Monday, January 14: Given the crunch week for Brexit bringing the topic back to the forefront, the FTSE was unsurprisingly pushed lower to begin the week. We will try and leave the current parliamentary ‘pickle’ out as much as possible, as we’re sure that we’re all in the same well-informed but utterly perplexed boat. Fears stemming from a Chinese slowdown didn’t help matters either, as the FTSE 100 closed the day -0.99%, following earlier heavy losses for the Hang Seng of 1.59%.
Chinese exports saw their biggest fall for two years in December, down 4.4% compared to the corresponding period last year. Imports saw a 7.6% decline. Front loading from Chinese companies ahead of US tariffs also saw the trade surplus with the US hit a record high. A slowdown for the world’s second largest economy poses numerous issues, and some firms have already directly cited that the slowdown is directly attributable to China, although some analysts believe it could also be an easy scapegoat opportunity.
Back in London, it was another busy day for company updates, with another raft of consumer facing businesses reporting on mixed fortunes. JD Sports continued their strong performance, providing a rare guidance upgrade for British high-street names. JD continues to be the standout high-street name able to hold its own both online and in bricks & mortar. Shares edged back slightly through the day and closed 6.3% higher.
Goals Soccer Centres saw shares fall 16% today after a profit warning, citing slower than expected growth in the US and higher costs of sales arising from efforts to boost ancillary revenues from an enhanced food and beverage offering and investments in the centres themselves. Ultimately they have also failed to turnaround after a slow start to the year because of factors like the ‘Beast from the East’ and seemingly everyone choosing to watch the football rather than play over the summer.
Also delivering a profit warning today was Revolution Bars Group. Full year earnings are expected to b £12m, which is a £3m decline on the year. They have mentioned of good performance over the Christmas period but their new CEO relates the issues to the core Revolution brand. It is clear that the bars are looking to catch up to millennials who demand a different offering to nights out, with it apparent that a few mystery vodka shots on a wooden tray not substantial enough nowadays. Shares closed 21.2% lower.