Dixons Retail to reveal continuing surge in sales

MORE sales cheer is on the cards from PC World and Currys parent Dixons Retail when it updates on trading on Thursday as it continues to benefit from the demise of rival Comet and a booming tablet computer market.

Deutsche Bank analyst Charlie Muir-Sands is expecting its like-for-like sales to have surged by 7 per cent across the UK and northern Europe over Dixons’ final quarter, maintaining the robust growth seen in the Christmas quarter.

Enterprise Inns – the UK’s biggest pub landlord, despite having no operations north of the Border – reports interim results on Tuesday after a weather-beaten first half and the collapse of its wines and spirits distributor.

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The Solihull-based group revealed a £1.5 million hit to net income from January’s snowfall, and analysts fear the second quarter would have been further impacted by the freezing early spring weather.

Like-for-like net income fell 4.4 per cent, or £5m, overall in the first 17 weeks of its financial year despite a buoyant Christmas and New Year.

The failure of drinks distributor Waverley in October 
dealt another blow, leading to a direct loss of around £1m of trading income as it was left unable to supply wines and spirits to its pubs.

Enterprise signed a replacement distribution deal with Carlsberg, but income was not expected to have returned to normal until the end of March.

Half-year figures from catering giant Compass come after it was dragged into the horsemeat scandal this year when it admitted that some of its sites – including two schools – had been supplied with burgers from an Irish processor involved in the crisis.

The Surrey-based group said in February that 13 sites in the Republic and 27 in Northern Ireland were supplied with burgers from Rangeland, whose 4oz Rangeburgers were found to contain 5 per cent to 30 per cent horse DNA.

The group, which also handles catering at major sporting events such as Wimbledon, the US and French Open tennis championships and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, described the findings as “totally unacceptable” and apologised to all those affected.

But it is expected to have been a solid first half otherwise, with Compass saying in March it expected underlying sales growth close to 5 per cent for the first half, excluding a hit from the timing of Easter.

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Britons escaping the UK’s weather misery should help budget airline EasyJet cut half-year losses.

The carrier, a recent entrant to the FTSE 100 index, has shrugged off higher fuel costs, the weak pound and squeezed consumer spending to continue growing in the six months to 31 March.

The group’s loss for the seasonally quieter first half is 
expected to be between 
£60m and £65m, compared with £112m a year ago and its January forecast of between £50m and £75m.