Fashion chain Superdry (SDRY) on Thursday posted double-digit growth in full year revenue and underlying pre-tax profit, helped by its wholesale segment, sending its share price racing to the top of the FTSE All-Share in early trade.

The company has also declared a special dividend worth 25p per share.

Reported pre-tax profit fell to £65.3m, from £84.8m in the previous year due to currency movements and costs related to the closure of a store in Berlin. Superdry's global revenue, which it describes as ‘the key measure of brand health’, was up 22.1% to £1.6bn.

Chief executive Euan Sutherland said it was ‘another strong year’ for the company and investors appear to agree, the shares rallying more than 7% to £12.52. Investors are clearly very happy with Superdry’s performance in light of a stiff challenges facing high street retailers right now.

The market starts off trading on Thursday in vaguely positive mood, the FTSE 100 index moving around 23 points higher to 7,596.15.

PRIMARK CAN’T HALT SUGAR SELL-OFF

Associated British Foods (ABF), which owns clothing chain Primark, says it saw a 2% rise in revenues over the 40 weeks to 23 June. Once currency effects were stripped out, that became a 3% rise.

The group has maintained its overall guidance for the full 2017/18 year, but it does hint at a more negative outlook for its sugar business because of lower EU sugar prices. AB Foods expects this to be offset by a better performance at its Primark fashion chain, although investors are not so sure, marking the stock down more than 3.5% on Thursday to £26.17, the biggest faller on the FTSE 100.

Sales at Primark over the same period grew 7% year-on-year because of new store openings and it is apparently enjoying an uptick in margins too.

Falling further and faster than AB Foods are shares in cyber security business Sophos (SOPH), which saw billings slow down markedly in the first quarter. This is largely hitting its enduser segment in spite of high profile hacking attacks like the WannaCry ransomware attack that shut down parts of the NHS, among others, last year.

What is really spooking investors is that the company sees the billings growth slowdown bleeding into the second quarter as well, which could see the full year performance impacted. Sophos shares head the FTSE All-Share loser board on Thursday, slumping around 20% to 488.6p.

MIXED MESSAGE FROM UK HOMES MARKET

UK online estate agent Purplebricks (PURP) nearly doubled revenue in the year to 30 April 2018, the company said on Thursday, as it drew market share from traditional players and entered new markets including a handful of US states.

But investors are more concerned with still hefty operating losses of £21.3m last year, up from £5m in 2017. The losses were partly due to increased marketing costs that more than doubled. Shares in the company slide around 5% lower to 305p.

Britain’s second largest homebuilder Persimmon (PSN) reported a 5% rise in first half revenue on Thursday, fuelled by improved house sales and a 1.2% rise in average selling prices.

Shares in the FTSE 100 home builder are among the firmest among the blue-chips on Thursday, albeit nudging around 1.6% higher to £25.23.

$1BN BUYBACK BOOST FOR EMBATTLED GLENCORE

Leading the FTSE 100 risers on Thursday is embattled commodities trader and miner Glencore (GLEN). It has confirmed plans for a $1bn share buyback programme running to the end of 2018.

This offers investors some relief following the hefty stock sell-off over the past few days with the group facing a potential investigation by US authorities for alleged money laundering. Glencore has been ordered to hand over documents to the Department of Justice.

Frankfurt-based activist investor Shareholder Value Management has urged all shareholders to vote for the removal of Mears’ (MER) chairman Bob Holt due to the company’s underperformance.

Shares in the company have slumped from over 500p to the current 345p since April.

Gold prices traded in a narrow range on Thursday, after hitting a one-week high in the previous session, amid an easing dollar and as the markets awaited minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s June policy meeting later in the day.

Oil prices fell on Thursday after US President Donald Trump sent a strident tweet demanding that OPEC cut prices for crude.

Fashion retail chain Next (NXT) will trade without entitlement to its latest dividend on Thursday. Ex-dividend stocks combined trim 0.55 points off the FTSE 100, according to calculations by Reuters.


Issue Date: 05 Jul 2018