|Bid||0.00 x 37900|
|Ask||0.00 x 75600|
|Day's range||262.40 - 271.45|
|52-week range||197.25 - 317.45|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||0.63|
|PE ratio (TTM)||27.41|
|Earnings date||11 Mar 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||3.35 (1.26%)|
|Ex-dividend date||10 May 2019|
|1y target est||198.06|
(Bloomberg) -- The International Monetary Fund reiterated that it sees a rebound in global growth this year, despite risks of a further spread of the coronavirus that has now killed 2,010 and infected 75,286 people around the world.Iran said that two elderly patients died, the first fatalities, and the U.S. issued a travel watch for Hong Kong after a second patient died there.China said it’s considering further measures to shield its economy from the outbreak, including cash infusions and bailouts for the struggling airline industry. The government is planning to take over HNA Group Co. and sell off its airline assets after the virus hampered the debt-loaded conglomerate’s ability to meet financial obligations.As more people are encouraged to stay at home, a growing number of Chinese private companies have stopped paying staff completely.Key DevelopmentsIran reports first deaths from coronavirusChina nears takeover of troubled HNAMiners advance in bet on rebound in China metals demandChina death toll hits 2,004; 74,185 confirmed casesClick VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the novel coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here.CDC Warns Travelers to Hong Kong (4:20 p.m. NY)The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned travelers to Hong Kong to be prepared for the novel coronavirus after a second person there died from the infection.The agency put in place a level 1 travel notice for Hong Kong that advises visitors to avoid contact with sick people and to wash their hands often to avoid contracting the virus, which is spreading there from person-to-person.The CDC has level 4 advisory for China’s Hubei province, the center of the outbreak, which means no one should travel there. The rest of mainland China is level 3, meaning people should avoid non-essential travel.Two Iran Patients Die: Report (11:37 a.m. NY)Two Iranian citizens who tested positive for the coronavirus have died, a Health Ministry official told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency, the country’s first fatalities from the outbreak.The patients were elderly residents of the the city of Qom, said the news agency, about 100 miles (150 kilometers) south of Tehran.China Said to Near Takeover of HNA Group (9:45 a.m. NY)China is planning to take over HNA Group Co. and sell off its airline assets after the coronavirus outbreak hit the indebted conglomerate’s ability to meet financial obligations, according to people familiar with the plans.The government of Hainan, the southern island province where HNA is based, is in talks to take control of the conglomerate, which has been shedding assets after a global buying spree left it with one of the highest levels of corporate debt in China, the people said. The airline assets could be taken over later by other local companies, they said.China’s Central Bank Expects ‘Limited’ Virus Impact (8:41 a.m. NY)The People’s Bank of China acknowledged the downward pressure facing the economy and said the impact of the outbreak would be “short-lived” and “limited in terms of time and scope.”It called for a “rational view” on the economic impact of the virus and said it’ll work to promote consumption and investment to boost domestic demand, according to a quarterly monetary policy report.IMF Sees Global Economic Rebound Despite Virus Threat (8:30 a.m. NY)Worldwide economic growth is expected to “moderately strengthen” this year, according to the IMF, despite the Washington-based lender warning that the coronavirus is one of the main risks that could derail that outlook.Russia Exports to China Slump, Indonesia Spending Hit (6:24 a.m. NY)Russia’s exports to China dropped by almost a third in the first six weeks of the year as the spread of coronavirus sapped demand in the world’s second-biggest economy. Separately, Indonesia’s revenue and spending fell in the first month of the year and the country’s finance minister warned of more risks to economic growth.Macau Says 29 of 41 Casinos to Reopen Feb. 20 (5:32 p.m. HK)Twelve casinos remain suspended. Reopening involves 1,800 gaming tables, which is less than 30% of the original number.Adidas, Puma Say Coronavirus Pummeled Demand in China (5:02 p.m. HK)Adidas AG and rival Puma SE said business in China was pummeled by the coronavirus, which forced the German sporting-gear companies to shut stores.China Says Virus Spread Possible Via Aerosol in Confined Space (4:48 p.m. HK)It is possible to catch the novel coronavirus if exposed to highly dense aerosols in a confined environment for a long time, China’s National Health Commission said.Chinese Oil Refineries Deepen Run Cuts (4:09 p.m. HK)Chinese refineries are throttling back production even further to cope with weak demand and a lack of workers due to the coronavirus, and are now processing 25% less oil than