Debenhams to reveal impact of January snow on figures

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DEPARTMENT store chain ­Debenhams will reveal the full impact of January’s snowstorms in half-year results on Thursday after it warned over profits last month following a weather-hit start to the year.

It held promotional events during February in a bid to recover the lost sales, but said the impact on margins meant profits for the six months to 2 March would be around £120 million, against £128.5m a year earlier and City forecasts in the region of £131m. The group’s hopes for a rebound through its spring and summer ranges may also have been dashed by last month’s unseasonably chilly weather, which has hit many clothing retailers.

Fashion firm Burberry will reveal on Wednesday how trading has fared since a better-than-expected Christmas quarter thanks to healthy demand for luxury goods.

The group – famous for its red, black and camel check – posted a 13 per cent hike in underlying revenues to £464m in the three months to 31 December. Stripping out changes in space, the growth was 6 per cent.

Its festive performance eased investor concerns after the blue-chip company suffered a £1 billion slump in its market value amid fears that China’s appetite for the company’s luxury bags and coats may be on the wane.

Bookmaker William Hill’s fast-growing online division looks set to be the star performer again when it reports on first-quarter trading.

Increasing numbers of punters are betting via its mobile apps, and William Hill recently backed its flourishing online arm by spending £424m on taking full control of the 
operation.

The swoop on the 29 per cent stake held by gaming software partner Playtech came as it posted a 22 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £292.7m for 2012, driven by a third year of online revenues growth above 20 per cent.

Sports betting on mobile phones has been the biggest factor in the latest online improvement, particularly in-play bets in football, basketball and tennis.

Analysts at Canaccord Genuity said that while William Hill is up against tough results a year earlier, they predict a strong first quarter, “buoyed by a record Grand National and helpful run of football results”.