Greencore Stuffed as Carnivores Poised for Costly Christmas Dinner

Tuesday, November 26: The FTSE 100(+0.09%) closed out the day marginally higher, lifted by mining, retail and industrial stocks, as hopes of a US-China trade deal continued to lift most major equity markets.

Pets At Home(+8.26%) led the FTSE 250 higher as the pet care retailer announced revenue growth ahead of the market for the HY period and guided underlying pretax profit towards the top end of market forecasts for the full year.

Greencore(-2.59%) saw intraday losses despite lifting its final dividend as the food producer announced revenue declines for FY2019 and the departure of Chief Operating Officer Peter Haden at the end of the year. The FTSE 250 Group made a pretax profit of £56.4m for FY19, compared with a £17.8m profit for the same period a year earlier. The convenience-food business said its financial targets for FY2020 are to deliver mid single-digit organic revenue growth and high single digit adjusted EPS growth. On the back of positive guidance for 2020, the board has proposed an interim dividend increase of 11.3% to 6.2p.

Those of us not of a vegetarian or vegan persuasion are in store for a more expensive Christmas dinner this year. Fewer turkeys have hatched after high summer temperatures reduced egg yields. This, combined with many producers opting to rear chicken instead of turkey has led to accelerated inflation in the turkey market. The bad news doesn’t end there. Wet weather & floods have impacted supplies of Brussels sprouts and potatoes, whilst pork is expected to be more expensive following a large cull of pigs to control African Swine fever. Business consultancy CGA compiles a monthly Foodservice Price index and notes food & drink prices have gone up by 6.77% in the last twelve month; four times that of the official CPI read of 1.5% as measured by the ONS.

European equities were mixed at the close, with the FTSE 100 +0.09%, the CAC 40 +0.08% and the DAX 30 -0.08%.

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