The Week Ahead: Updates due from Ocado, Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and N Brown

Ocado is due to report annual results

Ocado is due to report annual results - Credit: PA

The recovery in Britain’s property market will be highlighted this week when housebuilders Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey update on trading, while online retailer Ocado will report on a buoyant first half.

The recovery in Britain’s property market will be highlighted this week when housebuilders Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey update on trading, while online retailer Ocado will report on a buoyant first half.

The half-year results Ocado on Tuesday come after the group’s recent coup in securing a 25-year, £170million deal with Morrisons to enable the supermarket to sell food on the web.

The move angered Ocado’s largest supplier, Waitrose, which has since appointed lawyers to study the agreement between Morrisons and Ocado, but was applauded by investors, sending shares to an all time.

Ocado, which employs around 6,000 people, also said in May it had seen a strong start to the year, setting the scene for a decent set of interim results. Underlying earnings are expected to rise by a fifth to £18.1m in the first half, thanks to a forecast rise in net revenues to £355.8m.

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The group is predicted to sink into the red on a pre-tax basis with £2.4m of losses after notching up £400,000 in underlying profits a year earlier, but the figures are set to have been impacted by the inclusion on its balance sheet of its second distribution centre at Dordon, Warwickshire.

Its last set of annual figures showed it moving to the brink of its first full-year profit as losses narrowed to £600,000 from £2.4m a year earlier.

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Government support for the housing market should help housebuilder Persimmon report more strong growth when it updates on recent trading on Tuesday.

Britain’s housebuilders have been on a roll in recent months, boosted by state stimulus aimed at getting more people on the housing ladder and spurring a construction recovery.

That has underpinned a share price surge which recently returned the York-based company to the FTSE 100 index after a five-year absence.

In April Persimmon said more potential buyers had been flocking to its developments and websites, and the City expects this interest to translate into higher sales and reservations.

Perismmon credited Chancellor George Osborne’s new Help to Buy measures, a £5.4billion package of loans and guarantees announced in March, for driving “encouraging improvements” in visitors and reservations.

Mortgage guarantees which launch next year also aim to support another £130bn of high loan-to-value mortgages, by shifting the risk of default away from lenders on to the State.

Analysts at Deutsche Bank predict a “significant pick-up in reservations”, adding: “Persimmon will offer a robust trading outlook and while the statement may refrain from including full-year 2013 guidance we believe strong reservations and margin progression may drive upside to consensus estimates.”

Fellow housebuilder Taylor Wimpey is also set to confirm improving market conditions when it updates on trading on Thursday.

By April its total order book was up 18% to £1.2bn over the same stage in 2012, with prices and margins improving.Private reservations were up to 0.67 sales per outlet, from 0.62 per outlet a year earlier, with growth led by the buoyant London and the South East markets.

Analysts expect the builder to report more growth, and Citigroup believes it could even be close to returning money to shareholders.

The new boss of N Brown will face investors for the first time on Tuesday as the home shopping group’s customer recruitment drive begins to pay off. Sales are rising among customers of its younger brands, such as Simply Be, Jacamo and Fashion World, helping to offset slower trading among brands such as JD Williams, Fifty Plus, Marisota and Julipa, where older customers are watching their spending.

The company recently posted growing annual revenues and profits as sales to new shoppers surged 24%.

New chief executive Angela Spindler, the former managing director of Debenhams who joins from discount chain The Original Factory Shop, replaces long-standing boss Alan White tomorrow.

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