November 11: Travis Perkins profits warning
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The best news story today is the severe profits warning from Travis Perkins, the builders’ merchant and DIY group. Its error, it seems was to have bought Wickes home-improvement chain it bought in February in a switch of strategy towards the high street. Great timing. The Wickes sales figures are truly shocking: go here for the gory details. Travis shares are off about 10 per cent. MFI Furniture is off a full 15 per cent on the news and Kingfisher also declined.Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of Easyjet and Easy just about everything else. It is 10 years ago this week since he founded his airline, which, with Ryanair, has probably done more for European unity than anything else over the last decade.
I know there is a huge amount of spin and hype around the Stelios and Easy brands but it’s hard not to admire such an entrepreneur on the eve of Enterprise Week, which begins next week. We’ll be carrying masses in the paper and online throughout next week. We’ll kick off with Sir Digby Jones, CBI director-general and one of the key supporters of this UK-wide initiative, taking the helm as guest editor on FT.com for a day.
We’re also going to do more on New Star’s float. I know we and all the other papers have given this relatively small new issue an awful lot of acreage recently but I think it’s a company that touches a large number of us all. It also involves interesting people whom many of us can relate to well. So, in addition to reporting on today’s first day of unconditional dealing, we are running a piece from Kate Burgess and Rob Budden about New Star’s stars and whether they’re as hot as they think they are. Plus we’ll carry a little sidebar from me on my very odd night out in a bus with John Duffield, checking his advertising posters are hung up the right way round. The stock is off a touch today but is up more than 16 per cent since conditional trading began this week.
Lots of speculation in the market about a bid for Stagecoach, whose stock is up more than 5 per cent. We’re chasing.
I’m also very interested in the Gadget Shop battle in the High Court involving Jon Wood of UBS, Sir Tom Hunter and Freeserve founder Peter Wilkinson. The language has been, er, colourful and the stories about each other quite eye-popping. We also have some very good pics. We’ll bring you up to date on any of the details you might have missed this week.
PartyGaming is buying a couple of its partners for $14.5m cash. They are Multipoker and (most of) IntertopsPoker.
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