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SUNDAY TIPS.

Byline: BILL GLEESON

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

CHOCOLATE company Thorntons is bucking the doom and gloom in the retail sector, last week reporting growth in like-for-like sales figures and reporting a better-than-expected near- 20% rise in annual pre-tax profits.

Recent product innovation and store revamps are helping Thorntons to tempt hard-pressed shoppers to treat themselves. Its soonto- launch Fusions range is being aimed at the upmarket sector, while recent addition Thorntons Moments is focused on attracting the family market.

Its efforts are also paying off, with shoppers seemingly prepared to pay more for their chocolate, as Thorntons has successfully passed on higher prices to help offset soaring costs of raw materials.

But there is more potential with the group, which aims to boost its store portfolio from 379 stores to 400 and increase its share of the UK chocolate market by more than half. At 127.5p, shares are a buy.

The Government's new energy saving plans signal good news for insulation specialist SIG. The group is the UK's largest distributor of insulation and the biggest "retro-fitter", cutting insulation to fit lofts and helping with installation.

Given Gordon Brown's push to help all households insulate their homes by 2020, this stands to benefit firms such as SIG significantly, and is certain to give it a significant boost in business over the next few years. Shares, currently 496p, are looking good value for the long-term investor.

THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

MAGAZINE publisher Reed Elsevier is escaping many of the woes affecting the wider industry, thanks to its specialist focus. While others are suffering from a consumer spending slowdown and competition from the internet, Reed's profits are on the up.

Its interim results in the summer showed profits rose 17% to pounds 557m for the first six months of the year.

The group, which publishes titles such as Farmers Weekly, Estates Gazette and New Scientist, is also moving into new areas and increasing its multimedia offering, promising more growth to come.

Shares - at 599.5p - are currently well below their high of 795p, and investors are advised to buy.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 15, 2008
Words:346
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