“Blue-chips edged lower with investors preparing for a week of key Christmas trading updates from the retail sector with Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco all due to reveal their figures,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.
“Mothercare’s shares plunged following a profit warning. UK like-for-like sales tumbled by 7.2% as the group decided to remain at full price to protect its brand positioning in the run-up to Christmas and then discount more heavily in the end of season sale. Mothercare has seen good progress with strong sell through rates on autumn/winter clearance lines but these carry lower margins and will lead to a further reduction in full year margin. Mothercare’s shares were down by more than 25.9% in early trading.
“Pawnbroker H&T was an early riser following a bullish update. The group expects full year profits to be ahead of market forecasts after a strong fourth quarter. H&T has expanded the range of its personal loan products and improved retail through the development of both click-and-collect and online sales. H&T’s shares were up by over 3.5%.
“Industrial LED lighting technology group Dialight was one of the top FTSE All-Share risers after Marty Rapp took over as chief executive. The group’s recent product delivery performance has been disappointing and Rapp’s prior experience, which includes a decade as CEO of Laird Technologies, is seen as being ideally suited to lead the group through its short-term difficulties. Dialight’s shares were up by more than 4.7%.”
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