TWO of the UK high street’s most traditional names, Halfords and Mothercare, report results this week with the City using them as a barometer for the consumer climate.
The companies have been trying to navigate choppy economic waters as government budget cuts and a looming VAT hike take their toll on cash-strapped shoppers. Halfords has seen sales of Satnavs fall while its car maintenance arm, Autocentres, has been trading below expectations.
Management has forecast profit in the range of £67m to £69m for the half year – a rise of 11 per cent compared with the same period last year.
Keith Bowman, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said: “Group financing arrangements and the company’s to date progressive dividend policy may prove features. Prior to the results, market consensus opinion currently denotes a strong hold.”
Meanwhile baby and children’s retailer Mothercare will report its half-year result on Wednesday. The group’s international sales were outstripping those in the UK, with further expansion in India in the company’s sights. The results come in a week where the British Retail Consortium will issue sales volumes figures, which are forecast to have risen by a slender 0.3 per cent in October.