Superdry, Kier, Domino’s and other news
The board of struggling fashion brand Superdry (SDRY) came out fighting with a scathing statement rebutting claims made by charismatic co-founder Julian Dunkerton as he bids to return to the business.
Currently led by chief executive Euan Sutherland, the board said its strategy was working and argued Dunkerton’s return ‘in any capacity’ would be ‘extremely damaging to the company and its prospects’.
Further down the statement, the board claimed institutional shareholders had voiced strong support for the current strategy and management team and insisted none of them had indicated to the board any support for Dunkerton’s return to Superdry.
Accounting mis-steps dominated the agenda for two companies this week but with very different outcomes. On 11 March construction outsourcing group Kier (KIE) got a bashing from the market, wiping out nearly all of its year-to-date gains to trade at 435.4p, as it revised its year-end net debt upwards.
The negative market reaction was unsurprising given the company had launched a heavily discounted £264m rights issue in December
which it promised would address balance sheet issues.
On 12 March shares in recruiter Staffline (STAF:AIM), which had been suspended pending an investigation into payroll and invoicing practices, rallied 25% to 838p in relief as the issues were revealed to be relatively minor.
Amid share price volatility, takeaway firm Domino’s Pizza (DOM) ultimately received a positive response to its full year numbers. Problems in its international business had already been well flagged and despite a 24% drop in pre-tax profit to £61.9m investors were prepared to focus on CEO David Wild’s guidance for continued growth in the UK in 2019 and an improved performance from its overseas arm.
More positively, on 7 March baker and food-on-the-go retailer Greggs (GRG) unveiled a 10% increase in full-year profit and sales of £1bn for the first time in its history. The results were boosted by publicity around its vegan-friendly sausage rolls.
The company also promised a special dividend payment in July along with a 10% rise in its ordinary dividend.
Average sales at new shops opened last year were above expectations and this year has started well with like-for-like revenues up nearly 10% despite lower footfall on the high street.