London Report: Retailers set to reveal scale of 2013 hangover

RETAIL figures due this week will reveal whether Britain’s major brands are going into the New Year with a Christmas hangover.

Marks & Spencer and Tesco are both set to report on Thursday, and J Sainsbury on Wednesday, with figures likely to show retailers faced a dismal festive season.

Debenhams has already set the tone, issuing a profits warning last week, which was swiftly followed by the resignation of its chief financial officer Simon Herrick.

Analysts predict Marks & Spencer will report a third poor Christmas in a row, putting further pressure on chief executive Marc Bolland. Forecasts are for a drop of at least 0.5 per cent in like-for-like sales for December.

Tesco like-for-like sales for the six weeks to 4 January are predicted to fall by up to two per cent, while J Sainsbury may post its first decline in like-for-like sales for eight years.

Caledonia Investments will give a trading update today, followed by trading updates tomorrow from Costain Group, Dunelm Group and Topps Tiles.

On Wednesday Domino’s Pizza Group, Ferrexpo, Galliford Try, Persimmon, Tarsus Group and Robert Walters will join Sainsbury’s to update the market.

Thursday’s updates are due from Centamin, Greggs, Hays, Laird, Marks & Spencer, McBride, Rathbone Brothers, Restaurant Group, SIG, Ted Baker and Tesco.

Updates from Hilton Food Group, JD Sports Fashion, Nichols, T Clarke and XP Power will round off the week.

In economics news, today’s purchasing managers index (PMI) figures for services are expected to bring an upbeat outlook.

“2013 saw the CIPS services survey point to an impressively rapid recovery in the services sector. We think that the year will have closed with that recovery maintaining its pace,” said Samuel Tombs of Capital Economics.

The release of the Halifax House Prices survey is due tomorrow, followed by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shop price index on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday will bring a raft of economic news, including the Bank of England’s latest interest rate decision, then official figures for construction, manufacturing and trade on Friday.

The BRC is also set to release December sales figures on Friday, which are forecast to show a 0.6 per cent annual rise.