Stores shares were down slightly compared with the previous week, when they had advanced following the dramatic events and reams of interim results from major retailers.
Overall, though, there was a positive response for many of those reporting results.
Shares rallied at Morrisons after it revealed its third-quarter interim sales last week, assuring brokers of its resilience in a competitive grocery market.
Shore Capital advised hold, as did Panmure, which said: “We believe Morrisons will trade its way through the current price skirmish, given its sold value-for-money credentials”. Bank of America Merrill Lynch recommended buy: “A strong price image, differentiated fresh offer and lack of exposure to non-food is helping Morrisons outperform today, but with plenty of further initiative to help sustain growth in the future.”
Analysts said that Majestic Wine showed remarkable resilience despite stiff competition from the grocers. Investec maintained its buy recommendation after the specialist retailer’s interims exceeded expectations. Collins Stewart also recommended buy. But despite the retailer’s strong overall performance, all brokers highlighted Majestic’s current weak trade, which it attributed to two disappointing weeks in October. This led Espirito Santo to adopt a neutral stance, with some analysts questioning whether its recent sales slump coincided with a major Waitrose promotion.
But Espirito Santo remained positive: “Majestic has an excellent track record of delivering and the move to a six-bottle minimum buy (from 12) has, in our view, increased the company’s addressable market over the longer term.” This was echoed by Collins Stewart: “There is no other wine retailer with such a wide range, scale and differentiated positioning in the UK.”
Burberry released interim results on Tuesday. Shares fell, but Angela Ahrendts and her team continue to appease analysts and successfully allayed concerns raised over inventory levels.
Investec said the strong interims were in line with expectations and reiterated its buy recommendation: “We are reassured that management are cognisant of the risks of a global slowdown, but continue to invest sensibly for longer-term growth opportunities”. Burberry also remained on Seymour Pierce’s buy list: “Burberry has excellent strategic growth opportunities in a luxury market with strong long-term growth credentials.”
Despite being one of the biggest share risers of the week, Game issued an unscheduled update that was brought forward owing to worse than expected trading. Singer anticipated “significant downgrades to consensus and losses” for the year end to January 12.