It was go time for Watches of Switzerland shares today, with the group soaring a quarter higher after revealing resilient results and raising its sights for the rest of the year.
The retailer rose 86.5p to 420p after raising its guidance, following booming sales since the start of the quarter. The FTSE 250 group said revenues for the first 10 weeks of its second quarter (from the start of August) were 20.2pc higher than 2019 on a constant-currency basis.
Its performance in the UK “continues to be driven by strong domestic sales offsetting lower tourist and airport business”, it said. It now expects revenues of £880m to £910m for the full year, up from previous estimates of £840m to £860m.
Net debt is expected to be slightly lower than anticipated, at £80m to £100m versus an earlier estimate of £90m to £110m.
Chief executive Brian Duffy said: “Stronger than anticipated UK domestic sales are offsetting lower tourist and airport traffic, whilst regional stores are continuing to outperform London stores. Furthermore, the strong momentum we have established in the US has further accelerated. All US regions are contributing to this positive trend.”
Shore Capital’s Greg Lawless said the results showed demand for luxury watches “continue to outstrip supply”. He said its management was responding well to developing circumstances.
The jump left Watches of Switzerland as easily the biggest mover on London’s main market.
On the FTSE 100, Rolls-Royce rose the most in six months, climbing 26.6p to 150p, as the engineering group continues to woo investors ahead of a long-anticipated equity raise.
The blue-chip index as a whole was flat throughout the session, despite rises for many of the year’s most neglected sectors – including aviation and hotels.
Ocado was the biggest faller, dropping 237p to £24.31 through a combination of profit-taking by investors and concerns over reported allegations by Norwegian rival AutoStore that it infringed on the group’s patents. Ocado has said it will investigate any claims once it has received details.
The FTSE 250 outperformed its blue-chip index and European markets, climbing solidly amid gains for aviation-linked groups such as easyJet, Meggitt and Tui.
WH Smith climbed 85p to £10.26 amid rising investor enthusiasm over the travel sector, while Cineworld enjoyed something of a bounce, closing up 2.6p at 27.8p, after heavy losses on Monday.
Trading platforms took a knock after the Financial Conduct Authority announced a ban on sales of certain cryptoasset-linked derivatives to retail investors, citing risks with the products. IG Group fell furthest, down 30p to 795p, while CMC Markets and Plus500 dropped 4p to 350.5p and 48.5p to £15.24 respectively, despite analysts saying none of the groups faced particular exposure to the ban.