Updates from Sports Direct, Hargreaves Lansdown, Berkeley Group
Little changed overnight in Asia with indexes also dropping: the Nikkei closed down -1.03% and the Hang Seng -1.51% lower.
We start with Sports Direct - the company has clearly benefited from Olympics euphoria. Group total sales for the 13 weeks ending 29 July 2012 were up 25.3% to £519.0m (2012: £414.3m) and gross profit increased 20.4% to £211.1m (2012: £175.4m).
Sports Retail sales in the 13 week period increased 19.9% to £441.4m (2012: £368.2m), and Sports Retail gross profit increased 14.8% to £179.2m (2012: £156.1m).
"Our Retail performance continues to go from strength to strength," says chief exec Dave Forsey. "As we outlined earlier this year, our unrivalled depth and breadth of product combined with the continued investment in lowering prices to our customers is underpinning this performance."
Next, Hargreaves Lansdown. The financial player claims total assets under administration up 7% at £26.3 billion with revenue increasing 15% to £238.7 million. Profit before tax is up 21% at £152.8 million while operating profit margin climbs to 63.1%, up from 59.8% a year ago.
Net business inflows, says the company, were £3.2 billion "despite a difficult economic backdrop."
Its Board has upped the second (final) dividend to pay an ordinary dividend of 10.65p per share (2011: 8.41p) and an increased special dividend of 6.84p per share (2011: 5.96p). This makes the total dividend for the year 22.59p per share (2011: 18.87p).
Finally, an interim from Berkeley Group Holdings. Trading for the period has been in line with expectations. Market conditions remain resilient, the company claims. Berkeley's operational strategy to return £13 per share to shareholders by 2021 remains on target.
Berkeley has acquired three sites since the beginning of the year, predominantly on deferred terms, in Wapping, Hammersmith and Chiswick "and is on target to achieve its aim of growing the value of the potential gross margin in its land holdings to £3 billion by April 2014."