BANKING giant HSBC and supermarket group Sainsbury’s will unveil keenly-awaited updates this week, which also brings the latest snapshot of the health of the retail sector.
HSBC boss Stuart Gulliver is expected to detail up to 20,000 job cuts when he delivers his strategy update tomorrow. The bank recently said it was considering moving out of the UK in the wake of reforms stemming from the financial crisis.
Sainsbury’s trading statement on Wednesday is tipped to show a sixth successive quarter of falling like-for-like sales, although economists believe data from the CBI, due out tomorrow, will reveal “healthy” retail sales growth for May.
• Drax – The owner of the UK’s largest power station, in North Yorkshire, releases a trading update ahead of first–half results due next month. The business is shifting away from coal towards biomass in a move aimed at delivering carbon dioxide savings of 12 million tonnes a year - the equivalent of taking 10 per cent of the UK’s cars off the roads.
• HSBC – Plans for up to 20,000 job losses are expected when the bank gives a strategic update to investors. Chief executive Stuart Gulliver is also likely to be quizzed on the bank’s review into whether to relocate its headquarters. It recently said it was mulling a move away from the UK following “regulatory and structural reforms” that include the need for lenders to separate investment banking from their retail divisions.
• Iomart – Annual results are due from the Glasgow–based cloud computing and web hosting firm, which has predicted “another good set of results”, helped by a string of recent acquisitions.
• Energy Assets – The power meter supplier, based in Livingston, also releases full–year figures. Chief executive Phil Bellamy–Lee said in April that trading during the year to 31 March had been “strong”.
• CBI – The employers’ organisation publishes its retail sales monitor for May, and IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer said a robust reading “would fuel hopes that buoyant consumer spending could help the UK economy regain appreciable momentum in the second quarter and GDP growth moderated to just 0.3 per cent in the first quarter”.
• Sainsbury’s – Brokers at Jefferies expect the UK’s third-biggest supermarket to report a 1.8 per cent fall in like–for–like sales for the first quarter, following a drop of 1.9 per cent in the previous period. Latest data from market researcher Kantar Worldpanel shows takings dipped by 0.3 per cent in the 12 weeks to 24 May, with rival Morrisons the only one of the “big four” chains to enjoy a rise, albeit of just 0.1 per cent.
• Home Retail Group – The Argos owner is forecast to report a fall in sales for the first three months of its new financial year. The brand’s 755 branches are two years into a five–year revamp, introducing newly–designed stores and iPads for ordering products instead of catalogues, but chief executive John Walden has admitted its technology has struggled to cope at times of “extreme” online demand.
• Scottish Edge – A total of 26 entrepreneurs will battle it out to win up to £100,000 in grants and loans to help grow their businesses, with the winners to be announced at RBS’s Gogarburn head office.