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The week ahead: Supermarkets battle it out

Dougal Sharp, Innis & Gunn founder, will be celebrating this week as sales have soared. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Dougal Sharp, Innis & Gunn founder, will be celebrating this week as sales have soared. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

SUPERMARKET chains Sainsbury’s and Tesco are going head-to-head this week as they each issue trading updates on their performance over the ­sizzlingly-hot summer.

Figures last week from Kantar Worldpanel showed Sainsbury’s was the only “big four” retailer to increase its market share over the past year, growing from 16.4 per cent to 16.6 per cent, with Tesco’s slice of the £30 billion grocery market falling to 30.2 per cent from 30.9 per cent.

Kantar said each of the chains’ premium ranges – “Taste the Difference” and “Finest” respectively – had reported rising sales.

Today

• Homeserve – Chief executive Jonathan King is expected to use the household maintenance firm’s pre–close statement to update investors on his turnaround plans for the company and on the Financial Conduct Authority’s probe into the potential mis–selling of policies dating back to 2011.

• Innis & Gunn – The Edinburgh–based beer company will toast a 23 per cent rise in full–year sales to £9.1 million thanks to its international expansion, although pre–tax profits have fallen to £229,000 from £1.2m after the firm invested £1.5m in working capital, infrastructure and doubled its headcount to 32 to keep up with demand from customers.

Tomorrow

• Sainsbury’s – Britain’s third–largest grocery chain is tipped to chalk up its 35th consecutive quarter of sales growth when it unveils its second–quarter figures. In particular, sales of drinks and barbecue foods are expected to have soared during the summer heatwave.

• Manufacturing – The sector will kick–off this week’s hat–trick of purchasing managers’ index (PMI) surveys from market research firm Markit and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (Cips), with Howard Archer - chief UK economist at forecasting firm IHS Global Insight - predicting output will have expanded in September at its fastest pace since February 2011.

• Wolseley – A pick–up in construction sector activity in the UK and the United States is forecast to have boosted profits at the building materials supplier, which is posting its full–year figures.

Wednesday

• Tesco – Analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald believe chief executive Phil Clarke has to work harder to convince investors that his £1 billion turnaround plans – including sponsoring television series Downton Abbey and the launch of the Hudl tablet computer – are bearing fruit.

• Construction – Activity in the sector is expected to have risen in September at its fastest pace for six years, when the PMI survey is published.

Thursday

• Ted Baker – Opening stores from Abu Dhabi to Adelaide is forecast to have boosted sales at the fashion retailer, with half–year revenues and profits both expected to rise by a third as its expansion continues.

• Services – Economists think the power–house sector will have expanded at its fastest rate since December 2006, adding to hopes that the UK’s economic recovery is accelerating.

• EasyJet – Analysts will quiz the budget airline over whether the summer heatwave has affected bookings for the autumn when its trading update lands.

Friday

• United States – The key non–farm payroll figures from America will be studied for any hints as to when the Federal Reserve will begin “tapering” – ie, trimming – its quantitative easing support.

• Wood Group – The energy services outfit delivers its first trading update since being demoted from the FTSE 100 index earlier this month. In August, half–year profits were up 19 per cent.

 

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