales in the second quarter were up 2.8% on last year and ahead of the 1% expected at the time of the May update. Next believes believe that this over-achievement was due to the prolonged period of exceptionally warm weather, which greatly assisted sales of summer weight products.Expectations for the remainder of the current year to January 2019 are that full price sales will rise by 2.2%, earnings per share will grow by 3.7% and group profit before tax will be down by 1.3%. Full price sales for the 26 weeks to the 28th July were up by 4.5% compared to last year but therein lies the pending nightmare facing most of the major retail clothing retailers. Sales in retail stores declined by 5.3% whereas online sales rose by 15.5%, providing further proof,if proof were needed, that the high street is dying on its feet.
BAE Systems plc BA. claims to have made good progress in the half year to the 30th June and laid a strong foundation to deliver future growth. The interim dividend is being inceased by 2%. Despite the optimism, on a constant currency basis, sales fell 3% to 8.8bn. as a result of reduced Typhoon production, underlying EBITA was down 6% but underlying earnings per share rose by 2%. As defined in IFRS and on a constant currency basis revenue fell by 5%, operating profit was down by 11% and basic earnings per share by 17%
Direct Line Ins Group DLG with half year falls of 15.75% in operating profit and 13.9% in profit before tax, has decided that attack is the best form of defence and is increasing its interim dividend by 2.9%. It is also brave enough to put on its rose tinted glasses and describe these as a good set of results. Perhaps it is purely coincidence that the CEO has chosen this as a good time to depart after 10 years in office.
Hargreaves Services plc HSP After seeing like for like basic earnings per share fall from 17.8p to 3.8p and last years operating profit of 1.4m. tuned into a loss of 1.4m for the current year, the group describes its preliminary results as being “satisfactory”. With profit before tax falling from 4.7m to this years 500,000 it even tries to get its shareholders to accept that it is delivering against its strategic objectives. Hands up those who have doubts.