Brokers Landsbanki and Piper Jaffray were both bearish on Debenhams, advising reduce and sell respectively. Landsbanki said: “The group has embarked on a debt-reduction exercise, but high leverage and difficult markets argue for caution.” Piper Jaffray noted: “The£20 million of annual cost reductions is being implemented to try to offset inevitable downgrades.”
Kaupthing welcomed Marks & Spencer’s joint venture with Reliance Retail in India. The broker was a bull on M&S and said: “Our forecasts are now well ahead of consensus, primarily due to our expectation that M&S has made some gross margin gains, in part through food, but mainly non-food and especially clothing.”
The OFT is to pay Morrisons£100,000 plus legal costs after admitting that a press release issued as part of its dairy inquiry had contained inaccuracies about the grocer. Morrisons began defamation action in the wake of the release.
Buy N Brown, urged Shore Capital ahead of next Tuesday’s preliminary results. N Brown was one of the week’s biggest losers, caught up in the market’s backlash against home shopping counterpart Findel, which warned on profits after having to make increased provision against bad debt.
Shore said: “We do not pretend that N Brown is immune to wider consumer concerns. With apparently strong controls, a clear niche and a number of distinct earnings drivers, we remain confident that the business has potential to move forward this year.”
Shore was less keen on Game, expected to issue record results on Tuesday. Advising sell ahead of the numbers, Shore argued: “When the downturn does come – and we accept this is likely to be up to 12 months away – we believe the stock will suffer from both de-rating and downgrades.”
Confectioner Thorntons coped with an early Easter, notching up an 8.5 per cent total sales rise to£52.4 million in the third quarter. Own-store sales increased 5.1 per cent – 0.5 per cent like-for-like – to£33.8 million. Chief executive Mike Davies was confident that full-year results would be “satisfactory”.
Russian store group X5 Retail is raising US$1 billion (£504.6 million) in London with an offer of global depository receipts. It will use the cash to fund its acquisition of hypermarket business Karusel. Russian companies are increasingly accessing the London market – food retailer Magnit became the 100th to list on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday.