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Companies Reporting: Sainsbury, Greggs, Tesco, Marks & Spencer

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Our regular look at the FTSE 350 and a selection of other companies reporting from 8-12 January

  • Sainsburys own brand items are in the spotlight
  • Greggs looks to cap off 2023 with a strong final quarter
  • Tesco hopes to prove it’s putting up a fight against Aldi and Lidl
  • Marks & Spencer looking to take market share
  • Whitbread sees pent-up demand in the travel market

J Sainsbury – Q3 Trading Statement, Wednesday 10 January

Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown “According to Kantar, Sainsburys is one of the grocers to have come out on top over the festive season. Taste the Difference ranges are expected to have done well as people chose to treat themselves, despite the ongoing pressures on incomes. The bigger question will be one of margins. A clearly defined preference for own-label goods overall, as well as the prevalence for discounting, could mean that margins haven’t lifted off to quite the same level as sales.

Ultimately though, the outlook statement is what will move the share price. If Christmas has been merry enough, it could see full year expectations lifted. At the same time, there’s a chance of a note of caution from management if consumers are expected to tighten their belts.”

Greggs – Q4 Trading Statement, Wednesday 10 January

Matt Britzman, equity analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown “2023 was a good year for Greggs by most measures, and next week’s update will shed light on how trading fared over the final quarter. As seen in the third quarter, expect to see like-for-like sales growth to slow from earlier in the year, given there won’t be as much of a tailwind from price hikes. But it’s a win in the long run as less pressure on costs makes it easier to keep prices in check and retain that coveted value offering.

Looking forward, expansion’s set to continue, with the number of stores set to rise to 3,000 over the next few years. There’s also a big opportunity to capture and retain demand with momentum across the loyalty programme and new delivery partnerships. All in, the direction looks promising of travel looks promising, though there are no guarantees.”

Tesco – Q3 Trading Statement, Thursday 11 January

Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown “Aldi and Lidl have had record Christmases. This suggests consumers are more willing to try a new grocer in a bid to save money amid the cost-of-living crisis. This could take an element of shine off Tesco’s trading statement next week – or at the very least prove customers are more focussed on value. But while some analysts are expecting the supermarket price bunfight to continue, it’s likely that Tesco’s had a happy Christmas.

The stiffer competition is worth noting, but the record numbers from the discounters also point to the fact consumers are willing to show up and spend if the proposition’s right. To that end, Tesco has a best-in-class offering, both when it comes to its value positioning thanks to things like Clubcard pricing, alongside its scale and product range. Last investors heard from the group, trading was better than expected, with retail like-for-like growth of 7.8%. That led to an uplift in full-year profit expectations, which looks unlikely to be undone in next week’s statement.

The culture of treating ourselves at home bodes well for the sale of Tesco Finest products too, which have seen robust volume uplifts even before the festive season. As ever, remember all share prices can go down as well as up.”

Marks & Spencer – Christmas Trading Statement, Thursday 11 January

Aarin Chiekrie, equity analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown “Marks & Spencer’s has had a solid year, outperforming the broader market significantly in 2023. Recent performance of the group’s UK Food division has been really impressive, with volume growth outpacing all other mainstream food retailers. In next week’s results, investors are keen to see if this trend has continued over the third quarter, which includes the important Christmas trading period. Signs that the group can continue to gobble up market share at a time when most consumers’ wallets are stretched would be very welcomed by markets.

Clothing’s another area to keep an eye on and is becoming an increasingly powerful string to the group’s bow. The ongoing pivot to new locations and refresh of older stores is another tailwind, given that in-store sales account for the majority of clothing purchases. There’s not likely to be any updates on free cash flow and net debt levels, but both were moving in the right direction at the half-year mark.”

Whitbread – Q3 Trading Statement, Thursday 11 January

Susannah Streeter, Head of money and markets, Hargreaves Lansdown “Whitbread shares haven’t yet regained their pre-pandemic form, but they made a good go of it in 2023, rising 34% as the ongoing pent-up demand for travel turned into buoyant bookings for Premier Inn. The company is enjoying an enviable position on the hotel scene, with a key metric, Revenue per Available Room, increasing 14% in the core UK business, with positive momentum in Germany too. Investors will want to see that progress continue as if the company can replicate Premier Inn’s success in Germany, it offers a potentially bigger growth opportunity. This is especially the case given that it might be harder to sustain expansion in the UK with economic headwinds mounting.

There will be a keen eye trained on costs which have been managed adeptly, despite the ravages of inflation. If the price spiral continues to moderate, it could help the chain be more competitive on pricing without causing too much damage to the bottom line.”

This article has been brought to you in association with Hargreaves Lansdown. All opinions expressed in this article are from the analysts and do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Armchair Trader.

FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and selected other companies scheduled to report

08-Jan
Shell LON:SHEL Q4 Production Statement
09-Jan
B&M European Value Retail LON:BME Q3 Trading Statement
10-Jan
J Sainsbury LON:SBRY Q3 Trading Statement
Greggs LON:GRG Q4 Trading Statement
Hunting LON:HTG Q4 Trading Statement
Persimmon LON:PSN Q4 Trading Statement
11-Jan
Ferrexpo LON:FXPO Q4 Production Statement
Hilton Food LON:HFG Full Year Trading Statement
Marks and Spencer LON:MKS Christmas Trading Statement
Taylor Wimpey LON:TW. Trading Statement
Tesco LON:TSCO Q3 Trading Statement
Whitbread LON:WTB Q3 Trading Statement
12-Jan
Vistry LON:VTY Q4 Trading Statement

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Make sure you do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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