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What to Watch: Boohoo sales jump, Pendragon dives on profit warning, and CEO changes at Saga and Reckitt

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
A shopper walks pass advertising billboards for Boohoo and for 'Pretty Little Things', a Boohoo brand, at Canary Wharf DLR station in central London, Britain, September 17, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/James Akena

Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:

Boohoo sales jump

Online fashion retailer Boohoo’s (BOO.L) profits jumped by 39% to £254.3m in the first quarter.

UK sales rose by 27% in the three months to May 31 and international sales surge 56%. The core Boohoo brand notched up a 27% leap in revenues, with growth of 42% for PrettyLittleThing and 153% for Nasty Gal.

The buoyant first-quarter performance means it remains on track for group revenue growth of 25% to 30% over the full year, it added.

John Lyttle, chief executive of Boohoo, said: “The group has made a strong start to the year as we continue to disrupt and capture market share in the UK and internationally across all our brands.”

Pendragon dives on profit warning

Shares in car dealership Pendragon (PDG.L) were down 25% on Wednesday after a profit warning.

Pendragon warned it expects a small annual loss amid a tough market and “internal operational challenges”. The group said it is set to be “significantly” loss making in its first half, before returning to profit in the final six months.

Mark Herbert, chief executive of Pendragon, said: “Notwithstanding the challenging market and uncertain macro outlook, the expected loss for the year is still disappointing.

“That said, we see significant addressable opportunities to improve the business and return to profitable growth.”

CEO changes at Saga and Reckitt

Over 50s insurer Saga (SAGA.L) and consumer giant Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L) have both announced changes to their leadership.

Saga has announced that its chief executive Lance Batchelor is set to leave the firm, months after it posted a troubling profit warning.

In April, the over-50s travel and insurance company warned over profits for the coming year amid an overhaul to return to growth, sending shares down by more than a third.

Meanwhile, Reckitt Benckiser, which owns brands such as Cillit Bang and Durex, has announced the appointment of Laxman Narasimhan as its new chief.

Narasimhan will take over as chief executive officer from departing boss Rakesh Kapoor in September 2019.

Topshop empire hangs in the balance

Sir Philip Green is hoping that creditors will approve the rescue package for his ailing Arcadia empire in a second vote on Wednesday, even as the company’s biggest landlord, Intu, signalled that it would oppose the plan.

Arcadia has repeatedly warned that it is “highly likely” it will be forced to go into administration if all seven of its proposed company voluntary agreements are not approved, something that could happen as soon as Wednesday evening.

European markets lower on trade war fears

European markets are lower amid continued trade tensions between the US and China.

“Trump continued to mess with the minds of investors, saying that unless China goes back to the previously agreed deal, he has ‘no interest’ in settling the trade dispute and that it is him who is ‘holding up’ the agreement,” Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at SpreadEx, said.

Britain's FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was down by 0.3%, Germany's DAX (^GDAXI) was down by 0.4%, France's CAC 40 (^FCHI) was down by 0.4%, and the Euronext 100 (^N100) was down by 0.4%.

Asian markets were also hit overnight. Japan's Nikkei 225 (^N225) closed down by 0.3%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index (^HSI) was down by 1.8%, and China's benchmark Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) was down by 0.5%.

What to expect in the US

US stock futures were pointing to a lower open.

S&P 500 futures (ES=F) were down by 0.2%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F) were down by 0.2%, and Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were down by 0.4%.

Companies reporting later in the US today include: