TOP NEWS SUMMARY: UK Supermarket Sales Rose Modestly - Kantar

(Alliance News) - The following is a summary of top news stories ...

Alliance News 25 June, 2019 | 11:29AM
Email Form

(Alliance News) - The following is a summary of top news stories Tuesday.
----------
COMPANIES
----------
The UK grocery market recorded three years of consecutive sales growth, posting a modest 1.4% growth in the 12 weeks to June 16, data from Kantar showed. Kantar said the modest growth in the period was down to last year's bumper summer, which included soaring temperatures and the build up to the men's Football World Cup. However, it noted UK grocery sales have now risen each year since July 2016. German discounter Aldi attracted an additional 883,000 shoppers in the 12 week period, with sales up 9.3%. This helped the retailer to grow its market share to 7.9%, up by 0.5 percentage point on the year ago period. Rival Lidl also enjoyed another strong period, with sales up by 7.5%, lifting its market share to 5.7% from 5.4%. Among the big four UK retailers, Tesco saw flat sales in the period and its market share slipped to 27.3% from 27.7%. J Sainsbury recorded a 0.6% drop in sales, though halving the rate of decline it registered in May, and its market share shrunk to 15.3% from 15.6%. Asda's sales fell by 0.1%, though its online arm enjoyed double-digit growth of 10%. Asda's share of the overall market fell by 0.2 percentage point to 14.9%. Sales for Wm Morrison Supermarkets decreased by 0.5%, lowering its market share of grocery sales to 10.4% from 10.6%.
----------
Carpetright said its turnaround plan was on track after the troubled floor coverings retailer endured a challenging financial year, but was encouraged by a return to positive like-for-like sales growth. The company is in the midst of an emergency restructuring programme, which included closing a number of stores and entering into a company voluntary arrangement to cut rent costs. Carpetright said is on track to make annual savings of GBP19 million from the CVA outlined in June 2018, with 80 stores closed and 23 seeing their rents cut to zero. For the financial year ended April 27, revenue fell to GBP386.4 million from GBP446.3 million in 2018, while its pretax loss narrowed to GBP24.8 million from GBP69.8 million. Carpetright said it saw a significant improvement in trading in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter, with a return to like-for-like sales growth in the new financial year.
----------
Petrofac said it is trading in line with its guidance, although order intake has been hindered by "challenges" in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The company said its year-to-date new order intake is USD1.7 billion, declining from USD1.8 billion the year before. New order intake is made up of new contracts and contract extensions, as well as the increment from contracts of more than five years and net variation orders. This decline is attributed to difficulties in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. In February, the Uk Serious Fraud Office announced that Petrofac's former head of global sales, David Lufkin, had plead guilty to 11 counts of bribery relating to oil deals in the two countries. As at June 30, the oil and gas production and processing services firm's net debt is likely to be around USD100.0 million. As at December 31, the company had net cash of USD90 million. Petrofac said the change is due to " the reversal of temporary favourable working capital movements at the end of 2018", as well as dividend payment, tax, and the purchasing of treasury shares.
----------
Board members at Smith & Nephew have talked about moving the company's share listing to the US, the FT reported, in a bid to boost pay for Chief Executive Officer Namal Nawana. The FT reported "according to two people familiar with the matter", the company was considering the US listing in order to "narrow the gap" between Nawana's pay at his previous company Alere and his pay at Smith & Nephew. Nawana, who joined the medical device company as CEO in May last year, earned USD2.8 million for the seven months he headed Smith & Nephew in 2018, according to the newspaper. The FT pointed out that, at Alere, Nawana's pay package was USD8.6 million in 2016 and USD11.1 million in 2015.
----------
MARKETS
----------
London shares were lower after the US imposed sanctions on Tehran and the Iranian government said the measures spell the "permanent closure" for diplomacy between the two nations. Gold hit a six-year high overnight. Wall Street was pointed to a lower open.
----------
FTSE 100: down 0.2% at 7,402.01
FTSE 250: down 0.4% at 19,222.93
AIM ALL-SHARE: down 0.3% at 926.32

GBP: up at USD1.2755 (USD1.2729)
EUR: down at USD1.1380 (USD1.1393)

GOLD: up at USD1,428.50 per ounce (USD1,415.84)
OIL (Brent): firm at USD64.55 a barrel (USD64.25)

(changes since previous London equities close)
----------
ECONOMICS AND GENERAL
----------
Iran's foreign ministry condemned the fresh US sanctions on the country that target Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and several military commanders as well as Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif. "The useless US sanctions against the Iranian leader and our diplomatic commander (Zarif) have ultimately closed the path for a diplomatic option," Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi wrote on Twitter. US President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order imposing what he called "hard-hitting" new sanctions.
----------
The US and China's top trade negotiators spoke on the phone ahead of a planned meeting between the countries' presidents, state media said. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke on the phone with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday, news agency Xinhua reported. The call was held at the US' initiative, days before US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set to meet at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The meeting could determine whether the trade war ends or continues indefinitely. The US and China announced last week they have resumed talks, after negotiations to end the protracted trade war failed last month.
----------
US President Donald Trump said he received birthday wishes in "a very friendly letter" from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The president provided no other details when he mentioned the correspondence after a reporter asked him about North Korea during a question-and-answer session at the White House. Trump celebrated his 73rd birthday on June 14. It was unclear when Trump received the letter. The president reiterated that he believes North Korea "has a phenomenal future". The acknowledgement of the birthday letter comes a day after North Korean state news agency KCNA reported that Kim received a personal letter from Trump. What Trump wrote was not revealed, however Kim said it was "of excellent content," according to KCNA. Trump plans to travel to Seoul on Saturday for talks on North Korea's nuclear programme, the office of South Korean President Moon Jae In said earlier Monday. Trump will make the trip after attending the G20 summit in Japan.
----------
Copyright 2019 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Email Form
About Author Alliance News

Alliance News provides Morningstar with continuously updating coverage of news affecting listed companies.