The Week Ahead: Mothercare expected to show first half-year profit for more than two years


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As winter nights draw in, more of us will be sat in front of the telly, and tomorrow broadcaster ITV will update the City on how much advertisers have been paying to sell their wares through the goggleboxes of the nation.

Broker Numis think ITV’s third-quarter trading update should beat forecasts. It notes that rival STV reported a third-quarter national advertising spend up 10 per cent. So Numis expect ITV to mirror this.

Next year is also expected to be good and Numis predict things will improve because a “stronger UK economy combined with the benefits from the World Cup” will mean a good year for advertising.

Tomorrow also plays host to storage group Big Yellow’s first-half update. The self-storage market is still reeling from last year’s introduction of VAT. But Big Yellow appears to be coping well so far and at its last trading update said total occupancy rates were at 68.7 per cent in the quarter to the end of July – up from 65.7 per cent a year ago – so investors hope to hear more progress on both occupancy and rates growth.

On Thursday mother and baby retailer Mothercare’s half-year results are expected to produce a profit of just under £2m – a £3m improvement on the loss reported last year and its first half-year of profit for more than two years.

Numis notes it has made progress on cost cutting and store closures, but the UK retail sector is still swamped with competition and discounting from rivals so things are not easy.

Drinks giant Diageo hosts an investor day and AGM this week, but rival SAB Miller will be in focus when it reports its first-half results on Thursday.

After warnings of a slowdown in emerging markets by consumer goods giant Unilever recently, investors will know what to expect. SAB is forecast to confirm that emerging markets have become more difficult with Colombia, Poland and the Czech Republic weaker.

Carlsberg reported a  3 per cent fall in revenue in the third quarter as a slump in its Russian business hit sales. But some analysts expect SAB’s western European markets to have performed well due to the good summer weather that boosted consumer spending.