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(Sharecast News) - General retailers led a band of not so merry sectors lower on Thursday, while the food-focused side of the high street was one of the best performing areas.
Halfords and Card Factory tipped the retail scales back into the red after some optimism earlier in the week that maybe things hadn't been so bad over Christmas.
The bikes and motor accessories retailer slid more than 20% lower as it warned that underlying pre-tax profit for its current financial year would be lower than it had recently guided, at between £58m and £62m.
Card Factory slumped 14% as it reported a 0.5% decline in like-for-like sales over Christmas and warned that the coming period would be "another difficult year".
Shares in Marks & Spencer, meanwhile, had an up and down day as investors were not sure what to make of its update as it maintained full-year guidance but posted a 3.9% decline in third-quarter group total revenue to £3.04bn.
Lee Wild, head of equity strategy at Interactive Investor, said: "Cautious consumers, mild weather and an uninspiring offering across clothing and food haven't helped. But a new management team packed with quality and experience has at least made a start on fixing this iconic firm lost for years in the retail wilderness.
"A 2.4% decline in like-for-like Clothing & Home sales during the 13 weeks to 29 December looks bad, but many had expected worse, and it is less than the 2.8% drop this time last year. A 4.8% slide in total sales reflects store closures. Encouraging here is the 14% growth in online sales, although there is clearly much more that could be done here.
"There are no bells and whistles here. The numbers don't look great, but it could have been worse. Crucially, there are no shocks, and a lot of bad news is already priced in."
Elsewhere, B&M European Retail Value slipped into the red despite third-quarter growth remaining solid.
Leading the grocers higher, market leader Tesco reported sales growth that exceeded the market and analysts' forecasts. Group sales swelled 0.5% in the third quarter ending 24 November and 1.5% in the six-week festive period to 5 January, giving 19-week growth of 0.8%.
Top performing sectors so far today
Electricity 7,023.09 +2.33%
Food & Drug Retailers 3,639.85 +1.50%
Forestry & Paper 19,937.03 +1.43%
Tobacco 30,391.25 +0.98%
Gas, Water & Multiutilities 4,731.61 +0.97%
Bottom performing sectors so far today
Leisure Goods 7,719.47 -3.73%
General Retailers 2,030.68 -1.65%
Automobiles & Parts 6,978.73 -1.08%
Personal Goods 34,997.97 -0.92%
Real Estate Investment Trusts 2,687.46 -0.87%
FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,943.39 0.53%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,452.06 0.21%
techMARK (TASX) 3,410.59 0.49%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Fresnillo (FRES) 948.20p 2.91%
SSE (SSE) 1,154.50p 2.71%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,064.00p 2.22%
Sage Group (SGE) 622.20p 2.20%
Tesco (TSCO) 216.40p 2.17%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 54.84p 1.92%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 4,276.00p 1.86%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 270.48p 1.84%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 355.20p 1.81%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 277.10p 1.65%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
BHP Group (BHP) 1,616.60p -5.32%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,743.00p -2.63%
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 6,580.00p -2.37%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 591.80p -1.47%
Kingfisher (KGF) 227.30p -1.43%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,940.00p -1.41%
Next (NXT) 4,797.00p -1.15%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,245.00p -1.01%
Hiscox Limited (DI) (HSX) 1,563.00p -1.01%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 323.40p -0.98%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 289.80p 7.97%
FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 829.00p 5.87%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 176.50p 4.07%
Man Group (EMG) 141.70p 3.77%
Aveva Group (AVV) 2,654.00p 3.75%
Premier Oil (PMO) 78.95p 3.75%
Clarkson (CKN) 2,385.00p 3.47%
Genus (GNS) 2,364.00p 3.41%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 121.65p 3.40%
Just Group (JUST) 96.80p 3.20%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Halfords Group (HFD) 219.29p -21.29%
Card Factory (CARD) 165.50p -14.95%
Ted Baker (TED) 1,960.00p -7.55%
Rathbone Brothers (RAT) 2,310.00p -7.00%
Merlin Entertainments (MERL) 325.90p -5.40%
Softcat (SCT) 668.00p -3.75%
Games Workshop Group (GAW) 3,105.00p -3.42%
Intu Properties (INTU) 108.10p -3.27%
Avast (AVST) 299.10p -3.16%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 872.00p -2.79%
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