The Week Ahead: More gloom expected from retailers' updates

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There is a trading update from Boots on Thursday that will almost certainly show like-for-like sales fell again at the high street giant in the six months to 30 September, as it continues to lose out to the supermarkets. The City is not expecting any sales growth at all this financial year, and fans of the company hope that - this time, as last - the disappointment might be overshadowed by an update on the future of the healthcare products manufacturing business. This makes Clearasil and Strepsils, among other things, and has been put up for sale, with hoped-for price having risen to £1.6bn and beyond in some quarters.

Kesa Electricals, the owner of Comet, presents half-year figures expected to show profits down about 20 per cent to £37m. In contrast to Kesa's French business, Darty, Comet is showing declining sales and word is the trend is worsening. Also on Wednesday, HMV is holding its annual shareholder meeting. And House of Fraser, the department stores group which has bought Jenners and Beatties this year, has interim figures. Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein thinks House of Fraser's losses will have widened from £2.9m to £4.6m, but it will be the outlook for Christmas that is crucial.

The festive season is also vital for Game, the video games and consoles retailer, which is hoping that a new generation of consoles will spur interest this year. The historic results reflect falling software prices, leading to wider losses.

TODAY: The plumbing supplies merchant Wolseley is enjoying strong growth on both sides of the Atlantic and ploughing a lot of its profits into acquisitions. This virtuous circle ought to push up full year profits by 14 per cent to an estimated £682m, and investors still believe the outlook is benign.

Results: Full year - Close Brothers; Fonebak; ICM Computer; Wolseley. Interims - Alexon; Alltracel Pharmaceuticals; Cape; Charles Taylor Consulting; Datamonitor; Disperse; Emblaze; Entertainment Rights; Freeplay Energy; Nautical Petroleum; Personal Group; P&MM; Plethora Solutions; Polyfuel; Severfield-Rowen; Sigma Technology; Smallbone; Torex Retail.

TOMORROW: Competition for mobile phone customers remains as tough as ever, but O2 has established itself as a winner in both of its markets, the UK and Germany. Investors hope, rather than expect, the company may say marketing costs have fallen.

There are also trading updates from Emap, the radio and magazines group, and Mitchells & Butlers, the pubs group which will be questioned on its acquisition plans.

Results: Full year - Eliza Tinsley; Lincat; Synairgen; White Young Green. Interims - AG Barr; Akers Biosciences; Atlantic Global; Cello; Corin; Game Group; Havelock Europa; JKX Oil & Gas; Lighthouse; Newport Networks; Parity; Public Recruitment; Robotic Technology Systems; Soco International; Sportech; Television Corporation; Toye & Co.

WEDNESDAY: The weaker housing market in the first half of the year will be reflected in the annual results of Barratt Developments, although profits ought still be up 6 per cent. The City will want the very latest trading news. How many visitors are coming to its sites? How many house sales are in the bag? And what incentives is Barratt having to give to make a sale?

A trading update from Compass will aim to rebuild confidence after two disastrous profits warnings from the catering and service stations group in the past year. If it is to succeed, it will have to show that the group is generating not just paper profits but real cash from its diverse operations. Cost pressures, particularly from wages in the UK, could make it hard for the group to satisfy the City.

Results: Full year - Barratt Developments; Powerleague; Pure Wafer; Ultimate Leisure. Interims - AeroBox; Atrium Underwriting; Camellia; Charter; Dana Petroleum; Delling; Emerald Energy; Evolutec; Fulmar; House of Fraser; HR Owen; In Cup Plus; Inditherm; Kesa Electricals; Linton Park; Mowlem; Regal Petroleum; SkyePharma; Solar Integrated Technologies; Stream.

THURSDAY: Results: Full year - Dickinson Legg; PFI Infrastructure. Interims - Alpha Airports; BNB Recruitment Solutions; ClearSpeed Technology; D1 Oils; London Security; S&U; Spring; Tissue Science Laboratories; Vividas.

FRIDAY: Results: Full year - Ceres Power; Tenon. Interims - Antonov; Apace Media; Ridge Mining; TripleArc.

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