The Week Ahead: DSG International sales expected to power ahead
Tuesday 31 August 2010
High-street trends will be back in focus when the electrical goods giant DSG International issues an update on Thursday. Anticipating a boost from the football World Cup, UBS is looking forward to a "solid set of figures", with DSG's like-for-like sales for the first quarter expected to be up 2.5 per cent.
In the UK, the broker expects DSG to notch up 4 per cent growth in like-for-like sales, with the PC World business weighing against strength at Currys. "The gross margin will be keenly watched as the negative impact from higher TV sales in the UK should be offset by a greater focus on gross margin in the Nordic regions," UBS said in a note.
Looking ahead, any comments about the outlook will be closely watched, particularly in light of growing caution about the health of consumer spending. As a gauge, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch warned last week that its lead indicator for the UK was "still trending downwards, suggesting falling sales momentum until at least spring next year".
"In the Nordics, the macro outlook is better and we expect GDP growth to continue to outperform the rest of Europe, although rising interest rates should put more pressure on household cashflows in 2011," Merrill added.
The self-storage hire specialist Safestore is due to issue an update this morning and Numis expects the company to confirm that the momentum seen at the time of its half-yearly results has persisted into the third quarter.
"The focus will be on the group's occupancy and rate performance, and whether the strong level of enquiries recorded at the interim results have translated into lets," the broker said in a preview last week.
Results/Updates: Afren, British Polythene Industries, Candover Investments, Hansteen Holdings, 888 Holdings and Safestore.
Results/Updates: Hargreaves Lansdown, IQE and Johnson Service.
Costs will come under the spotlight when McBride, Europe's biggest manufacturer of own-brand cleaning and personal care products for the big supermarkets, issues its annual figures.
Panmure Gordon's analysts are anticipating news of a 45 per cent increase in operating profits to £49.9m. In addition to news about promotional activity, Panmure says the company's investors are likely to focus on how much McBride's input costs have risen since June. The update will also be the first opportunity that its new chief executive, Chris Bull, has had to share his strategy with the market.
"Although we do expect any significant change in strategic direction, we be looking for an indication of any change in approach in areas such as expansion in the Far East and any potential scope to further improve operating margins," Panmure said. It forecast earnings of 18.4p per share.
The recruitment specialist Hays will also issue full-year numbers on Thursday. UBS is looking for £77m in earnings before interest and tax – just below the consensus forecasts of £79m. Hays has already posted an update for the final quarter, with revenues growing by 8 per cent in constant currency terms.
This time round, UBS expects the market to focus on news about Hays's trading during the summer months and on pointers for the second half of the calendar year, "particularly in the UK business, which has significant exposure to Government-related work".
Also on Thursday, investors will be awaiting half-year results from Restaurant Group, the owner of the Garfunkel's and Chiquito chains. Assuming flat like-for-like sales and margins, Numis is looking for a 7 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £23.4m. "As at 2 May, like-for-like sales were up 0.5 per cent, but subsequent dry weather, poor cinema releases and the World Cup may have slightly undermined trading [later in the second quarter]," the broker said, adding that it expected to maintain its full-year forecast after this week's results.
Results/Updates: Eaga, Go-Ahead, Hays, McBride, Restaurant Group and DSG International.
UBS is expecting to hear of modest traffic increases when British Airways posts its traffic and capacity statistics.
"In July, the traffic for BA fell by 2.6 cent, while the capacity fell by 1.9 per cent. This was expected given the company policy of focusing more on yields rather than on increasing traffic," the broker said.
It expects BA's capacity figures to start ticking up from October.
Results/Updates: British Airways passenger numbers.
Today: Mortgage approval figures; net consumer credit figures.
Thursday: Construction purchasing managers' index, US initial jobless claims.
Friday: US non-farm payrolls report
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