Plans by Mothercare to become a lean and more competitive business will be tested this week, while housebuilder Bellway will give insight into the property market.
Mothercare’s UK sales are expected to show a modest improvement on Thursday, as online growth offsets an ongoing weak performance at its stores. The group, which owns the Early Learning Centre, is forecast by analysts at N+1 Singer to report a 5 per cent drop in like-for-like sales in the second quarter of the year, compared to a near-7 per cent drop in the first quarter.
After a difficult period, the company has recently sounded more optimistic, with new boss Simon Calver’s plan to reduce UK store numbers from 311 to 200 by 2015 on track. The babycare firm, which slumped to a £103 million loss in the year to March, has also seen its revamped website start to deliver positive sales growth.
Final results from housebuilder Bellway tomorrow should confirm a sharp rise in profits as it benefits from a shift towards more traditional family homes.
The Newcastle-based group saw profits leap 69 per cent to £40.6m in the six months to 31 January, and analysts expect this trend to have continued at the full-year stage, pencilling in a rise from £67.2m to £100m.
However, the city will be interested to hear how the market has fared since its year-end.
Bellway – the UK’s fourth-biggest housebuilder – has shifted towards family homes and away from flats, as they are more exposed to first-time buyers who are struggling to get on the property ladder. Profits have also been boosted by the impact of purchasing cheaper land.
Trading updates are due from both Ladbrokes and William Hill, but attention will be focused on William Hill’s take-over plans for online gaming firm Sportingbet as the deadline for a deal looms.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west