they were last year.No Wages for Chinese Workers (2:50 p.m. HK)A growing number of China’s private companies have cut wages, delayed paychecks or stopped paying staff completely, saying that the economic toll of the coronavirus has left them unable to cover their labor costs. To slow the spread of the virus, Chinese authorities and big employers have encouraged people to stay home. Shopping malls and restaurants are empty; amusement parks and theaters are closed; non-essential travel is all but forbidden.Glovemaker Increases Debt Sale (12:54 p.m. HK)The world’s biggest glovemaker got a vote of confidence from investors in the credit market, as the spreading coronavirus fuels demand for the Malaysian company’s rubber products. Top Glove Corp. sold 1.3 billion ringgit ($313 million) of Islamic notes, more than its planned offering of 1 billion ringgit.All Negative for Westerdam Passengers (12:19 p.m. HK)All remaining 781 passengers of the Westerdam cruise ship moored in Cambodia have tested negative for coronavirus. Holland America Line, which owns the vessel, made the announcement, citing the Cambodian Ministry of Health.Japanese Efforts Criticized (12:15 p.m. HK)As Japan began releasing passengers from a stricken cruise ship anchored off Yokohama, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criticized the Japanese government’s quarantine efforts, saying they may not have been sufficient to prevent transmission of the coronavirus aboard the vessel.The CDC said in a statement Tuesday there may be additional virus cases among the remaining passengers, as the rate of new infections presents an “ongoing risk.” It said passengers and crew are prevented from returning to the U.S. for at least 14 days after leaving the ship.APEC to Discuss Impact of Coronavirus (11:30 a.m. HK)Senior officials of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Secretariat will discuss the impact of the coronavirus in the next few days, said Michael Chapnick, direct of communications and public affairs. The Secretariat sees the outbreak as “a challenge for the region” as they prepare to host meetings in Malaysia this year.Hong Kong Reports Second Death (11:05 a.m. HK)A 70-year-old male who had been diagnosed with coronavirus died this morning at Princess Margaret Hospital, a spokesperson for the hospital said by phone. He had underlying illnesses and had a day trip to mainland China on Jan. 22. Local news site HK01 reported the death earlier this morning.China Mulling Airline bailout (11:01 a.m. HK)China is considering measures such as direct cash infusions and mergers to bail out an airline industry crippled by the virus outbreak, according to people familiar with the matter. One proposal involves allowing some of the nation’s biggest carriers -- which are controlled by the state -- to absorb smaller ones suffering the most from the collapse of travel, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information hasn’t been discussed publicly. To read full story, click here.Cruise Passengers Begin to Disembark (10:10 a.m. HK)Passengers finally began leaving a cruise ship that has been quarantined off Yokohama, Japan, the NHK reported.Many of those who leave the ship will be subject to another 14 days of quarantine once they return home. All passengers are set to leave the Diamond Princess cruise between Wednesday and Friday. About one in seven people aboard became infected, with 542 people confirmed to have contracted the virus as of Tuesday.To read full story, click here.Taiwan Extends Hong Kong Tour Suspension (10:05 a.m. HK)Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau said suspension on group tours to Hong Kong and Macau will be extended to April 30 from original schedule of March 31. Taiwan had earlier barred entry for all residents of mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. Taiwan had also halted all passenger flitghts to China except for those to and from the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and Chengdu.Gauging the Damage From the Virus (10 a.m. HK)U.S. corporations are rushing to assess the impact on their business from the coronavirus infection spreading across China. Bloomberg economists reviewed all mentions of the coronavirus for S&P 500-listed firms - a total of more than 150 companies with a combined market cap of $9 trillion - and found that 56% of them said it was too early to gauge how the virus might play out. Another 36% said it would have an effect, but likely limited. Only 5% anticipate a severe blow. But the harsh reality on the ground in China points to a different conclusion - so companies and investors may be in for a nasty shock.To read the full report, click here.South Korea Confirms 15 More Cases (9:30 a.m. HK)The Korea Center for Disease Control & Prevention confirmed 15 more cases of people with coronavirus, 13 of them in Daegu city, southeast of Seoul. Eleven of the newly confirmed cases were linked to a patient that tested positive yesterday, the CDC said. The Kyungpook National University Hospital in Daegu has been asked to close down its emergency room after at least one patient in the facility was found to have been infected.