PREVIEW - Kingfisher to cast light on DIY retail sector
The update covers the long Easter weekend - not surprising a key trading period for DIY retailers. The group also owns rapidly expanding Screwfix.
The update is also likely to provide insight into the actions of UK householders in terms of upgrading homes and gardens, and the state of the building sector more generally.
Kingfisher should have benefitted from early Easter
Broker Numis says the group, which is trying to turn itself round, should have benefited from the early Easter but the broker expects that colder temperatures in Northern Europe to have delayed the onset of what it calls the important 'gardening season'.
"In the past, this has often reversed out in Q2. The UK business will remain underpinned by the exceptional growth of Screwfix (now more than 20% of divisional sales) and LFL at B&Q should gain from its own and Homebase’s store closure programmes," said analyst Matthew Taylor, who rates the share 'reduce', targeting 325p.
As reported earlier this year, retail profit for the year to end January was up 7.4% to £746mln largely due to a good performance from Screwfix and a stable overall performance in France. But statutory profit for the year was £512mln, over 20% down from £644mln in 2014.
The Share Centre said: "The group beat market expectations with its full year results, but the weak performance of the French operations remain a drag and investors will be keen to hear how that part of the group is performing." It rates KGF a 'hold'.
The trading update in April was fairly gloomy but not as bad as had been expected, with underlying sales for the 13 weeks to March 26 falling by 2.7% in core clothing and home division.
That reverse was better than the 3.4% being predicted by the market and the 5.8% drop recorded in the third quarter.
New chief, Steve Rowe said at the time the performance was mixed, with the food business once again outperforming the market by around 3.5% pts.
"Although the sales decline in Clothing and Home was lower than last quarter, our performance remains unsatisfactory and there is still more we need to do," he said.
Laith Khalaf at Hargreaves Lansdown noted: "Marks and Spencer now takes £1 out of every £25 spent on food in the UK, putting it in the same basket as players like Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose.
"This is testament to how well their food business has grown, with 80 new stores opened over the last year."
Khalaf also notes the strong growth in online sales was encouraging, but that "this bright light does serve to highlight quite how gloomy things are on the shop floor".
Numis remains neutral on Marks & Spencer
Meanwhile, Numis rates Marks a 'hold'.
"... although we continue to see the visible benefits that the bought-in gross margin gains and reduced capex profile should provide to earnings and cash flow respectively, we remain unconvinced that the trading trend in the GM division can be easily reversed and remain neutral," it said.
Also in big cap world Dixons Carphone Group (LON:DC.) reports. The merged entity had a record Black Friday, as reported in January, which helped the electrical retailer to predict annual profits ahead of hopes.
The company said a strong performance during the price-cutting event in late November and buoyant discounted sales after Christmas boosted group like-for-like revenue in the 10 weeks to January 9 by 5%.
It expected group headline pre-tax profit in the full year to be between £440mln and £450mln, slightly ahead of consensus
Numis says: "We expect further solid progress during Q4, with consensus forecasts indicating LFL of +2% in the UK, +4% for the Nordics and a flat result in S Europe giving +2% at group level, on track for FY forecasts.
The shares have outperformed the sector by 5% over the past 12 months, it highlighted.
In small cap world virtual queuing firm Accesso Technology Group (LON:ACSO) holds its AGM on Tuesday.
Accesso AGM statements "qualitative rather than quantitative"
"Historically accesso's AGM statements have been qualitative rather than quantitative and include an update on trading in non-numerical terms.
"Given newsflow from US Theme Park players such as Six Flags, we expect management to indicate a strong start to the year, although the peak summer season is still ahead of us and thus it is hard to draw too much from the first quarter. We think the key theme remains the rollout of the Merlin contract which drives growth and earnings for the next three years."
This month drug discovery group e-Therapeutics unveiled a deal to acquire an internet search engine for up to £2.32mln. Searchbolt, the business being bought, was spun-off from ETX when the latter was listed on stock market in 2007
Searchbolt’s main asset is an exclusive licence to use the technology ETX deploys in network pharmacology used to identify drug candidates.
In March, US house Jefferies said it was making clear progress on all fronts, and rated the shares a 'buy'.
The group is a wound care expert, with its Dermapure product being used to rebuild cells in the most difficult of wounds.
The broker noted that product (Dermapure ) has now surpassed the $1mln revenue mark and with nine of 11 medicare administrators secured (and promising private payor progress) analyst Chris Cooper expected further acceleration through full year 16/17, particularly now the "hybrid sales model is well established and senior sales directors are in place"
Significantly the firm was recently granted US regulatory clearance for SurgiPure XD, a skin graft for hernias derived from pig tissue, signalling a commercial launch in the US later this year, so investors will be looking at any news on this.
"We estimate FY17 Dermapure/ Surgipure sales of $9m/$0.6m, with $2.9m from Orthopure by FY18. We continue to view orthopedics as the greater LT value driver and are encouraged by progress to date," said Jefferies in March.
Significant announcements expected:
Monday May 23
Tuesday, May 24
Wednesday, May 24
Thursday, May 25
Half/ quarterly - Daily Mail & General Trust PLC (LON:DMGT),
Friday, May 26
Trading statement - Bodycote (LON:BOY).