16 FEBRUARY 1940, Page 36

HARRODS GROUP RESULTS It has long been apparent that the

1939 profits of the West End stores would show a very marked reduction. How serious the effects have been of evacuation and the black-out, to say nothing of the " normal " inhibitions of war on luxury and semi-luxury expenditure, is now apparent in the results of the Harrods group. Both the Dickins and Jones and the D. H. Evans subsidiaries have earned con- siderably less and declare smaller dividends, and the profits of Harrods itself have fallen for the year ended January 31st from £708,191 to £577,916, or by about 18 per cent. Even allowing for the heavier burden of taxation, this is a sharp contraction which brings net earnings to the lowest level reached in recent years.

With characteristic and wholly justifiable conservatism the board is reducing the final ordinary dividend from 11 to 5 per cent., so that the total for the year is down from 16 to It) per cent. Harrods £i ordinary units have fallen since the outbreak of war from 5os. to 37s. 6d., at which the yield on the 10 per cent. dividend is just under 52 per cent. I hesitate to advise selling, but shares such a these are obviously not a very promising war-time holding. If this is to be a long war the London stores must pass through difficult days.