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The Week Ahead: Tesco set to admit it is losing ground to rivals

Toby Green
Sunday 10 June 2012 23:23 BST


After its boss Phil Clarke promised "to put the heart and soul back into Tesco" when unveiling its revival plan back in April, the UK's largest supermarket is still expected to announce on Monday that underlying sales from these shores fell over the first quarter.

Shore Capital's Clive Black is predicting a drop of between 1 and 2 per cent and highlights recent industry data showing that Tesco has been underperforming bitter rivals Sainsbury's (which is announcing results later in the week) and Asda.

Tesco's share price has lost a fifth since January's shock profit warning, and the analyst says the first-quarter results will "provide some clarity" about whether it was the first in a series or a one-off.

While the UK is set to be the main point of discussion, Panmure Gordon's Philip Dorgan says that away from domestic matters "the focus will be on the likely slowdown in the US", although he does not believe its Stateside business is that far away from profitability. Still, with Tesco's future in the country often discussed, he says he does not think Mr Clarke "will shy away from making the difficult decision if it is necessary".

Also kicking off the week will be Flybe, with the small-cap airline's full-year results. After the company said in April that the fourth quarter was in line with expectations, Charles Stanley's Douglas McNeill is expecting it to announce a pre-tax loss of £8m.

Results/Updates: Andor Technology, First Property Group, Flybe, Latchways and Tesco.


The small-cap pubs group Spirit unveils its interim management statement for the third quarter on Tuesday, and Numis Securities' Douglas Jack believes that despite "tough conditions" over the period trading will have remained in line with expectations. Like-for-like sales are likely to have slowed, he warns, but adds that these will accelerate again in the last three months of the financial year, thanks to the Diamond Jubilee as well as Euro 2012 and the Olympics.

Results/Updates: Alternative Networks, Carclo, CML Microsystems, Findel, Gooch & Housego, Kewill, Oxford Instruments, Park Group, Record, RPC Group, Spirit Pub Company, Ted Baker and Workspace Group.


While the period covered by rival Tesco's results earlier in the week does not include the Jubilee festivities, Sainsbury's on Wednesday will, and Panmure's Philip Dorgan points out that the double bank holiday weekend will be the second biggest of the year after Christmas.

The scribbler is expecting the first quarter to be another positive one for the grocer, forecasting like-for-like sales (excluding fuel) to have risen by little over 2 per cent, with its online groceries business seeing growth of 20 per cent.

Results/Updates: Creston, Hyder Consulting, Polar Capital, Sainsbury's, Sepura and WPP.


Premier Farnell's first-quarter results will come two days after the electronics distributor's AGM, which will mark the stepping down of boss Harriet Green. While Ms Green – who is joining Thomas Cook – is not actually leaving the company until the end of July, her replacement, Laurence Bain, will be in the top job by the time of the results, although RBC Capital Markets' David Greenall sees little or no change in the company's strategic direction. The analyst is expecting revenues to total £237m, down from £253m over the same period the previous year.

Results/Updates: Carphone Warehouse, Consort Medical, Halma,IG Group, Mulberry, Premier Farnell,PZ Cussons, Redhall, Wincanton and WS Atkins.


There's a scarcity of corporate results on Friday, but one event of note is a presentation from Filtrona for both analysts and investors. The focus will be the cigarette filter maker's so-called Vision 2015 strategy – one goal of which is to deliver like-for-like revenue growth in the mid-single digits – and Numis Securities' Mike Murphy believes that "once the stock market senses the group can deliver ... then there is scope for the shares to move materially higher".

Results/Updates: No major companies due to report.

Economics Diary

TODAY: Publication of International Monetary Fund report on Spanish banking system.

TOMORROW: Industrial production; Manufacturing production; NEISR GDP estimate; RICS house price balance; Trade balance.

WEDNESDAY: Eurozone industrial production; US business inventories; US PPI; US retail sales.

THURSDAY: European Central Bank monthly bulletin; Eurozone CPI;US CPI; US current account;US unemployment claims.

FRIDAY: US Empire State manufacturing index; US industrial production; US TIC long-term purchases; US University of Michigan consumer sentiment (preliminary).

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