You will have probably heard that this April was the warmest April on record. It is alleged to have helped Next to increased sales for Q1, which were up 5.2% on the previous year. As a result profit expectations are set around £535m-£585m which by my maths is a margin of £50m (nearly 10% scope) but hey, it’s only £50m and about £15m more than previously forecast. I bet they wish that they also sold BBQ sets.
Unilever sales grew by 7% to €10.9bn in Q1 but I doubt that they put this down to the warmer weather and more people eating Walls ice cream and taking a bath or shower…would they? Of course not, this is a global business, a warm April in the UK is decidedly small beer on a global basis with only 25% of revenue derived from Western European markets. Sales is of course only one aspect of good news, profit is the real litmus test.
The Oil spike has of course helped the fortunes of the Oil giants. Take Royal Dutch Shell who have announced a 41% rise in net profits for Q1 of $6.9bn against $4.9bn a year ago. Exxon announced a massive 69% increase in profits for Q1 at a staggering $10.7bn. This is of course good news for those that hold shares in the company, but may be more of an irritant to those that merely fill up at a forecourt.
Keeping with the car theme, Chrysler Group LLC reported a net profit of $116m for Q1, compared with a net loss of $197m a year earlier, due to the success of its newer models and the overall recovery in global demand for vehicles which saw them shift 60,000 vehicles. This is its first quarterly profit since it emerged from bankruptcy protection two years ago. This will be a big boost to Fiat who have increased their stake in Chrysler.
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