The steady output of trading updates from large UK firms will continue on Wednesday with updates expected from fashion giant ASOS as well as food delivery firm Just Eat and housebuilder Persimmon.
Other firms scheduled to update in mid-week include bookmaker William Hill PLC (LON:WMH) and recruiter PageGroup PLC (LON:PAGE), while US inflation data will provide some macro flavour.
ASOS hopes to stay in fashion
For ASOS PLC (LON:ASC), which is reporting a trading update ahead of its fast-fashion peers Boohoo Group PLC (LON:BOO) and Primark owner Associated British Foods PLC (LON:ABF) on Thursday, will be eyed for its performance over the crucial Christmas period, although according to Peel Hunt the performance for 2020 has never “been less relevant to the sector and share price outlook”.
“With few liquidity concerns, the profit and cash impact of November’s lockdown and Tier 4 restrictions should be bearable for most,” the City broker’s analysts noted.
“The key metrics aren’t so much December like-for-like sales, but rather customer relevance and market positioning.”
In this regard, ASOS has been delivering lower growth compared to its peers, a concern echoed by Liberum which stressed inventory skew over last quarter may not have been optimal, due to long lead times in wholesale, which may have resulted in too much occasion-wear relative to casual/loungewear, bringing risk.
Just Eat delivers trading update
Takeaway delivery app Just Eat Takeaway.com NV (LON:JET) is scheduled to update on its trading on Wednesday, however, investors may be more interested in how the company intends to cash in on the newest UK lockdown.
The company, perhaps best known for its Snoop Dogg-fronted commercials, was one of the main beneficiaries of the previous lockdown in March last year as consumers increasingly relied on delivery firms to keep themselves fed and watered while sheltering at home
With the latest round of restrictions very closely resembling the first lockdown, this trend is likely to be repeated, particularly following the company’s partnership with fast-food giant McDonald’s and bakery chain Greggs PLC (LON:GRG).
Order growth will likely be the key focus for investors in the update’s figures, as well as any updates on the company’s planned acquisition of US competitor Grubhub which is expected to complete in the first half of this year and will make the company the world’s largest online food delivery company outside of China.
Persimmon looks to build on strong trading
Meanwhile, FTSE 100 housebuilder Persimmon PLC (LON:PSN), which has been led by new boss Dean Finch since last summer, issued a slightly vague trading statement in November but still reported strong trading since the first UK lockdowns were lifted, with a third-quarter sales rate 38% ahead of 2019, though this was down from the 49% reported in August.
But Finch and the board remained resolutely bullish and recommended a second catch-up dividend payment of 40p a share, recouping the previously planned 110p-a-share payment for 2019 in full.
After completing 4,900 homes in the first half, against the previous full-year figure of 15,855, it will be interesting to see what the expectations are for this year.
Analysts are currently forecasting a drop in full-year pre-tax profit to £854mln from just over £1bn in 2019.
Significant announcements for Wednesday January 13:
Trading announcements: ASOS PLC (LON:ASC), Just Eat Takeaway.com NV (LON:JET), Persimmon PLC (LON:PSN), PageGroup PLC (LON:PAGE), William Hill PLC (LON:WMH)
Finals: Shoe Zone PLC (LON:SHOE)
Interims: Kromek Group PLC (LON:KMK)
Economic data: US inflation