Ocado to reveal its progress on road to profits

OCADO will be in the spotlight this week as the online grocer reveals whether it is edging closer to making a profit.

The firm has recently hired Sir Stuart Rose as chairman and is also gearing up to open a second distribution warehouse in Warwickshire.

Ocado, which was founded in 2000, is yet to go into the black. But it said it enjoyed a very merry Christmas after posting a 14 per cent rise in gross sales to £91.6m in the six weeks to 6 January.

Incoming Bank of England governor Mark Carney is also likely to grab the headlines on Thursday as he announces his intentions to MPs on the Treasury Select Committee.

And on the same day both the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and the European Central Bank (ECB) will announce their latest monthly decision on interest rates and quantitative easing (QE). Economists expect no change for either.

“We expect the MPC to keep its QE programme on hold in February, “ said Philip Rush of Nomura.

“The Inflation Report forecast is unlikely to convince many members that more needs to be done when most of the news has been positive in recent months. However, we would not rule out more being done. And just because we expect no new purchases does not mean we expect no gilts to be bought.”

In other economic news, the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) survey of the high street will point to how much effect January’s snowy weather had on retail sales. Construction and services PMIs will also shed light on how well the economy is faring, while a Halifax house prices survey and figures for new car registrations in January will give an idea of how much consumers have got to spend. Further economic cheer comes today from the Lloyds Business Barometer, which showed an 18-month high in confidence, with businesses betting their trading prospects are improving.

Randgold Resources is set to report its final figures today, at the start of a busy corporate reporting week.

Tomorrow’s line-up of yearly figures includes those of ARM Holdings, BP, BG Group and St Modwen Properties.

On Wednesday GlaxoSmithKline and Wolfson Microelectronics are set to give year-end figures, while Hargreaves Lansdown, Daily Mail and General Trust, Grainger, Quintain Estates, Homeserve, WS Atkins and Canaccord Financial will all update the market.

Smith & Nephew and Beazley will also give final results on Thursday, with further announcements expected from Vodafone, Compass Group, Avon Rubber, SuperGroup, Thomas Cook, ICAP, TUI Travel and Bellway.

On Friday Cable & Wireless Communications will report.