Pick of the early market news
The FTSE 100 closed up 54 points at 5,157 last night, bucking the downward trend of the world's markets. Bank stocks were again under pressure, with Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland shedding value. Whitbread was the day's star performer, closing up 106p at £15.63 after a positive trading statement.
On the US Dow, though, there was more bleak news as the index fell 101 points to close at 11,139. The third consecutive trading day of losses meant this was the worst three-day start to September since 2002. The S&P 500 fell 9 points to 1,165, completing the worst start to a September in its history.
On the markets this morning, Sports Direct's interims showed total sales up 0.5% to £410m for the 13 weeks to 25 July. Retail sales rose 0.8% to £368m. But gross profit fell 5.7% to £174m and retail gross profit was down 6.6% to £156m.
The figures don't include sales from the new premium lifestyle division, and also need to be seen against the comparative period last year when the World Cup was in full swing. Chief executive Dave Forsey said the firm was "confident of reaching the full year targeted underlying EBITDA of £215m".
A trading statement from Dixons Retail shows total group sales down 1% and like-for-like sales down 7%. Chief exeucutive John Browett said: "This performance was in line with our expectations when compared with particularly strong trading last year as a result of the World Cup and launch of the iPad."
Thorntons unveiled its final results this morning, revealing revenues increased by 1.7% to £218.3m over the year. Pre tax profit was £4.3m, down on last year, but net debt was also down £1.5m to £24.5m. The board is recommending a final dividend of 0.25p, making the total for the year 2.20p.
Finally, an interim from fashion retailer Supergroup shows total sales up 66% to £54m in the three months to 31 July. Retail sales rose 51% to £34m while wholesale sales were up 98% to £21m. Chief executive Jim Dunkerton said: "Our domestic and international roll-outs are on track and we remain excited about the Group's future prospects."