Retailers in the spotlight as Christmas approaches

Luxury handbag maker Mulberry is due to reveal first'half figures to the City this week. Picture: AFP/Getty
Luxury handbag maker Mulberry is due to reveal first'half figures to the City this week. Picture: AFP/Getty
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The strength of Britain’s economic recovery will be back in focus this week as George Osborne updates parliament with the latest official estimates.

By the time the Chancellor delivers his belated Autumn Statement on Thursday, economists will already have survey data from industry giving a glimpse of how well GDP growth is likely to hold up in the final quarter of the year.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said retail figures may provide pause for thought ahead of Christmas.

He said: “The British Retail Consortium survey may well indicate that consumers continued to limit their expenditure in November after spending at a robust rate through the third quarter.”

The week ahead

Today

• Manufacturing PMI – Solid growth looks assured but economists will be interested to see if input costs are easing after falls in the price of oil.

Tomorrow

• Retail Sales Monitor – The BRC’s monthly report will reflect a colder than average November, which usually favours clothing retailers.

• Scotsman conference – A comprehensive look at the White Paper on independence will be chaired by business and political commentator Peter Jones and feature a Q&A session with finance secretary John Swinney.

• Greene King – The pub group and brewer is expected to report back on a robust first half following the summer heatwave and as consumers continue to eat (and drink) out despite the squeeze on personal finances.

Wednesday

• Services PMI – The dominant services sector has surprised with rampant growth recently, and some believe a pause is likely as official figures are yet to catch up.

• Crowdfunding seminar – Lawyers at Harper Macleod in Glasgow will discuss the latest craze in equity fundraising.

• Tesco – Analysts are predicting like–for–like sales to have dropped by around 1.5 per cent in the supermarket giant’s third quarter.

Thursday

• Autumn Statement – Good news on the economy means Chancellor George Osborne will have some room to manoeuvre, but he is likely to remain cautious.

• MPC decision – Given its forward guidance, the Bank of England is likely to leave monetary policy on hold.

• Mulberry – First–half figures will give the luxury handbag maker a chance to redeem itself after heavy spending on overseas expansion dented its figures last year.

Friday

• Berkeley Group – Interim results are expected to confirm that the housebuilder’s selling prices put it outside of the remit of the Help to Buy scheme.