Pearson, Sainsbury’s, WPP and the week’s other big news
Academic publishing firm Pearson (PSN) earned a dunce’s cap from the market on 26 September. Its shares fell more than 10% to 740p as it warned earnings would be at the lower end of expectations thanks to weak sales to US universities.
Full year operating profit is expected to come in towards the bottom of the guided range of £590m to £640m.
The news suggests the structural problems caused by students transitioning away from expensive textbooks to finding materials online have not going away.
Rogers led the digital transformation at Sainsbury’s-owned Argos and previously worked as finance chief at the supermarket. He was seen as a future CEO candidate for the company.
He will now join WPP’s CEO Mark Read at the beginning of 2020, marking a full reset of the media group’s management since the departure of Martin Sorrell. The team may face pressure to ramp up the company’s recovery after a year of consolidation in 2019.
Also on 1 October, US plumbing products firm Ferguson (FERG) delivered a better than expected set of full year numbers thanks to keeping tight control on its purse strings.
In the words of broker Davy: ‘Ferguson’s results were slightly ahead of our estimates as management’s execution on cost delivered a strong margin performance. Trading remains subdued with organic sales up just 2.1% in the fourth quarter, not helped by continued weakness in Canada.’
There was no update on recently-announced plans for a demerger of its modest UK operations and a potential move of its listing to the US or dual listing.