The Week Ahead: SuperGroup and M&S to update on high street

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The Independent Online

They may cater to rather different demographics, but investors interested in the state of the high street will be focusing on both SuperGroup and Marks & Spencer when the two companies update the market on Wednesday.

Although SuperGroup is announcing its preliminary results, given the fashion retailer has already said it expects its profits before tax will be between £49m and £52m, the focus instead is likely to be on its trading in the short term.

When it revealed back in May that its sales growth over the fourth quarter had slipped to 61 per cent from 87 per cent over the previous three months, the group ended up losing more than a fifth of its share price in only one session. In June, SuperGroup said that although its new financial year had started in a similarly tough manner, it was seeing an improvement, so investors will be hoping this has continued.

Peel Hunt's John Stevenson is not expecting too much, however, saying that with the company "struggling against both high street clearance sales (Superdry does not hold one) and hot weather, we suspect recent trading may not be a cause for excitement", although he points out that the amount of time since the last update is "a ridiculously short and unrepresentative period for any retailer".

Singer Capital, meanwhile, believes there is "scope for further clarity on key issues", including the effects of cotton-price inflation, and says it "will be looking for evidence of investment".

Marks & Spencer is announcing its trading statement for the first-quarter on the same day, and Matrix's Tom Gadsby highlights Debenham's strong recent update and data from John Lewis as reasons for optimism.

"We believe that the national hangover following the Royal Wedding spending spree is now a thing of the past, and that clothing sales have picked up at M&S too," says the analyst, who predicts Marks & Spencer's general merchandise like-for-like sales will stay flat, while food will have grown 3 per cent.

In a busy week for the sector, the luxury group Burberry issues its first-quarter comments on Wednesday, while Mothercare, Sports Direct and Primark owner Associated British Foods all update the market on Thursday.



Today

After updates from Hays and Robert Walters last week, Michael Page continues the run of results from the recruiters on Monday with its first-half figures. Peel Hunt's profit expectations for the full-year may be slightly more bearish than the market consensus, but the broker's analysts still expect it to reveal it has benefited "from a strong European market and continuing strength overseas".

Results/Updates: Michael Page.

Tomorrow

Concerns about a number of the explorers' developments in the North Sea means Numis Securities' Sanjeev Bahl is a touch cautious ahead of Premier Oil's trading and operations update on Tuesday, with the analyst saying he fears the FTSE 250 company's production estimates for 2012 and 2013 "are at risk".

Mr Bahl believes the start-up of its Huntington project could be pushed back over problems at Sevan Marine, the supplier of the floating production system. Meanwhile, he says its Froy and Cather projects – which are operated by DNO and EnCore Oil respectively – may also be hit by delays, so investors will be hoping for positive news on all three.

Results/Updates: Computacenter and Premier Oil.



Wednesday

Results/Updates: Burberry, Icap, JD Wetherspoon, Marks & Spencer and SuperGroup.



Thursday

Results/Updates: Ashmore, Associated British Foods, Fresnillo, Mothercare, Rio Tinto and Sports Direct.



Friday

Euromoney is updating the market on Friday with its interim management statement (IMS) for the third quarter, although Investec's Gareth Davies is not expecting "any material change in trading" following its first-half results in May.

Then, the publisher said it was on track to meet expectations, with its operating profit rising 10 per cent, but Mr Davies does note that comparatives will be more difficult for this period and adds that its outlook is likely to "be cautious ... given macro uncertainty".

The analyst also says the group could release more details on last month's acquisition of Ned Davis Research, specifically around synergies, although he does concede it may be a little early. If that is the case, he comments, "we would anticipate a further announcement from Euromoney within two weeks", predicting this "could prove a more significant positive rerating trigger".

Results/Updates: Electrocomponents, Euromoney, Experian and Spectris.

ECONOMICS DIARY

Today

Regional PMI data.



Tomorrow

BRC retail sales monitor; Monthly inflation figures; RICS housing market survey; Trade data; US Federal Open Market Committee minutes released; US trade data.



Wednesday

Eurozone industrial production data; Unemployment figures; US monthly budget statement.



Thursday

Eurozone CPI; US business inventories; US PPI; US retail sales.



Friday

US CPI; US University of Michigan consumer sentiment index.

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