The Week Ahead: Results due from Greene King, Carpetright, Carphone Warehouse and Stagecoach
- Credit: Archant
Full-year figures from pubs and brewing company Greene King, mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse and transport giant Stagecoach will be among the highlights this week, alongside an expected return to profits growth for flooring chain Carpetright.
The City will be looking for signs of a boost from the UK’s recovering housing market when Carpetright posts annual results on Tuesday.
The company has endured a tough few years, with the squeeze on consumer spending erodiing sales and profits, but results for the year to the end of April are expected to show a return to profits growth as the group has benefited from self-help measures led by new chief executive Darren Shapland.
Analysts are forecasting an improvement in underlying pre-tax profits to £9.6million, from £4m a year earlier – a marked turnaround after profits tumbled by 76% the previous year.
Booming demand for tablet computers and smartphones is expected to help Carphone Warehouse ring up robust annual profits when it reports on Wednesday.
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The firm, which recently called time on its joint venture with US giant Best Buy, saw profits leap 57% higher to £8.3mn in the first ahlf after a 10% surge in UK sales over the second quarter.
Analysts are expecting a strong performance since then – including like-for-like sales growth of 15% in the final quarter – to help full-year figures, with Citi experts pencilling in underlying pre-tax profits of £60.3m against £58.3m a year earlier.
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Another robust performance from Stagecoach’s UK regional bus arm should help the group report growing annual profits on Wednesday.
The group, which is one of the UK’s biggest bus and coach operators with around 8,000 vehicles, is forecast to increase underlying profits to £210m for the year to the end of April, up from £202.5m a year earlier.
The group reported UK regional bus sales up 3.6% in the first 11 months of its financial year. However, underlying sales in its UK rail arm, which includes South West Trains and East Midlands Trains, increased 5.4% over the same period against a year earlier, although Virgin Rail, in which it holds a 49% stake, increased sales by 3.1% during the 11 months.
While Stagecoach faces pressure from tough competition in the United States, it recently said current trading remains good and its prospects are positive.
Analysts at RBC Capital Markets said: “Reducing fuel cost pressures, plus modest wage cost pressure in UK bus should help, in our view, while in the UK rail arm, the succession of contracts to bid for could create additional value for the company if any are won.”
Greene King looks set to shake off the winter’s prolonged deep freeze and squeezed consumer climate by growing annual profits and sales.
The Bury St Edmunds-based company has already guided shareholders to expect a 2.2% increase in underlying retail sales for the year to the end of April.
Heavy snowfall during the winter meant the group endured a slow second half, but that followed a “very strong” initial six months.
Greene King, which operates around 2,300 pubs, restaurants and hotels including the Hungry Horse, Old English Inns and Loch Fyne brands, is forecast to post pre-tax profits of £161.2m for the year, up from £152m a year earlier, when it reports results on Thursday.
In line with other pubs groups, Greene King has focused on food sales and it sold a record 700,000 meals over the four-day Easter period.
But Numis Securities analyst Douglas Jack warned the group faces a tough year ahead. “Early 2013/14 trading should benefit from about 20% less rainfall year-on-year, but is up against tough comparatives due to last year’s Diamond Jubilee and Euro 2012,” he said.