The year-end trading statements are starting to flow now, with about 16 issued this morning. So I will review 4 or 5 that look the most interesting to me, with a small cap and retailing leaning.

Allocate Software (LON:ALL)

Allocate Software (ALL) has an unusual 31 May year-end, so their H1 trading update this morning relates to the 6m to 30 Nov 2012. They say that H1 is in line with expectations, but split between a slow Q1 and a "much stronger" Q2. The outlook statement is pretty upbeat, so might be worth a closer look? Although with 5.5p EPS forecast for 2012/13, a share price of 78p prices it on a PER of 14.2, which doesn't excite me. As a value investor I'm looking for decent growth and a PER well below 10.

Majestic Wine (LON:MJW)

Majestic Wine (MJW) shares have done very well, rising 4-fold in the last 4 years. Their Xmas trading statement is pretty solid - total sales up 5.1%, with like-for-like ("LFL") sales up 1.1% for UK stores.

 

(Explanation of "Like-for-like" (LFL) sales - this is a method of reporting sales, used particularly by retailers, which shows the underlying performance of the business. So it strips out any newly opened or closed stores, and only reports on the stores which have been open for the full period both this year, and last year. Therefore the total % LFL change in sales gives the most meaningful figure to judge performance on. So in the example above, Majestic Wine achieved +1.1% LFL sales in their shops which were open both last year and this year. However, total sales for the whole business rose 5.1%. This indicates that they have opened new stores equating to 4% additional sales (so 1.1% LFL + 4% new stores = 5.1% total sales growth).


There is no reference to profit vs expectations, but given that Xmas trading was slightly ahead of the year-to-date (they report 0.8% LFL sales growth for the 39  weeks to 31 Dec), then one assumes they are in line with expectations. But this should have been made clearer from the RNS.

Interestingly, Majestic do note that many shoppers left purchases to the last…

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