Everyone loves a bargain, and if the latest figures from John Lewis are anything to go by, the discounting bonanza Black Friday, imported from the US, may have saved the UK retail sector from embarrassment.
The absence of a real cold snap to send shoppers rushing out for a new coat or set of thermals was apparently stifling the high street to the point that the British Retail Consortium’s figures for November, out tomorrow, would have made for worrying reading were it not for the big day of battling for bargains.
But as economist Howard Archer says: “A key question will be to what extent strong sales on Black Friday have just pulled forward sales from December?”
• Eurozone – Greece is back on top of the agenda as finance ministers from the 18-country bloc meet to discuss extending its bail-out.
• Retail sales – The British Retail Consortium’s monthly figures will show whether UK chains’ attempts to replicate Black Friday were enough to make up for sluggish clothing sales caused by earlier unseasonably warm weather.
•Iomart – The Glasgow-based web hosting specialist has already hinted that it kept up its stellar growth rate in the six months to the end of September.
• Manufacturing – Output from British factories is expected to have risen by a modest 0.2 per cent month-on-month in October, after an increase of 0.4 per cent September.
• Johnston Carmichael – The Scottish accountancy group is due to publish figures for what it previously said would be a year of record investment as the practice geared up for the economic recovery.
• Stagecoach – The Perth-based group’s capture of the high-profile East Coast mainline franchise means it will have the ear of the City when it reports its half-year results.
• Balance of trade – With the euro area economy struggling to find any growth momentum and demand weak, Britain’s trade deficit is unlikely to have bounced back significantly from its slide to more than £9 billion seen in September, although economists say a small improvement is due.
• SuperGroup – New chief executive Euan Sutherland will present half-year results against a backdrop of tough conditions caused by Britain’s Indian summer. The firm behind the SuperDry brand is expected to announce a profits slump of 22 per cent to £14 million in the six months to 25 October.
• Sports Direct – Mike Ashley’s firm is expected to show a clean pair of heels in the sports retail market when it presents half-year results. Citigroup forecasts pre-tax profits up 15.3 per cent to £165m.
• Dundee Waterfront – Dundee City Council’s director of development Mike Galloway will be in Edinburgh to showcase investment opportunities in the £1bn regeneration project.
• Wood Group – Analysts will be braced to hear of any signs that the recent slide in oil prices – and the new-found pessimism in the sector – is seeping through to the energy services industry.
• Credit rating – S&P and Fitch are due to update their ratings; they currently rate the UK at AAA and AA+ respectively.
• Bellway – The builder will lead the way among listed peers with an update on autumn trading.
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