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Supermarkets to dominate this week

It&rsquo;s off to the supermarket this week, with Tesco and J Sainsbury both due to give investors a taste of how the year is shaping up.<br /><br />Tesco reports its interims tomorrow, which will include Tesco Personal Finance (TPF) as a consolidated entity for the first time. UBS expects the chain to indicate that it is making headway against its peers, as it continues to close the like-for-like deficit.<br /><br />Charles Stanley forecasts pre-tax profit of &pound;1.5m on sales of &pound;28.6m. It expects like-for-like sales to have increased by four per cent, lower than that of its peers.<br /><br />Sainsbury&rsquo;s will follow up with a second-quarter trading update on Wednesday, and Numis expects it to continue to post an &ldquo;impressive&rdquo; like-for-like performance. But the broker still sees the shares as &ldquo;too rich for us&rdquo;, trading on over 14 times&nbsp; 2009 estimated earnings. <br /><br />Sticking with groceries, Northern Foods will also give a trading update tomorrow. The food producer has benefited from the warm weather that has boosted sandwich and salad sales. <br /><br />Michael Page will also update the market on Wednesday, reporting its third-quarter sales figures. UBS expects the organic revenue decline to have worsened again, to be around 54 per cent lower in the period.<br /><br />Thursday will see fashion retailer Ted Baker report its interims. Investors will be watching to see if there are any improvements in its wholesale operation.<br /><br />Carphone Warehouse and Rank Group will both give a trading statement on Thursday. <br /><br />Halfords will issue its pre-close first-half trading statement, also on Thursday, and Citigroup have forecasted total sales growth of 0.2 per cent, with a 1.4 per cent drop in like-for-like sales. The broker said that, given the favourable shift in mix &ndash; with leisure strong and car maintenance weaker &ndash; first-half margins could be up by 150 basis points.<br /><br />&ldquo;With moderate competition, an innovative management team delivering service propositions and new technology drivers, it looks as if this chain will sustain high returns and cash flows,&rdquo; it said.