Paving stone supplier Marshalls plc has posted a rise in half-year revenues.
The Elland-based group lifted revenue by 2% to £202m from £199m a year ago. – reflecting a stronger sales performance in May and June compared with the first four months of the year. UK revenue in these two months was 5% up against last year.
Marshalls said revenue growth was particularly strong in the domestic end market, where year-on-year growth was 12%. Sales in that market represent about 32% of Marshalls’ total sales in the first half of 2016.
CASH and carry group Booker hailed the contribution of recently-acquired Londis and Budgens as it posted an 11.7% rise in group sales excluding tobacco for the 12 weeks to June 17.
Excluding Londis and Budgens, Booker, which has a site at Red Doles Lane, off Leeds Road in Huddersfield and supplies 1.3m independent retailers, saw sales fall by 0.7% after many of its customers reported weak consumer demand.
TOPPS Tiles shrugged off Brexit fears and posted solid third-quarter sales growth – saying it is well placed to outperform the market.
The tiling and flooring retailer, which has a store at Leeds Road in Huddersfield, said like-for-like sales grew by 6.2% in the period as a programme to revamp its stores and ranges continues. In May, Topps unveiled an 11% rise in first-half pre-tax profits to £10.1m on sales of £108m.
SUPERDRUG posted a 62% rise in annual operating profit in 2015 as shoppers lapped up the retailer’s increased offer of designer fragrances. Profits rose from £38.3m to £62.2m and sales grew by 5.4%. Like-for-like store sales rose by 6.6%.
Superdrug, which is owned by owned by A S Watson Group, said that make-up and beauty sales rocketed by 11% – driven by an expansion of its range of designer fragrances such as Marc Jacobs, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci.
CONSTRUCTION firm Kier Group said trading was in line with expectations – adding that uncertainty arising from the EU referendum has had no impact on its business. The group said that the acquisitions of May Gurney and Mouchel had boosted Kier’s long-term prospects while its property division had a pipeline worth over £1bn. City analysts predict that sales for the full year will increase by 37% to £4.5bn with pre-tax profits set to rise by 47% to £126.5m.
UPMARKET supermarket Waitrose posted a 17% fall in profits as the retailer flagged “exceptionally tough” conditions in the UK grocery sector. Pre-tax profit fell to £66.6m in the year to January – with pension costs associated with parent firm John Lewis contributing to the slide. Sales also dipped from £6bn to £5.9bn.
The grocery chain’s annual bonus – shared between 58,970 staff – was cut from £87m to £80m as a result.
MARKS & SPENCER'S clothing arm suffered its worst sales performance for more than a decade as it cut back on promotions amid a “weak market”.
The retail giant saw an 8.9% plunge in first quarter like-for-like sales in its clothing and home division – the biggest drop since the March to July quarter in 2005.
Chief executive Steve Rowe blamed the worse-than-expected sales figure on moves to reduce promotions and shift its summer sale into July as part of his turnaround strategy. M&S was also hit by a “weak market” amid pre-Brexit vote jitters on the high street, while the timing of Easter wiped around 0.8% off clothing and home sales growth.
SPORTS Direct warned it will be “impacted significantly” by the collapse in sterling as it predicted that a weakening economy post-Brexit will hit consumer confidence. The Mike Ashley-owned retailer saw a 0.5% drop in full year core earnings to £381.4m – with underlying pre-tax profits down by 8.4% to £275.2m. Sales rose by 2.5% to £2.9bn.
PRIMARK’S owner Associated British Foods said the retailer posted a 7% rise in sales in the 40 weeks to June 18 – despite being hit by unseasonal weather in April. It said currency movements following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union will have both positive and negative repercussions for the firm – with UK profit margins at Primark hit by the falling pound, but the strengthening euro leading to stronger overseas profits at its sugar business.
ONLINE fashion firm ASOS, which has its distribution hub in Barnsley, shrugged off Brexit fears for retailers as it upped its full-year sales outlook after cheering “strong” trading.
The group posted a 28% rise in UK sales for the four months to June 30 to £203.1m and saw a 25% to £297.4m across its burgeoning international arm with currency movements stripped out.
ASOS said the robust third-quarter performance meant sales for the full year were now expected at the top end of its forecasts for between 20% and 25% growth. Annual profits are set to be in line with expectations as its focus on lowering prices will weigh on profit margins.
BUS and rail operator FirstGroup reported a dip in revenue in the first quarter. Sales across the business, which runs buses in the Huddersfield area and has the First TransPennine rail franchise, fell by 1.4%, largely due to poor trading in the US, where it operates Greyhound coaches.
The Aberdeen-based group said it was too soon to judge the overall effect of the EU referendum decision on its business. Nevertheless, FirstGroup maintained its outlook for the year.
EASYJET said it was facing the most difficult summer holiday season for years as it revealed that bookings had fallen by about 10% since the Brexit vote. The low-cost carrier said passenger confidence had also been affected by political turmoil in Turkey and recent terrorist attacks.
The group posted a 2.6% fall in revenue to £1.2bn in its third quarter, after being hit by traffic control strikes, runway closures at Gatwick Airport and severe weather.
YORKSHIRE Building Society announced a “robust” first-half performance for 2016 as it posted higher profits. The Bradford-based society, which has its roots in Huddersfield, made core operating profit of £62.5m and pre-tax profits of £99.9m in the first six months of 2016. Assets totalling £39.6bn. In highly competitive markets, savings balances grew to £29.4bn from £27.9bn at the end of 2015 while mortgage balances rose to £34bn from £33.3bn).
MOBILE phone giant Vodafone notched up its eighth consecutive quarter of rising sales after hitting a better-than-expected 2.2% rise in revenues.
The company said its preferred measure of performance, group organic service revenue, edged up by 2.2% to 12.3 bn euro (£10.3bn) in the first quarter to June 30. However, organic service revenue for the UK was down by 3.2% over the period to 1.8bn euro (£1.5bn) after problems with a new billing system sparked a wave of customer complaints. Group revenue fell by 4.5% to 13.4bn euro (£11.3bn).
WILLIAM HILL, Rank Group and 888 confirmed that a £3bn three-way merger could be on the cards.
The firms said: “The consortium sees significant industrial logic in the combination, through consolidation of their complementary online and land-based operations, delivery of substantial revenue and cost synergies and from the anticipated benefits of economies of scale which will accrue to all shareholders.”
William Hill said it “would listen to and consider any proposal which might be forthcoming”.
William Hill announced in May that net revenues tumbled by 3% and online sales fell 11% in the first quarter as the firm took a hit from punters cashing in on bets on Cheltenham and the European football.
BT has cheered better-than-expected earnings as crunch talks with Ofcom continue over the independence of its Openreach broadband network.
The telecoms giant said it would engage with Ofcom over the coming months in the wake of Tuesday’s proposals, which suggested Openreach could become a “distinct company” within the BT group rather than face a full sell-off.
The firm said revenues rose by 35% to £5.8bn in the first quarter compared with the same period in 2015, while adjusted pre-tax profits stepped up 16% to £802m over the period.
SKY brushed aside economic uncertainty surrounding Britain’s referendum on the European Union to drive up revenues and profits.
The Game Of Thrones broadcaster lifted operating profits by 12% to £1.6bn in the year to June 30, while revenues climbed 7% to £11.9bn.
LLOYDS Banking Group announced plans to axe 3,000 jobs and shut 200 branches as the lender braces itself for a cut in interest rates following Britain’s decision to quit the European Union.
A cost-cutting programme announced in 2014 will be extended as the bank targets £1.4bn in cost savings by the end of next year. Lloyds Bank made the announcement as it unveiled first half results showing statutory profits more than doubled to £2.5bn.