B&Q owner Kingfisher was forced to release its half-year results nine days early today, after someone at their end accidentally included the figures in an email sent to a bunch of City types yesterday afternoon. The good news is that figures were actually better than expected – profits are well ahead of last year – but we suspect the poor sap concerned is still going to get a rocket this morning. Just goes to show the dangers of the careless office email…
‘It has come to our attention that, due to an administrative error, some draft figures were circulated externally on the afternoon of the 7 September,’ a rather shame-faced Kingfisher admitted this morning – apparently they were tacked onto the bottom of an email full of standard corporate guff that was circulated to retail analysts. These numbers haven’t been formally signed off yet, but now they’re in the public domain, Kingfisher had no choice but to provide the world at large with a formal indication of what they expect them to be (the official figures, along with a more general outlook, will still be released on the 17th).
Still, the only thing more embarrassing than accidentally releasing your results is accidentally releasing really bad results. And fortunately for Kingfisher, that wasn’t the case: it’s expecting underlying pre-tax profits of about £290m for the six months to August, including a retail profit of almost £150m in the UK and Ireland. That’s well ahead of last year’s figure of £214m, and well ahead of the City’s forecast of just under £270m (which itself had been adjusted upwards after Kingfisher reported an upturn in sales during July).
This has done wonders for Kingfisher’s share price, which jumped nearly 4% this morning. But what’s interesting is that there was absolutely no impact on the stock yesterday afternoon, when this rogue email was originally circulated. So either the City boys and girls realised it was a honest mistake and decided against taking advantage (yeah right) or the email was so boring that none of them actually bothered reading all the way through to the end, and thus didn’t notice it. Although somehow, we doubt this will save the offending party from the high jump today...
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