Morning folks!

Busy morning for updates today. Thanks for your suggestions in the comments, I'm looking at the following (list is subject to change!)



Character (LON:CCT)

  • Share price: 452.5p (-0.3%)
  • No. of shares: 21 million
  • Market cap: £95 million

Trading Update

This is an AGM trading update, for the meeting at 11am.

Trading for the first four months of the financial year, i.e. from September to December, was in line with expectations.

As anticipated, the Toys R Us debacle had a negative impact on international trading. But domestic sales "continued to perform well".

If the company has performed fine on the domestic front during the period, that's encouraging, and better than I expected. November was supposed to have been a disastrous month for the industry here, so well done to Character if they managed to pull through it.

Indeed, the statement says that management "speedily and skilfully (sic)" addressed the changing conditions in the marketplace, so that there are "virtually no excess stocks to deal with in-house", and the major retailers "experienced a clean sell-through" of product.

From that wording, it does sound like there may have been build-up of excess inventory at some of the smaller retailers. But hopefully nothing too catastrophic.

I've noticed that some investors are a bit unhappy with executive compensation at Character. Today's statement could also be interpreted as presenting management's argument that their ability to control inventory is something that is worth paying for, in advance of the AGM.

The statement also reiterates the company's belief that while H1 this year will be tough, H2 will see the company return to its previous growth pattern, with the help of the new Pokemon range.

My opinion

I'd probably have marked the shares a little higher on today's news (which unfortunately was not released until just before the market opened).

The big fear was that H1 was going to be a catastrophe, and…

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