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Wednesday's agenda: Darty to resume LFL growth

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If the diary is to be believed, there is only one result of any significance expected on Wednesday: Darty, the European electricals retailer.

This is the company that used to be known as Kesa, back in the days when it owned the Comet chain.

In its September update, covering the trading period from May, the group claimed it was making good progress on its new strategy, gaining market share in its core markets.

However, total revenue was down 1.0% on a like-for-like basis (LFL), with overall gross margin down nine-tenths of a percentage point.

UBS expects the update to “highlight evidence of the operational improvement and better conditions in France”.

The Swiss bank forecasts half-year profit before tax of €3.5mln, versus a loss of €11mlm last year, with fiscal second quarter LFL sales growth of 3%. The home market of France is expected to see LFL sales growth of 4%.

UBS predicts the second quarter gross margin will be down by 0.65 of a percentage point, with France down seven-tenths of a point.

“France is set to see H1 EBIT [first half underlying earnings] of €22mln, slightly down on last year with Benelux and Other broadly flat on last year. We expect the dividend to be held flat,” UBS said.

Significant announcements expected

Companies: Interims: Darty (LON:DRTY).

The following widely-held stocks are trading ex-dividend on Wednesday: Marston’s, MITIE, United Utilities, Greene King, Halfords, Grainger

Macroeconomic: UK: Claimant Count Change, MPC Asset Purchase Facility Votes, MPC Official Bank Rate Votes, Unemployment Rate, Average Earnings Index. EU: German Ifo Business Climate. US: Housing Starts, Building Permits, FOMC Economic Projections, FOMC Statement, Federal Funds Rate, FOMC Press Conference.

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