Updates from Kingfisher, Sports Direct and Go-Ahead Group

The FTSE 100 yesterday climbed higher again yesterday, up 16 points to 6,395. Rexam was the Board's biggest climber, up +5.31% while RSA Insurance Group fell sharply, -14.16%.

However the Dow Jones saw a -0.77% fall yesterday, slipping to 13,927. Overnight, the Nikkei dipped markedly, down -1.39% to 11,309.
First off, B&Q owner Kingfisher. Underlying sales overall for the company declined in the last quarter with sales at stores open more than a year down -3.4% for the 14 weeks up to 2 February. Like-for-like retail sales at retail stalwart B&Q slipped -6.4% to £842 million.

However Screwfix total sales for the 14 weeks were £155 million, up 10.3% on a comparable 13-week basis, benefiting from the roll-out of new outlets. Another bright spot for Kingfisher was Russia: B&Q sales grew 20.4% to £102 million.

"We have had a tough fourth quarter," admits chief exec Ian Cheshire, "ending what has been a tough year impacted by unfavourable foreign exchange, particularly poor weather in the UK and weaker consumer confidence in our major markets."

Next, an interim from Sports Direct. Group sales for the 13 weeks ending 27 January 2013 climbed 21.1% to £589.5m (2012: £486.8m) while gross profits increased 22.7% to £244.8m (2012: £199.5m).

Sports Retail sales in the 13 week period increased 21.2% to £495.8m (2012: £409.0m), and Sports Retail gross profit increased 23.5% to £203.7m (2012: £165.0m), the company claims.

"The Group's strong performance," says boss Dave Forsey, "continued during Q3, primarily driven by our Sports Retail division, including online following the successful integration of our new operating platform. We are certain of reaching our 2013 full year targeted underlying EBITDA of £270m."

Lastly, train and bus operator Go-Ahead Group. Overall half-year results are in line with management expectations with "strong" bus operating profits of £37.1m, up 5.4%, despite significant fuel cost headwinds. The company says it's on track to meet bus operating profit target of £100m by 2015/16.

However pre-tax profits dip from £44.0m to £43.2m. Go-Ahead has maintained the half year dividend at 25.5p while overall expectations for the full year remain unchanged.

"Operations," says chief exec David Brown, "continue to benefit from our effective localised management structure and we have made good progress with our marketing plans, with over 120,000 passenger journeys a day now being made with our smartcard 'the key'. We continue to invest in our fleet and 100 new buses were bought."

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