The Week Ahead: Little cheer for retailers after bad winter and VAT

After extreme weather hit the festive period, it is no secret that – with the rise in VAT just one of its headaches – the retail sector has suffered a tough 2011, and Debenhams aren't expected to produce any positive surprises tomorrow.

UBS believes its UK sales will have slowed by around 3 per cent over the past seven weeks, although the broker does predict the group's figures will look slightly healthier overall thanks to Magasin, the Danish department store business it bought in 2009 for £12.3m.

Kate Calvert, an analyst at Seymour Pierce, feels synergies from the acquisition will mean its gross margin should see an improvement from last year, although she hopes Debenhams "will break out Magasin from the numbers... so that the UK performance is clearer."

Although Calvert gives it a "buy" rating, saying "its valuation is undemanding for its future growth prospects", she adds it was "difficult to see how its shares and the sector will perform in the short term given the economic headwinds and rising commodity prices".

Nomura agrees that the rest of the financial year will not bring much cheer, but its analysts are expecting some growth in the following 12 months "given this year's weather disruption, recommencement of the rolling refurbishment program and continued market share gains."



Today

It released a detailed trading update back in January, so Bovis Homes' preliminary results – released today – are not expected by Numis Securities' Chris Millington to surprise. There will be interest, believes the analyst, in how the housebuilder sees trading in the current environment as well as "its progress on its strategy to increase asset turn through increased outlets and potential land swaps from large sites".

Results/Updates: Bovis Homes.



Tomorrow

G4S updates the market with its preliminary results on Tuesday off the back of a good run for the blue-chip security services group which has seen its share price gain over 10 per cent since the beginning of December. Analysts from Panmure Gordon are expecting it to reveal profits-before-tax of £421.7m, towards the top end of the market consensus, and anticipate a "pick-up in organic growth".

They also feel it will benefit from the increased reliance on outsourcers from the public sector in the UK, and note that comments from its peers regarding Government contracts "do not show much pricing pressure... so this could be a source of upside potential as we progress through the year".

Results/Updates: Close Brothers, Debenhams, G4S and Royal Dutch Shell.

Wednesday

Over the past year, Greggs has highlighted the good value of its baked products, so Wednesday's preliminary results will be an opportunity to see how it has been performing in the current economic climate. Analysts from Shore Capital believe it will release an "encouraging set of results against a very challenging UK consumer and commodity backdrop", and predict its annual pre-tax profit will increase by more than 7 per cent. However, they expect trading for 2011 will "have remained subdued", but add that they are confident "sales growth will modestly accelerate as we move through the year... driven by the self-help initiatives across the group".

Results/Updates: Greggs, Hikma Pharmaceuticals and Marston's.



Thursday

With Legal & General's full-year results, JP Morgan Cazenove feels a major point will be "whether there is any further surprise potential in [its] figures, or whether the market is now more or less up with events given the great steps in transparency the group took in 2010". The broker is expecting impressive numbers thanks to strong equity markets, while it also assumes that Aviva's recent results means "annuity pricing remains favourable".

The global advertising sector has seen a decent set of updates recently, with WPP, Omnicom and Publicis all releasing strong figures. Numis Securities is optimistic about Aegis' preliminary results, noting that for the third-quarter it "reported the strongest... organic growth rate of the larger agency groups".

As it is the first full-year results from the group's new management, the broker expects its guidance for the year ahead will "remain cautious, whilst highlighting the potential benefits to both margins and revenues from [its] strategy of focusing on cross-selling media buying clients additional products and services, fulfilling demand for fully integrated media campaigns".

Results/Updates: Aegis, Investec, Legal & General, Premier Farnell and SIG.



Friday

Results/Updates: Jupiter Fund Management.

Economics Diary

Today

EU industrial production.



Tomorrow

US Federal Open Market Committee meeting; US import and export price data.



Wednesday

Average earnings index; Claimant count change; US PPI.



Thursday

CBI industrial order expectations; Consumer inflation expectations; US CPI; US Philadelphia Fed survey; US real earnings.



Friday

Consumer confidence index.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin visits her 1990s work ‘My Bed’ at Tate Britain in London, where it is back on display from today
artsBut how does the iconic work stand up, 16 years on?
ebooks
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
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Client Services Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor