HOUSEBUILDER Persimmon will offer the latest update on the UK housing market this week, while home shopping company N Brown and Whitworths parent Real Good Food also provide figures.
Housebuilder Persimmon will be looked to for more signs of resilient trading after it underlined its “excellent prospects” earlier this year by setting aside £1.9bn to return shareholders over the next decade.
The group, which will provide a trading update tomorrow, has ridden out the weak housing market by focusing on building family homes in affluent areas and more recently has benefited from a resurgence in the first-time buyer market.
The York-based builder, whose brands include Charles Church and Westbury, reported a 20% rise in its weekly sales rate for first quarter of 2012 and said visitor levels at its sites were around 10% higher.
Its first quarter benefited from a rush from first-time buyers to take advantage of a stamp duty holiday, while the launch of the Government’s NewBuy 95% loan-to-value mortgage guarantee product is expected to have continued to stimulate demand.
The City expects first-half pre-tax profits of £75.3m, up 29.6% on the previous year. Catalogue and online shopping group N Brown is set to report more robust trading figures tomorrow as it benefits from trends that have seen the population grow older and heavier.
The Manchester-based group – which owns the Simply Be, High & Mighty, Figleaves, Marisota and Jacamo brands – reported a 2.5% increase in pre-tax profits to £96.9m in the year to March 3, on sales up 4.8% to £753.2m.
Lingerie brand Figleaves hit the black, menswear brand High & Mighty significantly reduced its losses and its Simply Be brand for larger ladies expanded in the United States.
The success of these brands drove a 13% increase in sales to customers between the ages of 30 and 50.