BUSINESS LIVE: Tesco lifts profit forecast; Superdry India expansion;  Vertu hikes dividend


BUSINESS LIVE: Tesco lifts profit forecast; Superdry India expansion;  Vertu hikes dividend

The FTSE 100 is down 0.2 per cent in early trading. Among the companies with reports and trading updates today are Tesco, Superdry, Vertu Motors, SSE, WANdisco and Topps Tiles. Read the Wednesday 4 October Business Live blog below.

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Market open: FTSE 100 down 0.3%; FTSE 250 off 0.6%

London-listed stocks are trading lower this morning, dragged by a sell-off in mining stocks as prices of most metals continued to fall, while Tesco shares are on the rise following an upbeat profit forecast.

Industrial metal miners have slipped 0.9 per cent, while precious metal miners are down 1.6 per cent, tracking prices of metals, including copper and gold.

Tesco shares are up 1.3 per cent after the country’s biggest retailer raised its annual profit forecast and signalled that food inflation would continue to fall.

Superdry has soared more than 17 per cent after the struggling fashion retailer revealed a £40m deal to sell its intellectual property assets in South Asia to Reliance Retail

Shares of Spirent Communications have tanked 27.6 per cent after the telecoms testing services provider warned of lower annual profit.

The ONS will publish fresh data on the UK services sector for September shortly, giving investors more insight into the health of the economy.

Poundland offers jobs to ex-Wilko workers as it reopens more stores

Poundland has offered jobs to more than 200 former Wilko workers as it continues to open stores the collapsed retailer once owned.

Last month, the variety store chain bought 71 of Wilko’s 398 stores from administrator PwC following the demise of the High Street shop.

London in the doldrums as listings slump: City pins hopes on recovery in 2024

‘Tesco is generating huge amounts of cash, much of which is being used to keep prices low’

Zoe Gillespie, investment manager at RBC Brewin Dolphin, said:

‘Tesco has delivered another strong set of results, as its long-term turnaround strategy continues to pay off.

‘The supermarket’s profitability has surged, following a series of self-help measures to strengthen its position as the top performer in a highly competitive sector.

‘Tesco is generating huge amounts of cash, much of which is being used to keep prices low. Inflation also looks likely to ease in the second half of the year, despite external pressures.

‘It is increasingly looking like the best-placed of the UK’s major supermarkets, particularly as higher interest rates impact on more leveraged rivals.’

‘It seems Tesco’s performing its own supermarket sweep’

Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown:

‘It seems Tesco’s performing its own supermarket sweep, knocking competition out the way in the process and loading up on market share.

‘As a full-line retailer it maintains an edge over the likes of Lidl and Aldi where you can’t quite find some more obscure ingredients.

‘The enormous investment Tesco’s put in to being more affordable has also helped retain and attract customers while inflation’s been running so hot. Inflation has fallen across the first half as Tesco has been able to normalise some pricing.

‘Of particular note is the success of Tesco Finest. People are saving by treating themselves at home instead of going out and Tesco has been building out its more premium offering. The wait to catch that extra demand is now paying off.

‘Shoppers are also voting with their feet and walking in Tesco’s direction away from higher-end supermarkets.

‘While cost-of-living pressures are easing in the grocery aisles, they’re by no means gone and with Tesco’s posher items growing in number, it’s able to meet squeezed premium shoppers with open arms.’

Vertu Motors hikes dividend

Vertu Motors has hiked its interim dividend by 21.4 per cent to 0.85p per share after the used car dealer’s revenues expanded by a fifth in the first half, thanks to the scale benefits of recent acquisitions.

Robert Forrester, chief executive, said:

‘The group has delivered 11.7 per cent year-on-year profit growth benefitting from increased scale.

‘The consistent strategies around digitalisation, cost efficiency, smart capital allocation and the development of our management and colleagues is providing a firm grounding to deliver value to our shareholders.

‘The interim dividend increase of 21.4% shows the Group’s financial strength and the progress being made. Trading in the key month of September was strong reflecting the plate change in new cars.’

Superdry expands in South Asia with £40m JV

Struggling fashion retailer Superdry has agreed a joint venture with Reliance Brands Holding UK for the sale of its intellectual property assets in India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh for £40million.

The group said: ‘Since partnering with RBL in 2012, the Superdry brand has expanded rapidly in India.

‘Considering the backdrop of a growing Indian economy, a growing population of affluent shoppers, and ever-increasing apparel consumption rates, the Superdry brand in the market has attractive potential.

‘As the leading fashion retail operator in India, RBUK is best placed, through a majority IP ownership stake, to maximise the opportunity.’

Ex-crypto king Sam Bankman-Fried goes on trial for ‘biggest fraud in history’

Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial kicked off yesterday in what has been dubbed as a ‘watershed’ moment for the world of crypto.

The disgraced tycoon, who founded cryptocurrency exchange FTX in 2019, is facing trial for alleged financial crimes stemming from the collapse of the business in November last year.

Tesco lifts profit forecast

Tesco has raised its full-year profit guidance after Britain’s biggest retail enjoyed a better-than-expected first half and easing levels of cost inflation.

Ken Murphy, chief executive, said:

‘Our investments in value, and in improving more than 1,100 own brand products from pasta to fresh fish, are helping us to offer outstanding quality at great prices, all underpinned by market-leading availability.

‘Customers are responding well, contributing to market share gains in store and online. We’re seeing the results at both ends of the basket, with strong growth in our Finest range as shoppers look to save by treating themselves at home, voting with their feet as they switch from premium retailers to Tesco.

‘This relentless focus on customers, combined with significant cost reductions from our Save to Invest programme, has driven our strong performance in the first half of the year. Food inflation fell across the half and while external pressures remain, we expect that it will continue to do so in the second half of the year.

‘We are in a strong position to keep investing for customers, and will continue to lower prices wherever we can – doing everything in our power to make sure customers can have a fantastic, affordable Christmas by shopping at Tesco.’


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