Updates from Greggs and Greene King


The FTSE 100 ended Friday at 6,426.4, -0.25% lower but still almost 150 points up on the week overall. Capita was the day's biggest riser, up +2.72% while miner Eurasian Natural Resources sank -6.82%, partly due to disappointing US economics data.

Overnight, the Nikkei is -0.30% down at 13,884 while the Hang Seng slips -0.22%.

This morning, a roster of updates from household names: first off, a pre-close update from Greene King for the full year to 21 April. Retail like-for-like (LFL) sales climbs +2.2% with like-for-like food sales are up +2.7% and room lfl sales up +3.1%. Average EBITDA per pub in Pub Partners is up +4.6% after 48 weeks.

In Brewing & Brands, performance of the portfolio improved, despite a subdued broader market. In the UK ale market, core brand own-brewed volumes were up +0.8% after 51 weeks. Greene King shares currently sell at 711p, having ranged from 470p to 746p in the last 12 months.

"Our strong retail brands and South East bias," says Greene King, "has driven another year of LFL sales growth and margin expansion. Easter was particularly strong this year. We sold a record 700,000 meals over the four-day period and delivered LFL cover growth of +5.2%."

Next, an interim from baker Greggs. Total sales for the 17 weeks to 27 April 2013 grew +3%, driven by new shop openings and continued development of wholesale and franchise sales. Wholesale and franchise sales climbed +2.9% to overall sales growth.

However like-for-like sales in shops for the 17 weeks to 27 April 2013 were -4.4% lower, impacted by the grim weather in January and March. The most recent two weeks indicate an underlying rate of like-for-like decline of around -1.5% reflecting in part the beginning of the weaker comparisons seen last year, the company claims.

"Although we are only four months into the year," says the company, "based on current own shop like-for-like performance we believe that profits for the year are likely to be slightly below the lower end of the range of market expectations."

Lastly, infrastructure player Balfour Beatty says its UK construction business is expected to deliver significantly lower profits from operations for 2013 than management's expectations at the time of full-year numbers in March. The remainder of the business remains on track in aggregate however.

Market conditions which deteriorated significantly in the second half of 2012 continue to be difficult says Balfour Beatty. Change in procurement trends, which it has previously highlighted, have persisted, allowing customers to impose increasingly stringent conditions onto contractors it says.

"The combination of these factors is expected to reduce management's 2013 full-year expectations for profit from operations in the UK Construction business as a whole by about £50 million," says the company. "Andrew McNaughton, CEO, has started implementing an immediate action plan, taking charge of the UK construction business personally, to address the operational issues."