The Week Ahead: Retail's star will shine but every picture tells a story at Jessops

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Tesco will unveil interims and the City is expecting double-digit profit growth - a feat, says one analyst, that happens with "metronomic regularity". Last year's figures showed profits up 28 per cent, and the City will be eager to see if Tesco can match that again and widen the gap between itself and its competitors.

Other retailers, however, continue to struggle. Among these is Jessops, the country's biggest photographic retailer, which releases a trading statement on Wednesday. A downturn in the sale of digital cameras bit deeply into its interim profits earlier this year: they fell by 18 per cent. This prompted a slide in the share price and sparked speculation that Jessops, which only listed last October, would not achieve its profits forecasts.

Bookstore chain Ottakar's has also suffered falling sales recently, reporting in July that they were down 0.3 per cent. Interim results are due on Thursday but investors may be less concerned about the profits than the impending acquisition of the 130-store chain by HMV.

In the energy sector, the news is expected to be more upbeat. Monday will mark the return of the oil and gas company Cairn Energy to the FTSE 100 after it dropped out of the top flight in March. The promotion will coincide with its interims and broker William de Broë expects it to report net income of £16.1m, down from £21.5m a year ago. Investors, however, will be even more interested in the expected update on the company's Rajasthan oil fields, where reserves are now estimated to be 2.5 billion barrels.

There is optimism too at the energy minnow Oil Quest Resources, which won a crucial new licence earlier this month to explore for oil in the North Sea 90 miles east of Newcastle. Due to post full-year results on Tuesday, it will be prospecting beside some giant rivals, such as ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, which also won licences.

Opec meets tomorrow to grapple with the vexed issue of whether to increase output in light of the continuing rise in oil prices and the loss of refineries during Hurricane Katrina. Observers say it will be a tough call and an increase in production, especially after the release of US strategic reserves, is by no means a foregone conclusion.

Tomorrow is also the day that Deutsche Post is expected to finalise its £3.8bn takeover of Exel.

From below the surface to up in the air, and talks between the troubled catering group Gate Gourmet and unions will kick off again tomorrow. Then, later in the week, airport owner BAA will provide an update on trading. Particular attention will be paid to indications on passenger numbers and retail sales. Traffic growth has been slowing but analysts believe increased flights to India, China and South Korea may have boosted airport store sales. BAA has forecast traffic growth of 3.5 per cent for the current year and expects that profits will be in line with that.

At Smiths, the maker of chemical and biological detection equipment, full-year results should reveal growth in operating profit of at least 10 per cent in all four of its divisions. The shares took a dive recently when Smiths reported exceptional charges of £50m, stemming from a restructuring programme, the integration of Medex - the medical products company it bought in December - and the settlement of a lawsuit. Yet analysts continue to list the shares as a "buy", with Smiths expected to be involved in more acquisitions.

Away from company results, Equitable Life will resume its £700m claim against its former auditor, Ernst & Young, in the High Court on Monday, when expert witnesses are expected to take the stand. First up will be accountancy giant Price-waterhouseCoopers, on behalf of Equitable, in an appearance expected to last two weeks.

The original claim stood at more than £2bn but this was reduced before the summer break when the life assurer dropped its £1.3bn "lost sales" claim. Equitable says Ernst & Young should have spotted deficiencies in its accounts.

Another saga to be resumed is the UK's up-down interest rates. On Wednesday, the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee will publish the minutes of its last meeting, when rates were held at 4.5 per cent.

CALENDAR

Tomorrow 19

UK: Results: (final) Albemarle & Bond, Orca Interactive, Renova Energy, Ricardo, William Sinclair; (interim) Adventis Group, Alizyme, Anglo-Eastern, Burren Energy, Chaucer Holdings, Imperial Energy, Pixology, Plant Health Care, Telit Communications.

Tuesday 20

UK: Results: (F) Centaur Holdings, Compel Group, Finsbury Food, Oil Quest Resources, Regent Inns; (I) BETonSports, Cairn Energy, Chelford Group, Chorion, Corporate Services, Development Securities, Faroe Petroleum, Medical Solutions, Oxford BioMedica, Psion, Punch Graphix, Resolution, Talarius, Trafficmaster, Ubiquity Software; (first quarter) Ashtead Group.

Wednesday 21

UK: Results: (F) Polaron; (I) Alkane Energy, Capital & Regional, Paladin Resources, Restaurant Group, Solitaire, Tesco, Woolworths.

Thursday 22

UK: Results: (F) NXT, Smiths; (I) Canterbury Foods, Cattles, Hardy Underwriting, KBC Advanced Technologies, John Lewis Partnership, Ottakar's, Peter Hambro, Informa.

Friday 23

UK: Results: (I) CLS Holdings, Communisis, Imagesound, Interactive, Sherwood.

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