The week ahead: Tesco expected to reveal sales slide

Tesco’s fledgeling recovery will come under renewed scrutiny on Wednesday when the UK’s biggest supermarket group – with a 30 per cent market share and £1 in every seven spent in the high street – is expected to unveil falling sales.

The group recently posted its first annual profits fall in nearly 20 years, down 51 per cent to £1.96 billion, hit by slowing sales growth and hefty writedowns. This included a £1.2bn hit from its failed foray into America with the Fresh & Easy brand.

Tesco’s chief executive Philip Clark said then that the UK turnaround continued, the company seeing its best same-floorspace sales growth for three years in the final trading quarter – up 0.5 per cent.

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But sales are expected to have suffered a relapse in the first three months of its new financial year as it has come up against a heavily price-cutting food retailing market and a strong performance from Sainsbury’s and Waitrose in particular. Broker Panmure Gordon forecasts a 1 per cent slip in Tesco’s like-for-like sales.

Tesco revealed a shift in strategy away from increasing store space to focus more on convenience outlets and online sales when it presented annual results in April.

Toy firm Hornby is likely to reveal a break-even performance when it reports annual results on Friday amid management upheaval.

New chairman Roger Canham is leading a hunt for a new chief executive after Frank Martin announced he would step down by the end of this month.

Hornby was hit in the past year by poor London Olympics merchandise sales, including model black taxis and red buses, which was compounded by supply chain problems. It led the company to fall £541,000 into the red in its first trading half to last September.

Analysts at Numis Securities predict Hornby will just barely stay in the black for the full year, against a £4.5 million profit in the previous 12 months.

Housebuilder Bellway is likely to provide further signs that the property market is recovering when it updates on recent trading on Friday.

Mortgage lender Nationwide revealed that prices saw their strongest year-on-year growth in 18 months in May.

Bellway’s half-time profits surged 47 per cent to £59.9m.