Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sainsbury's to Reveal Tills Are Still Ringing; Taking Stock

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sainsbury's to Reveal Tills Are Still Ringing; Taking Stock

Article excerpt

Byline: By Tim Hobden

A STRING of high-profile companies report results this week including Sainsbury's, Northern Foods, Vodafone, Alliance Boots and easyJet.

Supermarket chain Sainsbury's reports half-year results on Wednesday and analysts are expecting figures to show further signs of the company's recovery.

Last month Sainsbury's said like-for-like sales were up 6.6% in the second quarter of its financial year, meaning the business has now increased sales for seven quarters in a row.

Chief executive Justin King said the company's performance was helped by spells of good weather, which led to greater focus on fresh and healthy food.

Sainsbury's is not alone in making progress along the recovery path with rival Morrison and resurgent Marks & Spencer also reporting positive steps.

Under a three-year recovery plan called Making Sainsbury's Great Again, Mr King has taken on extra staff and invested more money in price cuts.

And, despite the intense competition, the chain has impressed and looks to have good momentum as it heads towards the important Christmas period. Analysts expect pre-tax profits of around pounds 185m - compared with pounds 118m last time.

easyJet looks set to report a boost when it reports tomorrow, despite the pressures of higher fuel costs and terror scares.

In September, the budget airline estimated a profits rise of between 40% and 50% on last year, but now believes it will be "slightly ahead" of those expectations.

The Luton-based carrier had offered guidance earlier in the year which pointed to a 10% to 15% profits growth for the year to September 30. Its upgraded annual profits forecast came despite the airline admitting last month it suffered a pounds 4m loss because of August's terror scares.

The airline has been busy adding flights to its European network, which now stretches to more than 250 routes, and has enjoyed increased passenger numbers. Analysts expect pre-tax profits of between pounds 125m and pounds 130m, compared with pounds 85m last year.

Pharmacy giant Alliance Boots said in September its integration was on track following the merger of Boots and Alliance UniChem. …

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