The Week Ahead: Grocers next to face up to consumer slowdown

The supermarket sector will be in focus this week with both Tesco and Sainsbury's set to post updates.

The trading figures come against the backdrop of increasing concern about the depth of the consumer slowdown as the Chancellor George Osborne sharpens his axe. The public sector has yet to see the worst of the cuts – but already, the high street appears to be struggling to deal with the dip in sentiment. Last week, figures from Argos owner Home Retail Group chilled the mood across the retail sector, and the two supermarkets will be closely watched for their comments on sector trends.

Tesco is up first with its update tomorrow. In the City, Panmure Gordon expects the group to report UK like-for-like sales, excluding petrol and VAT, to move into positive territory over the company's first quarter, compared to the 0.7 per cent decline seen in the fourth quarter. Its analysts are eyeing 1 per cent growth, while their counterparts at Espirito Santo are looking for 1.5 per cent, excluding petrol but including VAT, against 0.2 per cent in the fourth quarter.

Given the weak consumer backdrop, which is expected to weigh on the non-food offering, and given that new chief executive Phil Clarke only took the helm very recently, there are unlikely to be any big surprises. "This will be almost a 'nothing to see' announcement, with little to drive the shares in either direction, because it is too early in Phil Clarke's tenure to be categoric one way or the other," Panmure said.

Sainsbury's is up next, with its first quarter update on Wednesday. Here, Espirito is looking for like-for-like sales growth of 2.5 per cent, again excluding petrol but including VAT.

"This will be an interesting update from Sainsbury in order to see the extent to which the slowdown in the fourth quarter has continued," the broker said. "At the time, we thought there may have been a short-term pullback in promotions, and this seems to have been confirmed by recent management comments at the full-year results."


Results/Updates: BAA, Latchways and Majestic Wine.


Results/Updates: Air Partner, CML Microsystems, Carphone Warehouse and Tesco.


The video games retailer Game is due to issue an interim managementstatement mid-week and, if Numis Securities is to believed, the group is unlikely to impress.

The broker was surprised by the company's decision at its preliminary results in April to leave its January 2012 guidance for sales growth of 2 to 5 per cent unchanged. "Worldwide sales of Nintendo 3DS have clearly been lower than planned, and we think that Game will struggle to widen the outperformance gap in an overallmarket expected to remain in negative territory," Numis said.

Results/Updates: Game, Mouchel and J Sainsbury.


Mulberry is expected to post strong full-year figures this week. The hopes are based on the upmarket handbag maker's update in March, when it said sales and profits for the year would exceed market views as a result of strength in both UK and export sales.

"Investors will be keen to assess growth rates achieved since year end, with the order intake for the Autumn 2011 collection having been described as 'encouraging' in March, and wenoted with interest the strong performance in the 'non-apparel' category reported by Burberry at the end of May," Altium analysts said.

"Progress on planned expansion across core territories will also be a key point of focus given the significant growth potential in some of the largest global luxury goods markets, where Mulberry's present footprint remains extremely low."

Also on Thursday, the industrial equipment hire firm Ashtead will post its annual figures. Numis Securities is forecasting a good performance, expecting the company to report 12 per cent growth in revenues to £936m, with £286m in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. Pre-tax profits are estimated at a healthy £30.7m.

"The key for investors will be the outlook for the current year, particularly rental rates which started to improve during (the 2010-2011 period)," the broker said.

"We believe that Ashtead will continue to enjoy a cyclical upswing to add to the structural trend of more contracting out to rental companies rather than direct ownership."

Results/Updates: Ashtead, WS Atkins Consort Medical, Premier Farnell, Umeco and Mulberry.


Results/Updates: None significant.

Economics Diary


Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin for the second quarter; UK regional PMI data.


RICS UK housing market survey; Monthly inflation figures; CML regulated mortgage survey; DCLG house price index; Manpower quarterly UK employment outlook survey.


Scottish retail sales monitor; Monthly unemployment figures; Chancellor George Osborne delivers annual Mansion House speech.


Monthly car production figures.


Eurozone trade balance figures.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - City, London

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions