Sainsbury's, Next and DSGi updates to provide retail health-check
A key retail health-check is anticipated next week when some of the industry's biggest names update the City simultaneously.

Three giants - Sainsbury's, Next and DSGi - will reveal results or trading updates on what Pali International analyst Nick Bubb has dubbed 'Super Wednesday'.

Performance is likely to be seized upon for clues about the direction of the market as fears grow that a consumer slowdown is under way.

Seymour Pierce analyst Richard Ratner said Super Wednesday would provide a snapshot of how the sector is faring. He said: 'You've got a big clothing player, DSGi should give a bit of a feeling on big-ticket and Sainsbury's should confirm that food is good.'

Analysts are concerned about signs that the consumer economy is softening. On Wednesday, BRC data showed a decline in the rate of sales growth from 3.5 per cent to 3.3 per cent for the three months from February to April.

Bubb said: 'Beneath the surface, things seem to be slowing. The John Lewis figures have been telling that story for a little while now.'

Shore Capital analyst John Stevenson expected a consumer slowdown as the year unfolds, which may dent investor sentiment towards retailers.

He said: 'Consensus analyst forecasts seem to have switched back to the default view of solid growth for the majority of stocks, a view that does not seem in keeping with the potential macroeconomic climate. Consequently, as in 2005, if sales expectations begin to moderate, downgrades may be felt across the sector.'