MArket Watch: Patriotic party-goers tipped to lift sales at Sainsbury’s

RETAILERS will come into focus this week as Carphone Warehouse, Sainsbury’s and gift card firm Park provide an insight into consumer spending.

Strong sales of party food and patriotic fare for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee are likely to help Sainsbury's hold its own in the supermarket price war on Wednesday.

The UK's third-biggest grocer was one of the main sponsors of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and is thought to have benefited more than most of its rivals from the long weekend of celebrations.

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It capitalised on the event by organising its own Jubilee Family Festival in Hyde Park, featuring performances from BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing, and working with brands including Andrex and Persil to develop exclusive products emblazoned with the Union Flag.

Sainsbury’s is expected to report a strong performance in the 12 weeks to 9 June, helping it maintain its share of a competitive market.

Carphone Warehouse has already admitted that profits at it main European division will be flat on last year as it grapples with a slump in its pre-pay mobile phone markets.

The company has said underlying profits at its European business are expected to be around £135 million in the year to 31 March when it reports on Thursday. Pre-tax profits at the overall group, which also includes its stake in Virgin Mobile France, will be down, reflecting the sale of its stake in the Best Buy Mobile business in North America for more than £800m, which triggered a payout to shareholders.

The rising popularity of pre-paid gift cards will help voucher group Park deliver a “strong financial performance" in its full-year results on Tuesday. The group has heavily invested in Flexecash, its prepaid card system.

Week ahead

Monday: Flybe, Tesco

Tuesday: Eckoh, Findel, Park, Spirit, Ted Baker

Wednesday: Sainsbury’s

Thursday: Carphone Warehouse, Mulberry, WS Atkins

Friday: No major companies reporting