Small cap movers: Mulberry slides as House of Fraser contagion dents earnings

A look back at some of the more interesting stories from the junior market over the past week...

Mulberry store front
The handbag maker joins a list of companies suffering as a result of the department store's recent collapse into administration

One of the big losers on the AIM this week was luxury handbag maker Mulberry Group PLC (LON:MUL), whose shares plunged 29% to 415p as the contagion from House of Fraser’s collapse blew a £3mln hole in its finances.

Mulberry has 21 concessions in House of Fraser stores and is unlikely to see any of the money recovered following the rescue of the chain by Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley.

Weak sales in the UK’s retail market also led Mulberry to warn that its profits for the year would be “materially reduced”.

Another well-known UK brand seeing red was model train maker Hornby Plc (LON:HRN), which sustained a 14% drop in its shares over the five-day period.

The only material news was the appointment of non-executive director John Stansfield as its new chairman – though it’s a leap to link this to the further demise of the stock, which has been under pressure for some time now.

Meanwhile, the bad news continued with a 17% fall in shares of audio-visual company MediaZest PLC (LON:MDZ) after delays for three of its bigger projects ballooned its losses for the year to £113,000 from a £2,000 loss in 2017.

Despite the grim figures, the company said the projects had been pushed back to the first half of 2019 and expected “substantial progress” going forward.

However, the AIM All-Share overall has seen a better performance than its blue-chip elder sibling, the FTSE 100.

The index has risen around 1% over the last five days to around 1,089 points while the FTSE 100 has struggled, advancing only 0.19% to 7,573 points.

On the other side of the index, the owner of Franco Manca and The Real Greek, The Fulham Shore PLC (LON:FUL), saw its shares jump 10% to 12.7p over the last week after reporting “encouraging” sales growth in the past five months.

Despite having issued two profit warnings this year, chairman David Page sounded a more upbeat note as both of the company’s chains saw increased transactions over the period.

A raft of restaurant chains have either closed or drastically scaled back their plans recently but Page added this backdrop is potentially an opportunity as more properties are coming onto the market due to the current tough conditions.

The firm now has 58 restaurants in the UK, which consist of 42 Franco Manca’s and 16 The Real Greek outlets, as well as one Franco Manca franchise in Italy.

Elsewhere, one of the AIMs biggest risers this week was industrial battery firm redT Energy PLC (LON:RED) with a 45% jump in its shares to 9.9p.

The business said on Monday that it had successfully sold four of its Gen 3 batteries to Anglian Water, the largest electricity user in East England and the largest water and sewage company in England and Wales.

Elsewhere, video game development company Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS) saw its shares rise 13% to 1,992p following some new acquisitions.

The company purchased two Brighton-based firms, Studio Gobo and Electric Square, for £26mln in a move it said would improve its expertise while growing its team to 610.

So far this year Keywords has bought nine businesses in a bid to expand both its range of services and market share.

The good news continued in the mining sector, where Wolf Minerals Limited (LON:WLFE) has soared a whopping 81% to 3.2p these last five days after major shareholder Resource Capital Fund (RCF) reaffirmed its commitment to the company’s Drakelands mine in Devon.

RCF has said it will provide Wolf with up to £70mln in funding for the project following improvements in the mine’s performance.

The Drakelands project boasts one of the Western world’s largest tungsten and tin resources and currently employs around 200 people.

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