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Retailers On The Rebound

Marks & Spencer MKS what a pleasure it is to see a shopkeeper back in charge of Marks and not just any old shopkeeper but one who knows the business inside out, one who has started turning it round in a very short time and who sounds confident and is confident that he can do the job.

The first sign of his success is continuing strong growth in food plus the realisation that sales performance in Home and Clothing has been unsatisfactory and the determination to rectify it. Profit before tax for the 53 weeks to the 2nd April is down 18.5% and basic earnings per share by 16.2% but a final dividend of 11.9% makes an increase for the full year of 3.9%. Confidence in the future means that a special dividend of 4.6p for the first half of the current year will be payable in July. Central to Steve Rowe’s recovery plans is that Marks will put customers back at the heart of the business which is bad news for the Greek stores who may now be forced to start offering customer service occasionally.

Dixons Carphone DC has enjoyed a  strong fourth quarter to finish off a very strong year.  Like for Like revenue rose by 5% both for the quarter and for the year, with market share gains in the UK & Ireland, the Nordics and Greece.  The UK and Ireland had an excellent year with like for like revenue up by 6%. Profit before tax is expected to have risen by 17% over last year.

Babcock BAB is raising its dividend for the year to 31st March by 9% after  rises of 5% in profit before tax, 4% in revenue and 8% in basic earnings per share. It claims that it is well positioned  for future growth and that the order book and bidding pipeline are impressive. 78% of revenue for the current year is already in place and 53% for 2017/18



Petra Diamonds PDL  Christies Magnificent Jewels auction on the 9th June,  will include the largest Fancy Intense Blue Diamond ever to be auctioned. Petra expects the 24.18 carat stone to fetch between $23 -$29 million. Petra’s share price now standing at 119p has more than doubled since November.

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