Fiery week ahead for Curry's boss as he reveals Christmas figures

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The Independent Online

Further pressure is likely to be heaped on John Browett, the chief executive of the struggling electronics chain DSG, if City expectations of a disastrous Christmas trading period are confirmed this week.

Analysts are predicting that sales at DSG's Currys and PC World fell by as much as 10 per cent over the period.

Meanwhile, in the busiest post-Christmas reporting week of the year, Tesco's boss, Sir Terry Leahy, is likely to reveal a modest rise in Christmas revenue, as weak sales of non-food items hit overall performance. Also reporting this week are music chain HMV, whose sales are likely to have been hit by heavy discounting at Woolworths and poor performance at its Waterstones book subsidiary, while Game, Halfords, Mothercare and Home Retail, which runs Argos and Homebase, also issue numbers.

Tuesday will also see the British Retail Consortium publish its monthly sales monitor for the December trading period. In November, retails sales dipped by 2.4 per cent on the same month in 2007.

But it's the plight of DSG that is likely to grab the headlines with investors in the stock, which has lost more than 70 per cent of its value in the last 12 months, expecting a Christmas meltdown to be revealed. Mr Browett, who joined DSG from Tesco, appeared to dampen expectations of a Christmas turnaround, when he said in early December that his plan to re-ignite the company's fortunes could take up to four years.

Greg Hodge, an analyst at Planet Retail, said: "Everyone is bracing themselves for the worst at DSG. A fall beyond 10 per cent and the stock will be absolutely hammered but if the extent of the decline is less than 7 per cent then people will be surprised and we might see a Debenhams' style bounce."

Following record numbers from Justin King's Sainsbury last week, Tesco is set to reveal it had a largely muted Christmas.

"I imagine that people will get on the back of Tesco this week following Sainsbury's numbers," said Mr Hodge. "But Sainsbury is coming from a very low non-food base, whereas Tesco has a large market share and is probably reaching saturation point. I think that in the grand scheme of things Tesco will shape up pretty well."