Stagecoach’s buses are motoring ahead

PERTH-BASED transport group Stagecoach is a corporate highlight this week, along with an expected return to profits growth for retailer Carpetright.

Stagecoach is expected to have been boosted by a strong performance at its UK regional bus arm when it puts out full-year profits on Wednesday. The group is forecast to have increased underlying profits to £210 million for the year to 30 April, up from £202.5m.

Chairman Sir Brian Souter has already reported UK ­regional bus revenues up 3.6 per cent in the first 11 months of its financial year.

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Underlying sales in its UK rail arm, which includes South West Trains out of London Waterloo and East Midlands Trains, rose 5.4 per cent over the same period. Virgin Rail, in which Stagecoach holds a 49 per cent stake, increased revenues 3.1 per cent.

The company said recently that current trading its US arm remained good and its prospects are positive.

The City will be looking for signs of a boost from the UK’s recovering housing market when Carpetright posts full-year results tomorrow.

Analysts are forecasting an improvement in underlying pre-tax profits to £9.6m from £4m a year earlier. Carpetright has seen UK like-for-like sales rise 2.5 per cent over the past year, boosted by store refurbishments, improved product ranges and increased digital marketing.

But the group still faces tough markets in the Netherlands, which dragged underlying European sales 10.5 per cent lower during the year.

Booming demand for tablet computers and smartphones is expected to have helped mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse ring up robust full-year profits when it reports on Wednesday, following similar robust performances from rivals Dixons and Argos.

Analysts predict underlying pre-tax profits of £60.3m against £58.3m last time.

On Thursday, pubs group Greene King is forecast to post annual pre-tax profits of £161.2m, up from £152m a year earlier.

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The group, which owns the Belhaven brewery in Dunbar and makes beers including Abbot Ale, has already flagged up a likely 2.2 per cent rise in retail sales for the year to 30 April.

The performance is despite a “slow” second half due to the winter snow.