Burberry and WH Smith in the spotlight

A RAFT of economic information due out tomorrow will shed light on whether the UK is gradually pulling out of its double-dip recession.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) will release its sales data for September, following a gloomy August where the Olympics failed to boost spending and like-for-like retail figures fell 0.4 per cent compared to 2011.

Other data will include August numbers for the UK’s industrial production, manufacturing and trade balance while the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) will release its monthly GDP estimate.

Last month NIESR suggested output had grown by 0.2 per cent in the three months ending in August and, late last month, the Office for National Statistics revised its figures, suggesting the recession is not as bad as first thought. The ONS said the economy shrank by 0.4 per cent between April and June, less than the 0.7 per cent it previously thought.

In corporate news, Michael Page International is set to update the market today. Recruitment specialist Hays, UK Mail Group and HgCapital Trust are all set to report tomorrow.

On Wednesday Avanti Communications Group will give a final report.

On Thursday WH Smith will give its year-end report while Greggs and Burberry are also set to give their latest figures.

Under the steady hand of Kate Swann, who took over at WH Smith nine years ago, the stationery retailer has increased profits, despite tough competition in the new era of digital book selling. This week she is expected to unveil pre-tax profits of £100m.

The good news will coincide with what is coined “Super Thursday” – the day the book industry releases the titles that are expected to the most popular Christmas gifts.

The news is not likely to be as good for Burberry, which has lately lost its title as all-weather City success story.

Last month the fashion label shocked investors with a profit warning – sending shares down 19 per cent – and this week it will spell out the figures in detail.

In July, Burberry reported a slowdown in first-quarter sales in China, a market which has been one of the main drivers of a boom in luxury brands.