Updates from Tesco, Burberry and Persimmon


The FTSE 100 got a 42-point jolt yesterday, slipping 0.64% in total to 6,541.6. Fresnillo and Rio Tinto took the biggest drops, down 3.32% and 3.10% respectively. G4S also fell heavily, down 2.98%. The biggest riser was Royal Mail, up 3.66% to 510p.

The Dow Jones though lifted 0.55% or almost 90 points to 16,262.5.

The main news this morning is a giant 6% fall in group trading profits to £3.3bn for Tesco. Like-for-like sales - which exclude the novelty effect of new, just-opened stores - fell by 1.4%. Tesco claims the final dividend will be kept at 10.13p.

Tesco's group trading margin was 5.17%, down 34 basis points. The grocer's net pension deficit after tax has also been upped sharply, from £1.8bn to £2.6bn, due to a reduction in corporate bond yields.

Chief exec Philip Clarke insists Tesco was being transformed "through a relentless focus on providing the most compelling offer for our customers. Our results today reflect the challenges we face in a trading environment which is changing more rapidly than ever before."

Next, a six month update from bags-to-macs fashion player Burberry. Total revenues lift to £1,298m, up 19% on an underlying basis. Retail revenues climb 13% to £928m with 12% comparable sales growth.

Digital, online sales "outperformed in all regions" claims Burberry. All five product divisions delivered double-digit percentage growth in mainline retail claims the company.

"While current exchange rates," acknowledged boss Angela Ahrendts, "are a material headwind in what remains an uncertain macro environment, our continued global brand momentum provides an excellent foundation for the future."

Lastly, FTSE 100 house builder Persimmon. Weekly private sales rate per site for the first fifteen weeks of 2014 was 25% ahead of the year before. Total forward sales revenue are 35% higher than in 2013 (£1.38 billion), claims the company.

Since the start of the new year cancellation rates over this period of 14% continue to run at historically low levels (2013: 15%), it claims. Persimmon have sold around 5,000 new homes to customers using mortgages with Help to Buy, of which 2,203 completed in 2013.

"We have 7,200 new homes," says Persimmon, "sold forward into the private sale market for 2014 which is 38% ahead of the same point last year, with an average selling price of £200,400 which is 3% higher."