What to watch: Hammerson and Superdry woes, Moonpig IPO, and AO's bumper sales

Oscar Williams-Grut and Tom Belger
·4 min read
FOR STORY BY SYLVIA HUI - BRITAIN LUXURY GOODS CHINA - Shoppers at Bicester Village designer outlet centre, in Bicester, England, in this photo dated Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Chinese customers have become a powerful market force in the global trade in expensive clothes, jewelry, watches, perfumes and handbags, but nobody knows how the recent turmoil in Chinese financial markets will impact on the sales of designer brands.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Shoppers at Bicester Village designer outlet centre, in Bicester, England. Photo: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Here are some of the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and around the world:

Hammerson’s rent collection woes

Retail landlord Hammerson (HMSO.L) is struggling to collect the rent as lockdown bites.

Hammerson, which owns destinations including Bicester Village retail hub, said it had collected just 41% of first quarter rents due across its portfolio. Collections for last year’s rent still stands at only 75%.

“Market conditions have remained challenging since our last update in October, with national lockdowns introduced in the UK, Ireland, and France in November, and significant restrictions in place across the portfolio through December,” the company said.

Shares were up 0.4%.

Superdry warns lockdown casts 'significant doubt' on its future as sales plummet

Fashion retailer Superdry (SDRY.L) sounded the alarm on Tuesday as COVID-19-related lockdowns hit its sales.

It reported a wider first-half drop and a significant drop in sales from its Christmas quarter as stores faced up to new restrictions.

The retailer said the virus, coupled with weak consumer demand, meant "a material uncertainty exists and may cast significant doubt on the group's ability to continue as a going concern and, therefore, that it may be unable to realise its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business."

Shares dropped by nearly 8% at market open in London, recovering slightly to trade at around 7% lower shortly after.

Moonpig confirms £1.2bn IPO plans

Online greetings card retailer Moonpig Group confirmed it is going ahead with its £1.2bn ($1.6bn) IPO on the London Stock Exchange (LSE.L), amid an acceleration in online shopping as the coronavirus pandemic forces people to stay at home.

CEO Nickyl Raithatha said that “as leaders of a market undergoing an accelerating shift online, we're delighted to bring Moonpig Group to the public market.”

He added that the company has a strong track record, and a huge opportunity to grow.

Funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, and Dragoneer Global Fund II have entered into cornerstone agreements with Moonpig to subscribe for £80m and £50m of shares respectively.

The offer will be comprised of a secondary offer of existing shares to be sold by certain existing shareholders and a primary offer of new shares to be issued by the company.

Sales surge at online household goods retailer AO World

Online electrical retailer AO World (AO.L) said it saw a significant increase in demand for its products amid the coronavirus pandemic, experiencing its “strongest ever peak trading period” in the 2020 holiday season.

However, the company, which said it incurred higher costs due to operational challenges amid other problems, saw its shares plunge roughly 6% on Tuesday morning.

In the three months to 31 December 2020, the firm said it recorded year-on-year UK revenue growth of 67.2% to £457.3m ($622m) and of 77.4% to €73.6m (£65.5m, $89m) in Germany.

CEO and founder John Roberts, said: "I believe we've seen ten years of change in ten months.”

Stocks rise as Janet Yellen says US must 'act big' on stimulus

European stocks rose and US stocks looked set for gains on Tuesday, after incoming Treasury secretary Janet Yellen said the US had to “act big” on stimulus measures.

With interest rates at historic lows, president-elect Joe Biden’s nominee will make the case for the new administration’s planned $1.9tn (£1.4tn) spending package. The former Federal Reserve Chair is due to appear before lawmakers for her virtual confirmation hearing in the afternoon.

"The damage has been sweeping, and as the president-elect said last Thursday, our response must be too," she was expected to say in remarks released in advance to multiple outlets.

European stocks started the day in the green. The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) rose 0.6%, the DAX (^GDAXI) gained 0.4%, and the CAC (^FCHI) was up 0.3%.

US markets also looked set for gains. S&P 500 futures (ES=F) were up 0.7%, Dow futures (YM=F) up 0.6%, and Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) 1% higher.

Asian stocks had risen overnight, with economic confidence continuing to grow after better-than-expected GDP data in China on Monday.

MSCI’s Asia-Pacific index rose 1.6%, close to record highs, according to Reuters. Japan’s Nikkei (^N225), which is not included on the index, pushed 1.4% higher.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index (^HSI) surged 2.7%. Shares in China itself dipped however with the country grappling with its worst COVID-19 outbreak since early 2020, after outperforming the region on Monday.

The Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) lost 0.8%, and the Shenzen Component (399001.SZ) lost 1.7%.

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