Retail Week looks at what’s coming up this week, with full-year results from Sports Direct and updates from Marks & Spencer and Primark.
The sports and leisure specialist unveils its full-year results on Thursday, weeks after owner Mike Ashley appeared before MPs to be grilled on working conditions at its Shirebrook warehouse. Amid investigations into various practices and the retailer’s use of zero hour contracts, Sports Direct has lost its crown to rival JD Sports and seen its share price plummet. Back in March, Sports Direct admitted full-year profits would be at the bottom end of its target range, having issued a profit warning two months earlier.
Marks & Spencer
New boss Steve Rowe is bidding to start his first full financial year at the helm in style as the high-street stalwart reports its first-quarter sales on Thursday. Marks & Spencer’s food business continues to grow despite the fiercely competitive grocery market, but the City’s spotlight will again fall on its struggling fashion division. M&S’s full-year profits dropped by almost a fifth to £488.8m and Rowe has warned his plan to rejuvenate its clothing offer will have an “adverse effect” on earnings in the short term. With that in mind, investors will want to see positive signs within general merchandise sooner rather than later.
Associated British Foods
The Primark owner posts its third-quarter trading update on Thursday. The value fashion retailer posted mixed results at the half-year mark, as sales rose in the 24 weeks to February 27 but profits dipped from £322m to £313m. Primark blamed headwinds from the US dollar, in which it buys much of its clothing, for the fall in profits and attributed the rise in sales to increased selling space. It said trading in the US had been “encouraging”, but the City will be seeking a further update on the progress of its American adventure.
The furnishings specialist will update the market on its fourth-quarter trading performance on Thursday. Dunelm posted rising profits and sales at the half-year mark and continued its momentum into the third quarter, when like-for-likes advanced 1.1% following a “good” Easter. Boss John Browett has previously admitted that Dunelm benefits from “colder, wetter weather”, so the damp spring and slow start to summer could have worked in its favour during the quarter.