Next week’s financial calendar isn’t quite as packed as the week just past, but there will be two crucial updates for the grocery retail sector as Sainsbury’s and Asda release their quarterly trading figures.
The week kicks off with full-year results from Carr’s Milling Industries on Monday – the ingredients firm’s share price has trended downwards since early summer (13.5% down from early June), but it is forecast to post a small earnings increase on falling revenues.
The big release of week is Sainsbury’s interim results on Wednesday, which may include an update on the slightly surprise strategic review Mike Coupe announced in its 1 October trading statement. The widespread review is likely to touch on pricing strategy, store openings, costs, dividend payments and even possible divestments – how much Coupe will reveal about the review on Wednesday remains to be seen. What Sainsbury’s has already revealed is that the results will detail a fall in like-for-like sales of 2.8% in the second quarter and a 2.1% fall in first half of the half-year. The trading update caused a widespread downgrade of full-year profit expectations, with consensus forecasts currently at £670m (down from £898m last year).
Also scheduled in the calendar on Wednesday is a trading statement from WH Smith, which last month posted an 8% increase in full-year pre-tax profit despite a 3% decline in like-for-like sales.
Moving to Thursday and its Asda’s turn in the spotlight when Wal-Mart issues its Q3 earnings. Asda is the only one of the big four maintaining its market share, according to Kantar figures, which suggested its sales rose by 1% in the 12 Weeks to 12 October 2014. In the second quarter Asda reported that it grew like-for-like sales by 0.5% (up from 0.1% lfl growth in the first quarter).
SABMiller will also issue its half year numbers on Thursday, having previously warned of a 1% dip in second-quarter beverage volumes after a marked slowdown of beer sales in Asia Pacific (though beverage volumes grew by 1% for the first six months). SABMiller’s shares have risen by over 13% so far this year despite pressure on volumes as speculation persists it remains a takeover target for AB InBev. SABMiller itself failed with an approach for Heineken in September.
Finally on Thursday, Brazilian food group Marfrig – owner of Irish poultry firm Moy Park – issues its Q3 results. Last month Marfrig said the decision on whether to float Moy Park of US business Keystone Foods had been postponed until 2015.
In terms of economic updates, the BRC Sales Monitor will be out on Tuesday while Wednesday brings the quarterly Bank of England inflation report. Interest rates are now expected to be held at historic lows until well into 2015, unless the inflation report contains and major surprises.
Thursday brings the ONS’ gross domestic product and the labour market figures for the third quarter.