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Market expects good things from Primark and Morrisons

The resilience of the British consumer will be tested this week when a raft of retailers issue updates to the market.

Pub group JD Wetherspoon delivers numbers on Friday but attention will largely focus on Associated British Foods, owner of the Primark clothing chain, and Morrisons, the supermarket group, both of which are expected to report strong trading.

Jeremy Batstone-Carr, analyst at Charles Stanley, said: "Primark has been performing exceedingly well. It has defied the gloomy estimates, helped by overseas forays especially on the Iberian peninsular where the brand has been expanded."

On Morrisons, the broker delivered a bullish estimate, saying: "We expect Morrison to continue to deliver industry leading sales growth."

Home Retail, owner of Argos, reports on Thursday; Sports Direct, the budget retailer on Wednesday, while Whitbread, owner of Costa Coffee and Premier Inns, kicks off the week on Monday. In a note last week, the broker Investec upped its target price for Home Retail to 350p. Shares in the firm closed at 316.4p at the close on Friday.

Others reporting this week include Carpetright; Kesa, owner of the Comet chain; chocolates firm Thorntons and restaurant chain, Prezzo.