MARKET CONDITION: Shares of cookware retailer Pro Cook tumble

MARKET REPORT: Shares of kitchenware retailer Pro Cook tumble after it became the latest company to feel squeezed by the cost of living crisis

Shares of Pro Cook fell after it became the latest company to feel the pressure of the cost of living crisis.

The kitchenware retailer – which was set up in a Gloucestershire cottage in 1996 and listed on the London stock exchange last year – has warned profits this year will be between £4m and £6m.

That compares with an expected profit of £10million last year, although it has yet to release figures for the 12 months to April 3, 2022.

Slash: Pro Cook has warned profits this year will be between £4m and £6m

Pro Cook was created when Daniel O’Neill and his mother Peggy sold pots and pans from their cottage in Cheltenham.

O’Neill, who is still chief executive, said “clear and numerous consumer pressures” hit spending – including on kitchen products he sells online such as knives, plates and cutting boards.

“While we are still seeing many new customers discovering the Pro Cook brand and purchasing our products, it is clear that many are tightening their belts,” he said.

“This creates a challenging short-term trading environment.” Pro Cook said he now expects revenue for the year to be “largely in line” with the £69.2million made last year.

The shares fell 40.3%, or 31.4p, to 46.6p, wiping £18.4m off the value of the stake held by O’Neill and his family.

The stock has lost 68% of its value since going public in November at 145p per share. His value has dropped from £158m to just £51m.

On a day of financial market turbulence, the FTSE 100 index fell 2.1%, or 158.69 points, to 7317.52 and the FTSE250 was down 2%, or 400.08 points, at 19,673.32. The selloff was reflected around the world and came after official figures showed US inflation hit 8.6% last month – the highest level in more than 40 years.

There were also growing concerns about China’s new Covid lockdown measures.

As the global economic outlook darkened, mining stocks were hit hard by falling metal prices. Aluminum prices fell 3% to their lowest level in nearly six months, while copper fell nearly 2%.

“Copper is under several types of pressure,” said Nitesh Shah, commodity strategist at exchange-traded fund provider WisdomTree.

“The closures are not ending as quickly as hoped and China’s zero Covid policy is very detrimental to economic growth.

“You also have central banks in other parts of the world that are maintaining a very hawkish tilt and that calls into question whether economic growth outside of China is going to slow faster.”

In the FTSE100, Anglo American fell 7.5%, or 291.5p, to 3,613p, Glencore fell 5.2%, or 27.7p to 505.5p and Rio Tinto slipped 3.6%, or 210p, at 5690p.

FTSE 250 mining and commodities trading company Ferrexpo fell 8.7%, or 15.6p, to 164.3p.

Back in the top flight, safety gear maker Halma fell 3.4%, or 74p, to 2,088p after Jefferies analysts cut its target price to 1,960p from 2,200p ahead of the week’s annual results next.

While China represents about 7% of the group’s turnover, this figure was well below the 15% that was to be reached as early as 2015.

Jefferies also reiterated its “underperforming” rating, citing some of Halma’s “high-quality peers” who have more exposure to China.

At the second tier, investment firm Apax Global said fund Apax X Fund sold its majority stake in MyCase, a provider of cloud-based law practice management software and payment services, for around $19.2 million pounds to rival AffiniPay.

Apax Funds said it will still hold a small stake in MyCase after the deal. The shares climbed 11.7%, or 21p, to 200p.

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