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FTSE 100 tobacco firm Imperial Brands IMB) has reassured the market it is on track to meet full year expectations, driven by strong US growth and currencies.

Imperial said it will hit forecasts as at both constant currency and reported exchange rates.

It expects currency translation to benefit full year earnings by 4-5%, with the full-year impact of currency transaction on earnings at around 3%.

Imperial said it has seen “strong growth” in reported tobacco net revenue for the year driven by the US acquisition and the benefit of currency translation, while the full year trend for total tobacco volumes and operating profit margin is broadly in line with the first half.

“We have made excellent progress in the US with market share gains in our focus brands, Winston and Kool,” Imperial said. “We have delivered a strong performance in our growth markets as we continue to focus on profitable share opportunities and to benefit from revenue growth in Fontem Ventures.”

It added its cost optimisation programme is on track to deliver the targeted savings.

Imperial stated: “We remain in a strong position to generate further returns for shareholders, as we continue to deliver against our strategic agenda.”

Its full year results for the year to 30 September will be announced on 8 November.

Imperial shares were 1.2% higher this morning at 3,974p on the reassuring statement.

Morning update

Under pressure butchery group Crawshaw (CRAW) has announced a 4.4% drop in like for like half year sales as its store standardisation plan drove away customers.

In the 26 weeks ended 31 July 2016, total revenue for the group increased by 29% to £21.6m driven by new store openings.

Gross profit increased by 31% to £9.8m, but EBITDA for the period fell to £0.3m from £0.5m last year due to increased operating costs offsetting sales and margin growth. Its loss before tax extended to £0.4m from £0.1m in the first half last year.

Crashaw said it has opened nine new trading stores across the period and that in order to consistently deliver the rollout of new stores at this pace, we had embarked on a “period of standardisation” and built a “strong platform of discipline and central control”.

“Whilst this was done to aid rapid store rollout, we had also applied facets of this approach to our legacy stores in order to drive sales and margin, changing both the price and range architecture to those adopted in the new stores,” Crawshaw said.

“Initial results were encouraging, with strong like-for-like sales and margin through the middle of last financial year as these initiatives were gradually rolled out. With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that these changes didn’t resonate as well with customers as we thought. Customer loyalty initially translated into additional sales through bigger, better value packs at higher price points in the first instance before giving way to waning loyalty and lower sales as we traded through the first half this year.”

Crashaw said it has now identified the cause of this sales underperformance, with customers wanting to see some of the old fresh meat pack sizes, price points and offers that were previously on sale in their specific store.

“As a result, we have made immediate changes to give store managers flexibility to re-introduce local ranging products which has been positively received,” it said.

CEO Noel Collett, commented: “We have made considerable progress with our store expansion program over the last 18 months but are very disappointed by the recent like-for-like sales performance as some of the price and range initiatives didn’t resonate with customers as we had expected.

“We are acting quickly to restore sales momentum by returning our focus to the local value-led proposition that has proved successful in the past. We have already re-introduced a locally driven, value-led promotion strategy which is bringing more customers in store, although these activities require short term margin investment and will therefore impact full year profit expectations.”

Potato and daffodil supplier Produce Investments has announced its final results for the 52 weeks ended 25 June 2016.

Total revenues were up to £185m from £178m in the previous years as sales of fresh potatoes stabilised during the year. Value declined by 1% in the year against a decline of 14.5% in the prior year, and volume increased by 0.9% up from 0.3% in 2015.

Operating profit for the year increased to £9.2m from £8m driven primarily by more stable retail market conditions. However, it took exceptional charges amounting to £4.6m, relating to the impairment and closure of Kent packing site, and exceptional charges regarding the product recall at Swancote Foods.

On the markets this morning the FTSE 100 has continued its good work from yesterday, rising another 1.1% to 6,924.4pts.

Crawshaw has dropped another 5.6% this morning, taking its share price plunge to 60% since the start of September.

Early risers include Total Produce (TOT), up 4.7% to 144.95p, Hotel Chocolat (HOTC) up 1.7% to 234.5p and Cranswick (CWK), up 1.3% to 2,364.95p.

Fallers include C&C Group (CCR), 2.8% to €3.68, Nichols (NICL) down 1% to 1,381p, and Fyffes (FFY), down 0.6% to 129.3p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 rebounded from three consecutive days of decline to rise 0.6% to 6,849.4pts yesterday.

The chief grocery story was a 3.9% plunge in the share price of Sainsbury’s back to 241p as the market digested its sales deterioration to a second quarter like for like sales decline of 1.1%.

There was better news elsewhere in the sector, with PZ Cussons rising 2.7% to 367.1p after releasing its own upbeat trading statement, reassuring the market its key Nigerian business is stabalising.

Elsewhere, Marks & Spencer (MKS) was up 1.3% to 313.9p, Greencore (GNC) was up 1.4% to 332.4p and WH Smith was up 1.7% to 1,532p.

SABMiller rose 0.6% to 4,490, almost up to the £45 per share level of AB InBev’s offer, after shareholders voted to approve the brewing megamerger yesterday.

Other fallers included Imperial Brands before its half year results this morning, dropping 1.3% to 3,930p. AG Barr (BAG) fell another 2.6% to 504.5p, following on from its early falls in the week after announcing sugar tax-related cutbacks, while Finsbury Food Group (FIF) was down 2.7% to 126.5p.

Chinese seafood firm Aquatic Foods Group plunged 28.6% to 12.5p on AIM after its half year profits dropped by more than 50%.