\--With assistance from Emi Nobuhiro, K. Oanh Ha, Adrian Kennedy, Adela Lin, Yudith Ho and Michelle Fay Cortez.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Jeff Sutherland in Tokyo at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Stuart Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Drew Armstrong at email@example.com, Chris Kay, Mark SchoifetFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Fears that the coronavirus could be a disaster for the global economy and a drumbeat of speculation over central-bank stimulus are driving another rally in precious metals.Gold surpassed $1,600 an ounce this week and is closing in on a seven-year high. Palladium climbed for a sixth day in the spot market, extending its record-breaking rally.“Gold is continuing to resist the firm U.S. dollar and appears to remain in good demand as a safe haven because of the Covid-19 virus,” Daniel Briesemann, an analyst at Commerzbank AG analyst, said in a note. “The madness on the palladium market continues.”The most surprising metal remains palladium, which rose as much as 8.4%. The metal used to curb emissions from vehicles rallied as the Chinese government pledged to stabilize car demand in the Asian country. Efforts to contain the coronavirus earlier prompted manufacturing shutdowns.Companies from Apple Inc. to Adidas AG are starting to account for the economic damage of the coronavirus, which has already killed more than 2,000 people. At the same time, traders are paying more attention to the possibility of central bank easing in the coming months.The Federal Reserve has said the effects of the virus have presented a “new risk” to the outlook and traders will study minutes from the latest meeting, due later Wednesday, for any hint of a dovish tone. Lower borrowing costs boost the investment appeal of precious metals that don’t offer yields.Palladium generated a 148% return in the past two years -- the biggest among the raw materials tracked by a DCI BNP Paribas gauge. Prices rallied as supply continued to trail consumption.“There is nothing on the horizon to change the direction of these shortages,” Neal Froneman, the chief executive officer of Sibanye-Stillwater Ltd., said at a presentation in Johannesburg, referring to palladium and rhodium.Stricter vehicle emissions standards are spurring more demand for the metals, which are used to clean car fumes, he said.In China, the world’s largest auto market, areas with purchase limits should be encouraged to soften curbs by increasing car plate quotas, according to an article by President Xi Jinping published in Communist Party-run magazine Qiu Shi on Sunday.Why Palladium Is Suddenly a More Precious Metal: QuickTakePalladium rose 1.9% to $2,678.03 an ounce at 1:53 p.m. in New York after reaching a record $2,849.61 earlier. For a second straight day, the metal’s 14-day relative index stayed above 70, a level seen by traders who study charts as a sign that the commodity is overbought and poised to decline. Futures settled 2.9% higher on the New York Mercantile Exchange.Tighter supply and China’s support for the auto sector “do not justify the renewed upswing in price in our opinion,“ Commerzbank’s Briesemann said.Spot gold advanced 0.5% to $1,609.05 an ounce. Futures closed 0.5% higher on the Comex in New York.\--With assistance from Eddie van der Walt, Felix Njini, Justina Vasquez and Yvonne Yue Li.To contact the reporters on this story: Lynn Thomasson in London at firstname.lastname@example.org;Ranjeetha Pakiam in Singapore at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Luzi Ann Javier at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Lynn Thomasson at email@example.com, Joe RichterFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
German sportswear makers Adidas and Puma have both warned that the coronavirus outbreak was hurting their business in China due to store closures and fewer Chinese tourists travelling and shopping in other markets. Adidas and Puma make almost a third of their sales in Asia, which has been a major growth market for the sporting goods industry in recent years. The region is also the main sourcing hub, with China a major producer for both companies.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Any new chief executive likes to make their own mark. For Patrik Frisk, who took the helm of Under Armour Inc. last month, there’s even more reason than most. While founder Kevin Plank has ceded the role of CEO, he’s staying around as chairman and brand chief at the maker of athletic apparel.At first glance, the surprise sales and profit warning that Frisk, who spent two-and-a-half years as chief operating officer, announced on Tuesday, looks like the last thing he would have wanted to unleash on investors during his first update. And that’s not all: Under Armour is also considering another restructuring,To be fair, some of the cut to revenue guidance is down to the coronavirus – a risk shared with rivals Nike Inc. and Adidas AG. But it is also due to a decline in sales in North America, where efforts to rein in discounting and concentrate on the style, fit and performance of apparel have taken