The interim dividend of 11.3p (last half year: 11.0p) per share has been approved by the Board of Directors after 28 September 2019. Accordingly, this dividend has not been recognised as a liability at the period end.
The interim dividend will be paid on 31 January 2020 to Shareholders on the Register at the close of business on 20 December 2019.
A dividend of 31.5p (last half year: 30.3p) per share was paid during the period to 28 September 2019 in relation to the year ended 30 March 2019.
The ex-dividend date is 19 December 2019 and the final day for dividend reinvestment plan ('DRIP') elections is 10 January 2020.
Other financial highlights include:
Revenue £1,281m +3% CER, +5% reported
o Retail comparable store sales +4% (Q1: +4%; Q2: +5%) with new collections growing strong double digits, offset by a softer performance of replenishment product lines
Pro forma profit measures:
Pro forma adjusted operating profit £187m, -4% CER. As guided, gross margin was down 110bps at CER, largely offset by currency resulting in -10bps at reported
o Operating expenses were impacted by store impairments, partially offset by cost savings
Pro forma operating profit £186m, +8% after adjusting items of £1m (H1 2019: £173m)
Pro forma adjusted diluted EPS 36.1p, +1% CER, supported by ongoing share repurchases and a 200bps effective tax rate reduction
Reported profit measures:
Operating profit £202m, +17% reported due to a currency benefit and the positive impact of IFRS 16, under which lease costs are split between operating expenses and interest
Diluted EPS 36.4p, +15% reported principally due to the impact of currency, tax and a small positive impact from the adoption of IFRS 16
Free cash outflow of £29m (H1 2019: inflow of £46m) due predominantly to the accelerated timing of UK tax payments resulting from the new HMRC rules
Net cash £670m at Sept 2019 (£647m at Sept 2018) after returning £144m cash to shareholders through dividends (£129m) and share buyback (£15m)