The Week Ahead: Clear line sought on Carphone's broadband losses

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The Independent Online

Carphone Warehouse's trading statement on Wednesday should catch the eye of both retail and telecoms watchers. The company has been in the headlines over the past few months due to customer service issues related to its fledgling broadband service. The mobile phone retailer has recently offered free broadband access to its telecoms customers and recent reports have warned that broadband could contribute a £70m loss in 2007, which will add to the negative publicity.

Analysts also expect Carphone Warehouse to discuss its local loop unbundling plan and some expect the retailer to increase the scope of its investment in this area. LLU is the process by which BT's competitors install equipment in local exchanges to offer faster or more powerful broadband services. Carphone Warehouse initially committed to unbundling 1,000 exchanges in the UK.

Although most of the focus will be on the telecoms side of the business, Carphone Warehouse still derives the majority of its revenue from its traditional business selling mobile phones and associated products through its high street stores and internet site. The company has been picking up stores in France and recently purchased around 28 former The Link stores from O2 that could result in some store relocations.

TODAY: YouGov, the AIM- listed online market research and opinion poll group, reports full year results, and if the share price is anything to go by the results should be spectacular. The company listed in April 2005 at 135p and closed on Friday at 700p, giving investors who bought at the initial public offering a return of 418.5 per cent.

The company has made one acquisition since listing and successfully launched Brand Index, a brand tracker used by clients to evaluate product perception on a daily basis.

A trading statement in June confirmed that the company expects to beat market forecasts for the full year, and with Numis Securities pencilling in £3.2m of pre-tax profits, anything less than that could see the shares suffer from a hefty bout of profit-taking.

Results: Full year - YouGov.

TOMORROW: With the copper futures market softening over the past few weeks, shares in Vedanta Resources have taken something of a beating, declining more than 30 per cent since hitting 1,740p in May to close at just under 1,200p on Friday. It's all relative, though; the shares have still outperformed the market so far this year and any investor lucky enough to have tucked a few away a year ago will still be sitting pretty on double their money.

The company is due to update the market on second-quarter production figures ahead of results on 16 November. The broker UBS expects the company to report a 13 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in aluminium production, a 6 per cent increase in zinc and a 20 per cent jump in copper production.

Results: Full year - St Ives. First half - Rugby Estates.

WEDNESDAY: The pressure on J Sainsbury, the food retailer, has certainly increased in the past week since rival Tesco unveiled record first-half profits of more than £1.1bn. A statement by the group chairman, Philip Harris, ahead of the group's annual general meeting in July said that it is on track to return the company to something approaching its former glory, but that there is still much work to be done.

Results from rival food retailers across Europe have been solid, and with Morrison Supermarkets turning things around the heat is on Sainsbury's to at least match the competition. However, the broker Shore Capital reiterated its "sell" advice ahead of today's trading update; the shares have performed well so far this year, but any slowdown will see much of those gains wiped out.

Results: First half - N Brown.

THURSDAY: Magners Cider has been the alcoholic drinking sensation of the past two years, morphing cider from the vagrant's choice to the favoured beverage of trendies all over the UK. C&C Group, the group behind Magners, gave the market a bullish pre-close trading update at the end of August, showing turnover growth in its cider division of 75 per cent, with the Magners brand growing at a phenomenal rate of 250 per cent against the same period last year.

A hot September will have done Magners sales no harm, and anything other than a fizzing set of results would be a shock. Consensus forecasts are for €12m (£8.1m) in first half pre-tax profits, an 84 per cent increase on the first half of 2005.

Results: First half - C&C Group; Moss Bros; WH Smith.

FRIDAY: Results: None due.

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