longer to bear fruit. Profit estimates were also lowered: The mid-point of the $105 million to $125 million range would imply a halving of operating earnings from 2019, according analysts at Bernstein.The big downgrade is clearly unwelcome to investors, who may be forgiven for thinking they have been here before. The group has been restructuring, including cutting jobs, for the past three years. However, such a dramatic lowering of guidance does provides more leeway to try to fix the U.S. business, where more work is clearly needed, and potentially scope to outperform later on. There were some bright spots. Under Armour’s gross margin, which expanded by 1.8 percentage points in 2019, is forecast to widen by another 0.3 to 0.5 percentage point this year. Inventories are also falling, and the wholesale market is showing signs of stabilizing.Under Armour’s reduced outlook also paves the way for more cost-cutting. Taking an ax to expenditure could lead to savings of $30 million to $50 million in 2020, even though this could cost as much as $425 million in pre-tax charges. Of this, $225 million to $250 million relates to the possibility of foregoing opening a flagship store in New York. Pausing this project looks wise given the outlook. So Frisk may be erring on the side of caution as he takes the reins.But there’s still considerable uncertainty as to whether Under Armour’s strategy — focused foremost on performance rather than fashion — will pay off. Meanwhile, competition from Nike and Adidas isn’t getting any easier, with the latter pushing ahead with its collaboration with Beyonce. Add in a federal investigation into Under Armour’s accounting practices, and whether Plank will be able to relinquish some control and the outlook remains highly uncertain.After under-promising, Frisk has little choice but to over-deliver.To contact the author of this story: Andrea Felsted at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andrea Felsted is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She previously worked at the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- China’s consumer prices rose the fastest in more than eight years last month, with the outbreak of the coronavirus and subsequent shutdowns of transport links across the country making further gains in the coming months likely.Consumer prices rose 5.4%, with food prices jumping the most since 2008 in January. Even before the coronavirus, prices were likely to have risen sharply due to the normal spike in demand around the Lunar New Year and the effects of the African Swine Fever outbreak which has killed millions of pigs and damaged pork supplies. Pork prices gained the most on record.The dramatically worsening coronavirus situation in the last 10 days of the month exacerbated those factors and could prolong the high prices. That will not only hurt consumption domestically, but could push up prices globally, with extended shutdowns in China hurting supplies of various industrial goods and exported foods.“The virus outbreak has rewritten the supply and demand story in China, with supply staying at a relatively low level except for the medical sector and demand also falling,” said Tommy Xie, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp in Singapore. “Prices will likely continue to rise due to weak supply.”The fallout will also impact foreign companies with production or sales in China, and may well lead to rising prices for consumer goods in the U.S. and elsewhere if factories can’t restart soon.Apple Inc.’s main iPhone production partner has told employees at its Shenzhen facility not to return to work Monday when the extended Lunar New Year break ends, and its production resumption hinges on the government’s guidance.‘Nightmare’ for Global Tech: Coronavirus Fallout Just BeginningOther multinationals with footprints in China are already seeing disruptions. Nike Inc. closed about half of its company-owned stores in China and rival brand Adidas AG also said it has closed a significant number of stores in China, as a result of the outbreak, Bloomberg reported last week.The rise in CPI was mainly due to the Lunar New Year and the coronavirus epidemic, and also due to a lower base last year as the holiday was in February 2019, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.What Bloomberg’s Economists Say...“Looking ahead, CPI inflation is likely to be volatile. The impact of the virus could cause prices of food, such as vegetables, to rise further. On the other hand, it could reduce household demand, sapping inflationary pressures.”\-- David Qu, Bloomberg EconomicsClick here for the full noteChinese farmers are feeling the pain as authorities have ordered shutdowns and road blockages in various cities and areas in an attempt to contain the spread of the illness. Roads to transport animal feed and farm products were blocked, leaving farmers to watch their poultry starve and farm products go bad.Sun Dawu, founder of Hebei Dawu Agriculture and Livestock Group, wrote on Weibo on Jan. 30 that his company had to “dispose” of about 5,000 kilograms of fresh eggs and 40,0000 baby chickens on a daily basis, because “we aren’t able sell these, and even if we managed to sell to merchants, they dare not trade livestock.”