The Week Ahead: Well-targeted advertising pays off for M&S

High Street bellwether Marks & Spencer promises to hog the headlines with a second-quarter trading update, due on Wednesday.

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, forecasts a 2 per cent rise in sales at the retailer, with UK sales up 1 per cent. It also expects to hear of market share gains in clothing, as the improved product offer and what Merrill terms a "well-targeted marketing spend" begin to pay off. "We think M&S's Portfolio brand has performed very well, Per Una is now in better shape and we expect [the group] to benefit from a more balanced price architecture, and from a gradual improvement in older shoppers' consumer confidence."

Analysts also expect some good news about M&S's gross margins, with Deutsche Bank saying the retailer is on track to deliver a much smaller gross margin decline (minus 70 basis points) this year than its current guidance (minus 125 to minus 175 basis points). "We expect management to change this guidance," Deutsche added, saying that it expected the revision to come either this Wednesday or in early November, when M&S posts its half-year results.

Today: This morning's final results from the building materials company Wolseley should hold no surprises, according to Panmure Gordon. Any strategy-related comments from Ian Meakins, appointed to the board as chief executive in July, are likely to be in focus, the broker said, retaining its "sell" stance on the group's shares.

Results/updates: Origin Enterprises and Wolseley.

TOMORROW: The newspaper group Daily Mail & General Trust's pre-close trading update should show some easing in the rate of decline in advertising, albeit largely owing to improved comparatives, predicts Deutsche Bank. "The balance of risks with DMGT is, in our view, now the reverse of recent patterns and against the recent case for owning the stock – that is, we now see more upside risks to newspaper forecasts but see more downside risks in [the] non-newspapers [business]," the broker said. "In sentiment terms, downgrades to non-newspapers, even if offset in newspapers, might be negatively received."

Also tomorrow, Numis expects news of £100m in pre-tax profits and 54.2p in underlying earnings per share when Close Brothers posts preliminary results. Numis said however that there could be some upside to these numbers: the banking impairment rate may turn out lower than the 2.9 per cent forecast, and the Winterflood business "appears to have experienced another record half year in trading volumes," the broker said.

It added that any upgrade to the future forecasts will depend on how reassuring the company is that impairment is now at a peak, whether Winterflood volumes can be sustained, the continued performance of the asset management division, and lastly the completion of rumoured corporate transactions, if they are earnings enhancing.

Results/updates: Diary Crest, Future, Compass, TUI Travel, Close Brothers and Daily Mail & General Trust.

WEDNESDAy: The software group Misys is due to post an interim management statement. While it is likely to evidence continued weakness in initial license fee sales, the outlook should be positive, according to Panmure Gordon, which expects the company to confirm estimates for the current year.

"Misys is likely to suggest that, whilst trading remains tough, it has seen a recent improvement in the sales pipeline at its treasury and capital markets and banking divisions," the broker said. "The turnaround has been dramatic ... and Misys is configured to deliver a positive earnings surprise in an improving [macroeconomic] environment, yet operationally the short term remains uncertain and Bankfusion delivery is dragging."

Results/updates: Motivcom, Thomas Cook, Man, Smiths Group, Misys and Marks & Spencer.

THURSDAy: Numis expects a strong update from Domino's Pizza UK & Ireland, which is due to post a third-quarter interim management statement. Like-for-like sales (up 7 per cent in the first half) and margins are likely to remain resilient. "The risk to forecasts for 2009 should be on the upside, given that they assume just 5 per cent like-for-like sales growth and a 90 basis point margin reduction in the second half," the broker said.

"At present, we are forecasting 16 per cent earnings per share growth in 2009, but believe around 25 per cent growth could be achievable."

Results/updates: Trading Emissions and Domino's Pizza UK & Ireland.

FRIDAY: Results/updates – Helphire.

Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday


Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would

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

The benefits of Recruitment at SThree...

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Finance Assistant - Part time - 9 month FTC

£20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...

Marketing Manager

£40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities