Updates from Burberry, SuperGroup and Ocado

Adrian Holliday
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, Ocado, SuperGroup, Burberry
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, Ocado, SuperGroup, Burberry

The FTSE 100 gained 40.7 points on Tuesday, up 0.63% to 6,542.2. The main winners were Admiral Group, up 4.6% and Morrisons supermarkets (investor relief on the departure of ex-CEO Philips). BA owner IAG also surged, up 4.2% to 489.1p. Not so good news though for oil operator Tullow Oil, down 4.8% to 368.9p.

On the Continent the German Dax powered 1.6% ahead while the Dow Jones trod water, slipping 27 points to 17,613.6. That's the third consecutive trading day dip; Chevron tumbled 1.6%.

We slip on glad-rags first thing - Burberry claims a strong third quarter, with retail sales up 15% on an underlying basis to £604m. There's also double-digit growth in the Americas and the EMEIA it claims.

Asia Pacific delivered low single-digit percentage growth, primarily reflecting the disruption and democracy protests in Hong Kong, a high margin market, where comparable sales fell slightly in the period Burberry says.

"During the third quarter, we opened five mainline stores and closed four," says boss Christopher Bailey. "Openings included relocations in Beverly Hills and Tokyo, as well as our second dedicated beauty store globally, in Seoul, South Korea."

We stay with fashion with SuperGroup. Sales over the peak Christmas period saw total retail sales for the 11 weeks increase 17.8%. Like-for-like sales grew 12.4% against softer comparatives than the first half says SuperGroup.

The performance of e-commerce was also decent in the run up to Christmas. The Group's expected profit outcome for the full year is £60-£65m despite a weakening Euro and one of the Group's important wholesale customers heading for administration.

"Our upgraded infrastructure was tested to the full by Black Friday and in the busy lead up to Christmas and has proven to be resilient and effective," says SuperGroup.

Lastly, a rather terse update from online grocer Ocado. Gross sales for the 31 days of December were 14.8% up on last year it claims. On its biggest day leading up to Christmas, sales were nearly £6m, up over 15% on the previous year.

"In the seven days to Christmas," says boss Tim Steiner, "our Customer Fulfilment Centres processed nearly 40% more items for Ocado.com and Morrisons.com than over the same period last year, demonstrating the capabilities of our facilities."

However there's still some long-term doubt about Ocado's relationship with Waitrose. "The relationship between Waitrose and Ocado may return as a debating point in 2015," Shore Capital recently highlighted in ThisisMoney.

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