Apologies for running late today. I'll be updating this page between 1pm and around 3:30pm today.
I've been nominated for small cap journalist of the year again. However, thinking about it, I've found the previous years' judging to be so haphazard, bizarre even, that for me the whole thing lacks credibility. Therefore it doesn't interest me at all.
Readers here constantly tell me that they value my work, and it's helped them make money (and avoid losses), which is all that matters to me.
Let's start with an update from yesterday;
Bonmarche Holdings (LON:BON)
Share price: 81.5p
No. shares: 50.0m
Market cap: £40.8m
Trading update - 53 weeks ended 1 Apr 2017. Note the elongated period, which will flatter results versus the previous year.
The following table is presented for Q4, and the full year's sales;
This shows a clearly improving trend in Q4, with LFL+online sales up 0.7% in Q4, against a total for the whole year of minus 3.8%.
However, there's a problem with this table - it's not actually Like-For-Like (LFL) sales at all! As they admit below the table, this is comparing 53 weeks this year, with 52 weeks last year. Clearly that is not a LFL comparison. So why on earth was this published, when it's clearly misleading?
As noted previously, FY17 includes a 53rd week to align our reporting year-end more closely with our accounting reference date of 31 March. To aid comparisons with FY16's 52 week reporting period, we also include below the corresponding FY17 figures for the 13 and 52 week periods ended Saturday 25 March 2017:
So here are the proper figures, which are on a LFL basis (i.e. comparing periods which are the same duration);
As you can see, there's a significant deterioration when the correct prior year comparison periods are used. Instead of +0.7%, the Q4 sales are now -1.1%.
Note how there was strong growth in online sales in Q4, at +14.8%, which is encouraging. Although this doesn't move the dial much overall, because online sales are still a fairly small part of the total. An older, value-orientated customer base, is not likely to be as receptive to shopping online (especially on smartphones) as younger demographics. So I'm not sure how much opportunity BON…