UK stocks moved slightly higher on Thursday despite ongoing concerns about rising Covid-19 cases across the world.
At 08:40 the FTSE 100 index of leading shares was 0.3% higher at 6,770 points.
In overnight Asian trading the Japanese Nikkei 225 index gained 0.9% while the Chinese SE Composite index lost 0.9%. Brent Crude prices nudged up 0.4% to $53.2 a barrel and Gold prices were 0.2% weaker at $1,842 an ounce.
Overall group revenues were 5.6% ahead to £19.9 billion and 7% higher on a like-for-like basis. Tesco Bank revenues dropped 28% as services were impacted by the pandemic.
The company said elevated sales will enable it to offset increased costs related to the pandemic which are now expected to be £85 million higher than communicated in October and will total £810 million. It left guidance unchanged with retail profit to be ‘at least at the same level as in 2019/20.’ The shares lost 0.4% to 241p.
The company said it now expected full year sales and adjusted operating profit for Primark to be ’somewhat lower’ than last year.
The update comes as the company reported that revenue in the 16 weeks to 2 January 2021, fell 13% to £4.8 billion year-on-year with Primark sales down 28%.
Its sugar and grocery division saw sales up 6% and 8% respectively, driven by higher prices for British sugar and strong growth in its UK grocery businesses. The shares dropped 1.9% to £21.8.
Premier Inn sales performance was said to be 8.9 percentage points ahead of the market taking market share up 4% to 11.4%. For the five weeks to 31 December UK sales were down 66.4% with occupancy dropping to 31.1%. The shares gained 0.5% to £30.7.
TAYLOR WIMPLY COMPLETIONS PLUNGE
Despite this, the company said it expected to report operating profit in line with market expectations, currently pegged at £293 million. The company said it remained confident of achieving its medium-term operating margin target of 21%-to22%. The shares dropped 2.2% to 157.6p.
Operating profit for the first half of fiscal 2021 was now expected to be around £25 million following stronger fees seen in Q2, the company said. The shares rallied 1.5% to 143.5p.
The guidance comes on the back of higher sales and margin in the second quarter.
For the 13-week period ended 26 December 2020, sales were up 11.8% to £360.4 million, with digital sales up 40%. The shares dropped 5.7% to £12.3.
Following the strong peak trading performance, the company raised its guidance on revenue growth for the financial year to 28 February 2021, to a range of 36% to 38%, from its previous guidance of 28% to 32%.
The adjusted EBITDA margin guidance for the year was maintained at around 10%.
In the four months to 31 December, revenue rose 40% to £660.8 million, with UK revenue up 40% to £357.2 million. Despite the good news the shares dropped 6.5% to 345.4p.
In a pre-close trading update online gambling company 888 (888) said revenue and active customer numbers in December rose to monthly records, prompting the company to upgrade its expectations for adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to be ‘moderately ahead’ of its prior estimates.
The shares added 2.5% to 310.5p.
For the 13 weeks to 1 January 2021, retail like-for-like sales were 9.8% and autocentres like-for-like sales were up 21.1% year. The shares gained 1.4% to 281.4p.