The Week Ahead: Results due from Marks & Spencer, Vodafone, Halfords and Mothercare

M&S chief executive Mark Bolland

M&S chief executive Mark Bolland - Credit: Archant

Lower profits will heap more pressure on Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland this week when the retailer joins Vodafone, FirstGroup and Mothercare in releasing results.

M&S is expected to unveil a slide in annual profits tomorrow, a week after its new fashion team showed off the ranges they hope will help buck the decline.

Weaker clothes sales led to an executive makeover last year at the retail giant, with John Dixon brought from the M&S food division as head of general merchandise and former Debenhams and Jaeger boss Belinda Earl appointed style director.

The reshuffle hit a snag when “Knicker Queen” Janie Schaffer, hired to shake up the firm’s underwear division, walked out as director of lingerie and beauty after just three months. She was replaced by Next’s Jo Jenkins.

Mr Bolland, who took over as chief executive in 2010, has said the impact of the changes would not be felt until after this year’s spring and summer lines, put together by the previous regime - making the launch of the autumn range a few days ago a key test.


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Analysts expect profits will fall by nearly 7% from £705.9million to £658m when the retailer unveils full-year profits for 2012/13. Estimates at the start of the financial year had been for a figure of around £710m.

Strong food sales are expected to offset the falls in general merchandise, leading to a sales increase of up to 1.3% in the full-year results.

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Vodafone’s full-year results will be released tomorrow amid continued speculation over a deal with its American partner.

The mobile phone operator holds a 45% stake of Verizon Wireless. Earlier this month it announced that it was to receive a hefty £2.1billion split of the company’s dividend share, and said it would announce how it plans to use the cash at the time of its full-year results.

But there have been consistent reports that Verizon, which owns 55% of Verizon Wireless, is considering a buy-out of the rest of the stake or planning to make a bid for Vodafone outright.

Analysts expect results to show full-year adjusted operating profits up from £11.53b to £11.62bn, but revenues down from £46.42bn to £44.36bn.

Halfords chief executive Matt Davies will outline his plans for the retailer on Thursday when it reveals its first annual results since he took over in October.

The former Pets At Home boss replaced David Wild, who stepped down from the car parts and leisure firm in July amid a profits warning and a sharp sales decline.

Full-year pre-tax profits have been pencilled in at £71.6m by analysts, a sharp fall from £92.2m figure in 2012, with the figure blamed on costs increasing at a higher rate than revenue during the financial year.

Baby products chain Mothercare will report more progress with its turnaround on Thursday as the offloading of loss-making stores and overseas expansion put it on a firmer footing.

While store closures are expected to cut revenues, the group looks set to increase underlying earnings when it publishes results for the year to the end of March.

A consensus of analyst forecasts point to underlying profits of £6.6m, up from £1.6m a year earlier. However, its closure of 56 poorly-performing stores in the past year could hurt bottom line figures.

Last month the group shrugged off the freezing spring by reporting better-than-expected sales figures, reporting flat UK like-for-like sales in the 11 weeks to March 30, against a fallof 6% in the previous quarter.

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