Good morning, it's Paul here.

Please see the header above for the list of companies that have caught my eye on my first sweep of the RNS.

Estimated timing for today's report: should be finished by about mid-afternoon. I thought I had a lunch meeting, but just realised that it's been moved to another date, so I've actually now got plenty of time free today to focus on the report here.

Laura Ashley (ALY)

Share price: c.1.8p at close, last night
No. shares: 727.8m
Market cap: £13.1m

Final results - 52 weeks to 30 June 2019

I won't spend too long on this company, as I appreciate that a lot of readers are (very sensibly!) not interested in struggling retailers.

With a market cap down to only £13m, I see the outcome here being binary - either it's heading for 0p and a CVA/pre-pack, like plenty of other retailers. Or, it might be able to survive in slimmed-down size, and online. There's also an interesting angle on the new tea shops being opened, and expansion into China (where I understand traditional British brands are attractive to consumers). Therefore, it's either a wipeout for shareholders, or potentially a multibagger from this level in the unlikely case of things working out well. I suppose a third possibility here might be that the wealthy Malaysians who control the company, might decide to take it private. At what price level, who knows? Bidders for struggling retailers don't tend of be generous - e.g. lowball bid for Bon Marche recently, after that quickly unravelled. The high fixed cost base of retailers means these companies can go wrong very quickly, if they get the fashion products wrong, on top of declining footfall. Higher staffing costs are also killing retailers which might have otherwise survived.

These numbers look pretty bad to me. Key points:

Revenues down nearly 10% to £232.5m (nearly 3% below consensus forecast of £239m)

LFL retail sales down 3.5% - which masks a sizeable difference between fashion (doing well, up 9.2% on a LFL basis), and home furnishing, down an unspecified amount, but it must be a lot. Measures are being taken to improve home furnishings product.

eCommerce sales are also down, which is blamed on technology re-platforming. The drop of 14.2% is very poor - I look for strong eCommerce growth as a key element in considering whether to…

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