Market watch: Thomas Cook announces job cuts and shop closures

STRUGGLING travel firm Thomas Cook is expected to reveal the closure of some 200 travel shops and 1,000 job cuts when it delivers its delayed full-year results on Wednesday.

The country’s second biggest tour operator, which sells more than 22 million holidays a year in the UK, is expected to make the announcement as it unveils a 31 per cent slide in pre-tax profits to £191 million for the year to September.

The board will be under pressure from investors and lenders to slash costs and turn the faltering business around following its plea for help last month.

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Evidence of falling inflation from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) should provide some comfort to struggling retailers this week while Carpetright and Supergroup will reveal how the weak consumer environment has affected them.

Recent falls in the cost of filling up a petrol tank, supermarket price wars and high street special offers are expected to have driven down the official rate of inflation for November. Economists expect the ONS to reveal on Tuesday that the consumer prices index fell to 4.8 per cent last month.

The country’s largest floor-covering retailer, Carpetright, is expected to reveal its worst first-half profits as a listed company on Tuesday as the spending squeeze takes its toll.

Analysts at Singer Capital expect the firm to report pre-tax profits of £1.2 million in the six months to 30 October, compared with £10m the previous year.

Supergroup, owner of the Superdry fashion label, will shed more light on how recent stock supply problems have impacted its performance with half-year results on Wednesday.

The company, which has 70 stores in the UK branded as Superdry and Cult, has already warned that profits for the financial year to April will be between £6m and £9m below forecasts.

But Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has weathered the storm on the high street and is expected to underline its resilience with a solid set of results on Thursday.

The company has taken advantage of the weak competition and is expected to report a 2 per cent rise in pre-tax profits for the half year.