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The week ahead - UK Inflation & Home Retail Group

UK inflation data for September will be released on Tuesday. As expected, annual Consumer Prices Index inflation rose to 4.5% in August - 0.1% more than July's figure. The Bank of England expects it to hit 5% over the near term.

Minutes from the Bank of England's latest interest rate policy meeting are due on Wednesday. Economists hope they will offer an insight into the Bank's confidence in plans to boost the economy with an additional round of quantitative easing.

Argos and Homebase owner, Home Retail Group will report its half year results on Wednesday. The group's second quarter update proved to be marginally better than previously lowered forecasts. Sales and profit margin fell at Argos, and remained virtually flat at Homebase. The coming announcement is expected to focus on the dividend and the potentially easier comparatives given last year's heavy snow. Prior to the results, and with consumer incomes still under pressure, Home Retail shares are generally considered a sell.

Debenhams will provide full year results on Thursday. Profit expectations were revised upwards after the group's fourth quarter trading update. While full year like-for-like sales declined by 0.3%, sales improved in the second half. Online, in store ordering and mobile sales increased by 71.9%, whilst its Danish business had continued to perform well. Ahead of the results, analysts view the shares as a buy.

Source: Keith Bowman - Hargreaves Lansdown

16 October 2011
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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.

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