“The animal feed and animal farming industries are about to get burnt,” he said in another post on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, on Feb 4.Right now the main problem his company is facing is road blockages, according to a company manager called Yang, who only gave his last name. “It has got better, but there are still some extremes cases where our trucks aren’t allowed to exit highways or enter villages,” he said Monday via phone.Blockages ForbiddenThe issue was so bad the Ministry of Agriculture was forced to intervene, last week ordering people not to intercept vehicles transporting animal feed and live animals, not to close slaughterhouses, and not to block village roads.Taobao, one of China’s biggest e-commerce platforms owned by Alibaba Group, has launched a campaign called “Foodies Help Farmers” to promote the sale of products from kiwi fruits to asparagus which have been disrupted. “Don’t let fruit and vegetables rot on the farms,” is the slogan.The faster inflation is benefiting some agricultural companies, at least in the short-term. The stock prices of Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co. and Heilongjiang Agriculture Co. both hit the 10% daily upside limit as of 11:14 a.m. local time, while Muyuan Foodstuff Co. jumped 8.2% and Wens Foodstuffs Group Co. climbed 5.5%.“After the virus is contained and lockdown measures are lifted, demand will likely recover more quickly than supply, which may be more or less delayed by a potential disruption of supply chains, resulting in rising CPI inflation,” Lu Ting, Nomura Holdings chief China economist, wrote in a report to clients last week.(Updates with impact on companies from fifth paragraph. The comment of an economist was corrected in an earlier version of this story.)\--With assistance from Tomoko Sato, Yinan Zhao, Miao Han and Ken Wang.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Lin Zhu in Beijing at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeffrey Black at email@example.com, James MaygerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
You can share your thoughts with Thyagaraju Adinarayan (firstname.lastname@example.org), Joice Alves (email@example.com), Julien Ponthus (firstname.lastname@example.org) in London and Danilo Masoni (email@example.com) in Milan. Many global retailers have come out with coronavirus warnings, shutting down some stores in mainland China, but there hasn't been much details on the financial impact.
You can share your thoughts with Thyagaraju Adinarayan (firstname.lastname@example.org), Joice Alves (email@example.com), Julien Ponthus (firstname.lastname@example.org) in London and Danilo Masoni (email@example.com) in Milan. Many global retailers have come out with coronavirus warnings, shutting down some stores in mainland China, but there hasn't been much details on the financial impact. For instance, Burberry today said 40% of its stores in mainland China are closed due to the fast-spreading virus but did not quantify the financial impact.
German sportswear company Adidas on Wednesday said it was temporarily shutting a "considerable" number of its stores in China due to the coronavirus outbreak. Adidas has about 12,000 outlets in China, including franchise stores. Adidas saw sales growth slow to 11% in China in the July-September period from 14% in the second quarter.
* European shares turn positive: STOXX 600 +1.2% * Profit warning hammers Imperial Brands shares * Reports on virus breakthrough lifts markets Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters. You can share your thoughts with Thyagaraju Adinarayan (firstname.lastname@example.org), Joice Alves (email@example.com), Julien Ponthus (firstname.lastname@example.org) in London and Danilo Masoni (email@example.com) in Milan. Many analysts are fuming at the apparent lack of rationality behind the market rebound and the fact we're basically back to where we were before fears that a deadly epidemic would disrupt Q1 growth in China and beyond rattled trading floors.
* European shares turn positive: STOXX 600 +1% * Profit warning hammers Imperial Brands shares * Reports on virus breakthrough lifts markets Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters. You can share your thoughts with Thyagaraju Adinarayan (firstname.lastname@example.org), Joice Alves (email@example.com), Julien Ponthus (firstname.lastname@example.org) in London and Danilo Masoni (email@example.com) in Milan.
GENEVA/BEIJING, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Thousands of passengers and crew on two cruise ships in Asian waters were placed in quarantine for China's coronavirus on Wednesday as airlines, carmakers and other global companies counted the cost of the fast-spreading outbreak. A multinational WHO-led team would go to China "very soon", it added. China said another 65 people had died in the previous 24 hours, in the highest daily total yet, taking the overall toll on the mainland to 490, most in and around the locked-down central city of Wuhan, where the new virus emerged late last year.
