Wednesday, 24 April: A mixed Asia session overnight led to a muted open in London on limited news flow. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq reached all-time highs yesterday, although the momentum from earnings season in the US couldn’t be carried over to global equity markets. The main London index fell in to the red at the open, where it stayed for the duration, closing -0.68%. After the UK parliamentary Easter break, Brexit rumours were once more circulating. It seems a vote may have been happening as early as next week to try pass through Brexit legislation, with PM May keen to get things wrapped up before the May 22nd European Parliamentary elections.
It’s not all too often we see strong UK performance from retailers, but this morning, both Boohoo and Primark (through its AB Foods parent name) did just that. The former, although not on the high street itself, reported overall revenue growth of 48%. Pretty Little Things drove performance with revenue growth of 77%, while group margins continued to improve. The new CEO has taken the reigns as the group look to expand international. Primark, ever the more present on the UK high street, more recently opening its biggest ever store in Birmingham, has recorded a 25% gain in half year profit, although much of this has been attributed to a weaker US dollar. Primark sales rose 4.4%, with like-for-like sales (stripping out new stores) falling 1.5%. As a group, AB Foods has been impacted by global sugar prices, with Primark providing the tailwind to improving results. Shares of each group rose on the back of results; Boohoo the bigger gainer of the two, rising 10.28% at the close on the junior AIM market. AB Foods on the FTSE 100 closed +2.04%.
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