Updates from Wetherspoons and Sainsbury's
Elsewhere, the Dow Jones breached the 15,000 mark for the first time thanks partly to resilient Germany factory numbers while the Nikkei 225 climbed +0.78% to 14,291.
%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%The big story this morning is Sainsbury's. Pre-tax profits slip -1.4% to £788m for the year to 16 March 2013 while sales including fuel climbed +4.5% to £23.3bn. Sainsbury's boss Justin King has also confirmed a deal with Lloyds to take full control of Sainsbury's Bank.
Basic earnings per share climb +1.9% to 32.6 pence (2011/12: 32.0 pence) while Sainsbury's are claiming more than £100 million in operational cost savings. There's an improved underlying operating margin by 2 bps to 3.56 per cent (2 bps at constant fuel prices).
"Whilst we see no near term change in the current economic situation," says King, "we remain confident that by continuing to invest in our long-standing strategy and by understanding and helping our customers, we are well positioned for future growth."
Secondly, an interim from InterContinental Hotels. The hotel operator claims "solid trading" with global Q1 RevPAR (revenue per available room) growth of +3.1%, driven by +2.0% average daily rate growth. The shift in timing of Easter from April into March adversely impacted RevPAR in the quarter the company says.
Q1 European RevPAR was down -2.2%, in part due to Easter. Asia experienced growth in the quarter, with RevPAR up 5.5%. Southeast Asia and Japan remained strong with high single digit RevPAR growth, whilst Australasia RevPAR growth of just +1.4% reflects "more challenging conditions".
"Our high quality pipeline," said the company, "broad geographic spread and fee based model give us confidence for the year ahead, despite the challenging economic conditions and trading is on track to deliver full year results in line with expectations."
Lastly, an interim from Wetherspoon. For the 13 weeks to 28 April 2013, like-for-like sales increased +6.3% and total sales increased +9.3%. In the year to date (39 weeks to 28 April 2013), like-for-like sales increased +6.7%, and total sales increased +10.1%.
The pub player says it expects lower like-for-like sales in the final quarter of this financial year than for the year so far, given last year's final quarter like-for-like sales of +6.1%. The operating margin, in the 13 weeks to 28 April 2013, was 8.5%, compared with 8.3% in the first half of the current financial year.
The company continues to aim for a reasonable outcome in the current financial year, it says, but reiterated its resentment of the VAT disparity between supermarkets and pubs and "the continuing imposition of stealth taxes such as the late-night levy and increased fruit/slot machine taxes."