Costa owner set to gain from cold snap

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Results from Whitbread, owner of the Brewers Fayre and Premier Inn chains, are likely to show that Britain’s love affair with frothy coffee shows no signs of abating.

While the unseasonable weather is expected to have dented takings at its restaurant arm, analysts believe the cold snap will have boosted demand at Whitbread’s Costa chain. Tomorrow’s first-quarter trading update is predicted to show a 3 per cent rise in sales at Costa, where the group is targeting sales of about £2 billion by 2018.

Tomorrow also brings a trading update from Glasgow-based temporary power supplier Aggreko, which will be closely examined for signs of any new deals. Analysts at Charles Stanley said the firm has announced no significant orders since it last updated the market in April, when it reported first-quarter revenue growth of 8 per cent.

Majestic Wine will be looking to toast another rise in annual profits today, despite the wash-out summer.

Last year’s bottom line figure increased by 14.5 per cent, but analysts at Investec expect growth of 1.7 per cent to £23.6 million for the year to the end of March.

The wine warehouse, which has 189 stores and generates around 10 per cent of its retail business online, managed to push half-year profits up by 4 per cent, despite the poor weather forcing the cancellation of a large number of outdoor events.

Annual results from Currys and PC World owner Dixons, due on Thursday, are expected to show the gadgets retailer continues to benefit from the demise of rival Comet.

In an update to the City last month, the group said its full-year underlying pre-tax profits would be at the top end of expectations of £75m to £85m, up from £70.8m the previous year.

Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said Dixons was also benefiting from the recovery in the housing market, which has been boosting demand for white goods.

Regional airline Flybe is expected to dive deeper into the red when it reports annual figures on Friday after a turbulent year.

The carrier, headed by Scots-born chairman and chief executive Jim French, recently warned that losses for the year to March would be bigger than feared at around £23m due to higher fuel costs and the tough economy.