Associated British Foods, owner of affordable clothing retailer Primark , said its retail sales for the six months to March 3 are expected to be 15% ahead of last year, with like-for-like sales up 2%.
The update comes a month after AB Foods reported an 'exceptional' Christmas at Primark's 232 stores, with trading much improved on a sluggish autumn. Nevertheless, City analysts were expecting more from the retailer, as their estimates stayed quite higher than these figures. Sales between September and February grew by 2 per cent, excluding store openings, which is lower than last year’s 3 per cent growth. Following the market´s sentiment, shares at AB Food dropped 19p to 1200p soon after posting the report.
Still in London some retailers gained ground within the FTSE 100, led by Burberry Group PLC, which climbed 1.4%. Next announced Tuesday it will be reporting Full Year figures on 22 March.
In Italy, Luxottica saw its shares closing in Milan on Tuesday up 1% to EUR25.56. They have risen 18% in 2012. Strong proprietary margins offer another case to buy the stock, said Citigroup's Baragiola, who has a EUR27 target price and a buy rating on Luxottica, MarketWatch. In the same vein, analyst Fred Speirs said that the strong U.S. dollar helped at the end of 2011 and “should act as a significant tailwind" this year if it persists, especially if sales continue their pace so far in 2012 and U.S consumer confidence remains resilient. Luxottica also said it expects net wholesale revenue in North America to grow by more than 15% this year, while rising 5%-7% in the retail division.
Finally, Spanish owner of Zara, Inditex, closed in red Tuesday, dropping by 0.12% in a day that saw analysts at Goldman Sachs withdrawing the stock from their favorites’ list.