Adidas will launch new fabrics made from recycled polyester and marine plastic waste and expand the product lines that use them after the success of shoes made with the Parley for the Oceans initiative, the sportswear firm said on Tuesday. Adidas first teamed up with Parley in 2015 and gradually ramped up production of shoes using plastic collected on beaches and coastal regions to make more than 11 million pairs in 2019, still only a fraction of a group total of more than 400 million. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a charity that promotes shifting the economy to a circular model that eliminates waste, says less than 1% of material used for clothing is recycled, a loss of more than $100 billion worth of materials each year.
Adidas will start selling a new collection designed with singer Beyonce on Jan. 18 in a relaunch of her Ivy Park brand that includes shoes, clothes and accessories, mostly in maroon, orange and cream. Adidas described the collection, which features on the cover of January's Elle magazine, as gender neutral. It includes jumpsuits, cargo pants, hoodies and cycling shorts, mostly featuring signature Adidas triple-stripes.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Billionaire Mike Ashley has unpacked a haul of good news from his giant Sports Direct bag, the first investors in the sportswear-to-statement jacket empire have enjoyed for a while.After a dismal showing in July — when Sports Direct International Plc first delayed its full-year earnings statement, and then accompanied it with news it faced a surprise tax bill in Belgium potentially worth 674 million euros ($750 million) — the bar for doing better was pretty low.But the group seems to be stabilizing after the tumultuous period in the wake of its acquisition of the troubled House of Fraser department store chain in August 2018.For now, Sports Direct hasn’t split out House of Fraser’s sales and profits. Instead, the storied British chain has been lumped in with the premium lifestyle division, which includes the upmarket Flannels boutiques. In the half year to Oct. 27, the unit made a loss on an underlying Ebitda basis of 5.6 million pounds, compared with a deficit of 29 million pounds in the year-earlier period.This implies House of Fraser’s losses shrunk noticeably. Tony Shiret at Whitman Howard estimates the loss at about 10 million pounds, compared with 31.5 million pounds previously.This all led Ashley to declare “green shoots of recovery” at the department store. More importantly, he also had good news for the outlook. The company now expects full-year underlying Ebitda of between 356.4 million pounds and 390.3 million pounds. That’s up by between 5% and 15% — the range the company has historically targeted — from 339.4 million pounds in the year to April 2019, excluding House of Fraser.Ashley also provided reassurance on the Belgian tax bill, saying that it won’t be such a big problem after all, and should not lead to a material charge. Finally, a 120 million-pound sale and leaseback for Sports Direct’s Shirebook campus has helped to halve net debt, which had been ratcheting up.The shares rose as much as 27%. But investors shouldn’t get too ahead of themselves. First of all, there is still work to do at House of Fraser. While the group will move forward with a number of stores under the Frasers banner — also the new name for Sports Direct — more outlets will close. Sports Direct must also convince the luxury brands to back his Frasers vision, although this should receive a boost from the Flannels offering. Brands such as Burberry Group Plc were much in evidence at Flannels’ new flagship on London’s Oxford Street.While much attention has focused on House of Fraser, it and Flannels are still a small part of the group. It is the core Sports Direct sportswear stores that drive the performance. Here sales, excluding acquisitions, fell 8.6%, as Sports Direct took the division upmarket. Revamped stores are performing well, and selling more expensive items, together with less discounting, is bolstering margins. But the group can’t let up the pace of these refurbishments. Ashley will have to convince the big sportswear brands, Nike Inc. and Adidas AG to supply it with their hottest sneakers, just at a time when Nike is becoming more choosey about who it sells to.And let’s not forget the risk of impulsive action from Ashley himself. The strategy of taking advantage of others’ misery by acquiring brands to sell in his stores is a sensible one. But the dangers of overstretch, as well as unconventional corporate governance moves, are ever present.Compared to this time last year, Sports Direct has things under more control. Investors will be looking out to see if the same can the same be said of its unpredictable founder.To contact the author of this story: Andrea Felsted at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andrea Felsted is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She previously worked at the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.