Good morning! They are not small caps, but as regulars know I take a keen interest in retailers, having been FD for a ladieswear chain in the 1990s, so I shall briefly peruse the results from Home Retail (HOME), ASOS (ASC), and Sports Direct (SPD). Also, they are good barometers for the health of consumer spending/confidence, so of wider interest. Here's an instant reaction to each;

 

Home Retail (LON:HOME) - Interims to 31 Aug 2013 - "good first half" with positive LFL* sales growth (2.3% at Argos, and 5.9% at Homebase). Margins are wafer thin though, with only £27m profit on £2.6bn of turnover, although their financial year is weighted towards H2. Impressive growth in sales via mobile devices. Very strong Bal Sheet, including £412m net cash. £1.5bn market cap at 184p per share. Vague but positive-sounding outlook statement. Fwd PER is 19, so not cheap, but strip out net cash & storecard debtor book, and arguably it's still reasonable value, especially if they out-perform against forecasts.

 

Sports Direct International (LON:SPD) - Trading update. Good grief, I had no idea these shares had reached 714p, that's a market cap of £4.3bn! Also on a forecast PER of 20, so not cheap. They are trading very strongly, with group sales up 15.1% for the 9 weeks to 29 Sep 2013. Trading in October has "remained strong", and they are confident of meeting EBITDA target of £310m.

 

ASOS (LON:ASC) - Final results for the year ended 31 Aug 2013. We all surely know this is going to make a spectacular short at some point, but when? I'm very tempted to open a short in it now. At £53.83 the shares are on a fwd PER of 83.9 times earnings, according to Stockopedia. That's just ridiculous - a market cap of almost £4.5bn. Sales grew 39% to £769m, and Profit before tax & exceptionals was up 23% to £54.7m. Diluted underlying EPS was up 24% to 49.2p. So put that on a PER of say 25, and you would have a share price of £12.30, which would be reasonable. The actual share price is over 4 times that! It's the international sales that the market is so excited about, as…

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