Finance Friday – Sainsbury’s benefiting from Argos purchase, HSBC pre-tax profits & significant improvement for Shell

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Sainsbury’s 12.7% increase in sales


Sainsbury’s full year results show a 12.7% increase in group sales, driven by the impact of bringing Argos into the group. On a like-for-like (LFL) basis, Sainsbury sales declined 0.6%, with market share falling 0.23 percentage points, despite its investment in pricing and transaction numbers growing.

Despite the positive contribution from Argos, group profit before tax fell 8% to £503m as retail conditions remain difficult. The shares dipped 2.4% on the news.


HSBC’s has announced a 12% rise in adjusted pre-tax profits to $5,937 million in its Q1 2017 results. Reported profits fell by 19% to $4,961 million, which the bank attributed to accounting changes. Asia was the main driver of performance, with adjusted profits rising 25% from $3,437 million to $4,307 million year on year.


Morrisons has released a trading statement showing that in the 13 weeks to 30 April, group like-for-like (LFL) sales excluding fuel were up 3.4%, with Retail contributing 3% and Wholesale 0.4%. The shares rose 1.8% on the news.


A significantly improved performance from the Upstream division led Shell’s profits up to $3.4bn, a 315% improvement on this time last year. The dividend is maintained at 47 cents a share. The shares rose 3% following the announcement.


Full price sales growth of -3% in Q1 is at the bottom end of Next’s previous guidance, as expected. Total sales, including markdowns, were down 2.5%. The group has narrowed its profit guidance for the rest of the year to the lower end of previous expectations. The shares fell 3.4% on the news.

Imperial Brands

Imperial Brands have once more raised their interim dividend by 10%, for the ninth year running and say they expect to continue their policy of 10% annual hikes out into the medium term. The shares were little changed on the news.

Direct Line

Gross written premiums from Direct Line’s ongoing operations were up 4.2% on a year previously, driven by a strong performance from the group’s own brand motor policies. The shares were broadly flat following the announcement.

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