Hugo Boss Q4 Sales Rise

Shares of Hugo Boss AG (HUGSF.PK) were gaining around 3 percent in the early morning trading after the German luxury fashion brand reported Tuesday higher sales in its fourth quarter.

Looking ahead, Mark Langer, Chief Executive Officer of HUGO BOSS, said, “We are convinced to grow sustainably and profitably in 2019 and beyond. The new year will entirely be focused on the execution of our business plan until 2022.”

Fourth-quarter Group sales, on a preliminary basis, grew 7% to 783 million euros from last year’s 735 million euros. Sales increased 6% in local currencies.

Both own retail business and the wholesale business recorded significant growth. Adjusted for currency effects, sales in the Group’s own retail business grew 4% both on a comp store basis and in total, despite the prior year’s high comparison basis.

Currency-adjusted comp store sales in own retail business in Europe and in the Americas grew at a mid-single digit and low single digit rate, respectively.

The company’s own online business climbed 37% currency-adjusted in the fourth quarter, thus at a solid double-digit rate for the fifth consecutive quarter. Sales in the wholesale business increased 15% in local currencies.

Hugo Boss will publish its final results for 2018 and its financial outlook for the new fiscal year on March 7. On the day before, the Supervisory Board will resolve upon the dividend proposal for fiscal year 2018.

In Germany, Hugo Boss shares were trading at 59.84 euros, up 3.07 percent.

William Hill Sees Lower 2018 Adj

William Hill PLC (WMH.L) said that it expects adjusted operating profit from continuing operations for 2018 to be 234 million pounds, about 15% down on 2017. This is in line with guidance, which was for 2018 operating profit to be in the range of 225 million pounds – 245 million pounds. Underlying operating profit increased 4% year on year, excluding the impact of enhanced customer due diligence measures in Online and US Expansion costs.

Overall the US business broadly broke even in 2018 after allowing for significant expansion costs. Retail profits reduced year-on-year, challenged by wider high street conditions, the company said.

Philip Bowcock, CEO, said, “…. In 2019 we will remodel our Retail offer while building a digitally-led international business, underpinned by a sustainable approach as part of our Nobody Harmed ambition. With rapid expansion underway in the US, building on profitable foundations, and the acquisition of Mr Green nearing completion, we look forward to making further progress this year.”

The Group’s 2018 final results will be announced on 1 March 2019.

On 31 October 2018, William Hill , through a controlled affiliate William Hill Holdings Limited , announced a recommended public cash offer to the shareholders of Mr Green & Co AB (publ) to tender all their shares in MRG to William Hill. The shares in MRG are admitted to trading on Nasdaq Stockholm, Mid Cap.

William Hill noted that the Offer has been accepted to such extent that William Hill following completion will hold approximately 92 per cent of the shares and votes in MRG. William Hill extends the acceptance period for the Offer to and including 31 January 2019, to allow for remaining shareholders to accept the Offer based on this new information.

Ryanair’s shares touch four-year low on fresh profit fears

Shares in Ryanair sank below €10 for the first time in four years yesterday after the airline issued its second profit warning in three months.

Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier now expects its full-year profit to be between €1bn and €1.1bn, compared to a previous estimate of between €1.1bn and €1.2bn.

It has blamed winter fares that are expected to fall by 7pc – more than three times the 2pc decline it had originally pencilled in.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary said the airline was “disappointed” with the lower profit guidance and warned that the carrier couldn’t rule out another cut if there are “unexpected Brexit or security developments which adversely impact yields between now and the end of March”.

He has also insisted that the tough winter trading period will result in a shake-out in the European airline sector, especially among smaller rivals. “We believe this lower fare environment will continue to shake out more loss-making competitors, with Wow, Flybe, and reportedly Germania for example, all currently for sale,” said Mr O’Leary.

Iceland’s Wow Air has tried to grab a share of the low-cost transatlantic market by using Reykjavik as a hub for travel between Europe and North America. A planned sale to bigger rival Icelandic recently fell through, with Bill Franke’s Indigo Partners then coming to the rescue. Indigo plans to take a 49pc stake in Wow via a convertible loan.

UK carrier Flybe is being acquired by a consortium that includes Stobart and Virgin Atlantic, whilst Germania is also looking for a buyer amid financial difficulties, it’s been reported.

Scandinavia’s Norwegian Air has also been wrestling with financial woes. Norwegian has also announced plans to close bases in top tourist destinations such as Rome, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Palma, where, as Davy Stockbrokers pointed out, it had competed head-to head with Ryanair.

Mr O’Leary warned that while Ryanair has “reasonable visibility” over forward bookings for the period to the end of March, it can’t rule out further cuts to air fares and, or, lower guidance.

“There is short-haul over capacity in Europe this winter, but Ryanair continues to pursue our price passive/load factor active strategy to the benefit of our customers who are enjoying record lower air fares,” he said. The airline will fill its planes at whatever price it needs to sell tickets to do so.

While Ryanair recently reported that its total passenger traffic for calendar 2018 was up 8pc at 139.2 million, the pace of growth was slower than the 10pc it notched up in 2017, and the 17pc advance recorded in 2016.

Ryanair shares fell 5.2pc before closing up slightly.