General view of a branch of WH Smith in London

WH Smith provided a positive trading update ahead of his peak summer. (Philip Toscano, PA Images)

WH Smith rose as much as 3% on Wednesday after providing a positive trading update ahead of its summer season.

The retailer said it was well-prepared for the peak summer holiday season as strong sales on its travel sites continued to offset sluggish trade at its high street arm.

The group posted a like-for-like sales increase of 4% in the 13 weeks to June 1, with global travel stores up 5% and its high street business down 1%.

However, sales at its travel shops located in railway stations, airports and hospitals around the world slowed to 15% in the first half.

Read more: FTSE 100 LIVE: European stock markets rise amid hopes of US interest rate cut

The company has opened five Toys R Us store-within-stores and is on track to open 25 more by the end of August. WH Smith also expanded its go-to dining boundaries by launching the brand new Smiths Family Kitchen across more than 300 sites.

In a statement, the group said: “The transformation of the business into a one-stop shop for travel accessories is delivering strong results, increasing average transaction values ​​and profitability.”

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 08: Nastassia Ivorskaya wears Fendi sunglasses, a black leather biker jacket by Zara Men, a gray H&M t-shirt, a gray shiny silk midi skirt, black tights, a hair pin / scrunchie during a street style fashion. .  Photo session, May 08, 2024 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Edouard Berthelot/Getty Images)PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 08: Nastassia Ivorskaya wears Fendi sunglasses, a black leather biker jacket by Zara Men, a gray H&M t-shirt, a gray shiny silk midi skirt, black tights, a hair pin / scrunchie during a street style fashion. .  Photo session, May 08, 2024 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Edouard Berthelot/Getty Images)

Inditex owns the clothing store Zara as well as other brands including Pull&Bear and Massimo Dutti. (Edward Berthelot via Getty Images)

Inditex, the owner of clothing store Zara, reported a recent increase in sales from its spring/summer collections, with quarterly results in line with expectations.

Sales rose 7% in the first quarter of its fiscal year, and rose 12% between May 1 and June 3 compared to the same time last year.

The company, whose brands also include Pull&Bear and Massimo Dutti, added that it expects negative currency movements to reduce sales this year by 2%, down from previous guidance for a 1.5% hit. is more

It is currently fending off stiff competition from rivals such as H&M and fast-fashion trends chasers, as well as fast-growing Chinese-owned online retailers Shen and Timo.

Xavier Brun, a portfolio manager at Madrid-based Trea Asset Management, which holds shares in Inditex, said Inditex was currently “competing with itself”, with last year’s strong performance making comparisons this year difficult.

Oil prices were hovering near four-month lows today, before recovering, on an expected increase in supply later in the year when OPEC+ begins to end production cuts.

Brent crude futures were up 26 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $77.78 a barrel this morning, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 24 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $73.49.

Both contracts fell more than 1 percent on Tuesday to their lowest settlement levels since early February, down nearly $3 a barrel on Monday.

This comes after reports of plans by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies to increase supply from the fourth quarter despite recent signs of a slowdown in demand.

“The picture of abundant supply at the moment is no doubt causing anxiety even among those not in the OPEC skeptic camp,” RBC Capital’s head of commodities research, Halima Croft, said in a market note.

It comes as three British energy companies have decided to delay by a year the planned start of oil production at their joint venture oil field in the North Sea.

Jersey Oil & Gas, which owns 20 percent of the Buchan field, 120 miles northeast of Aberdeen, made the announcement on behalf of the joint venture partners, which include Serica Energy and NEO Energy.

Bitcoin was back in the spotlight on Wednesday after the cryptocurrency broke above the $71,000 level and flirted with gains for a fifth consecutive session.

The move reflects greater confidence in global markets about the possibility of the US Federal Reserve cutting interest rates this year. It was also benefiting from higher inflows into exchange-traded funds holding the token.

However, on Tuesday, spot Bitcoin ETFs received inflows of $886.6m, according to crypto data firm CoinGlass. It was the best day of inflows since March and the second largest amount of inflows in a single day since the launch of spot ETFs earlier this year.

Traders are now pricing in a bigger chance of a Fed rate cut as soon as November, with data signaling U.S. inflation to moderate and a soft jobs market.

Some Treasury yields posted their biggest two-day drops of the year, easing financial conditions that could help speculative assets like crypto.

“Crypto assets are responding positively to rate cuts,” Tom Couture, vice president of digital asset strategy at Fundstrat Global Advisors, said in a note.

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