RETAILERS will remain in focus this week as the likes of Debenhams, French Connection, ASOS and Moss Bros are due to report figures.
The market will be keen for reassurance over trading conditions on the high street from department store chain Debenhams tomorrow, following rival Next’s warning of an “unusually quiet” August and September.
Fashion and homewares chain Next spooked investors with news of its summer sales slowdown, sending shares in the firm sharply lower.
John Lewis painted a more rosy picture when it reported a 9.2% rise in like-for-like sales in the six months to July 28 and said sales growth had been largely maintained in the following six weeks, up 8.5%.
But with clothing and womenswear in particular having taken a hit in recent months, there may be some consequences for Debenhams.
The group, which reports fourth- quarter figures on Tuesday, has delivered robust sales growth in recent months as it recently appointed chief executive Michael Sharp to lead a turnaround at the chain.
Sales rose 3.1% in the 16 weeks to June 23, against 0.3% in the previous half year.
Sharp, who was appointed last September, has been focusing on improving sales growth rather than margins; a strategy that has paid off, according to analysts.
Half-year profits rose by 1.4% to £127.1m and Debenhams’ share price has leapt by 32% in the past six months, and by 87% in the past 12 months.
Debenhams, which has 164 stores in the UK and Ireland and its Magasin du Nord chain in Denmark, also said on reporting half-year results in July that trading could be hampered by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and the Euro 2012 football championships as consumers spend more on food, drink and televisions than beauty and clothing. Fashion retailer French Connection is set to report a big half-year loss on Wednesday after revenues declined by 7% on a year earlier.