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The week ahead: Home Retail Group

It will be an especially busy Thursday coming up for company updates, but before then we'll have full-year results from Home Retail on Wednesday. The shares have plummeted of late, losing more than half their value in the past 12 months, falling to 103p, and the reason has a simple name - Argos.

As we learned from the company's trading statement last month, though like-for-like sales for the year at Homebase fell by 2%, that was eclipsed by a 9% fall at Argos, whose store format is looking increasingly unattractive to shoppers. To add to that, 2012 got off to a poor start, with both divisions seeing substantial like-for-like falls in the 8 weeks to February 25 - Homebase down 6.5%, Argos down 8.5%. We'll want to hear what chief executive Terry Duddy plans to do about that.

A multitude of updates...

We have a handful of first-quarter updates coming, including BP and Reckitt Benckiser , both on Tuesday, and BG Group on Thursday. And we should get a Q3 update from British Sky Broadcasting on Wednesday.

But with AGM season in full swing, the bulk of next week's releases will be interim management statements, and news from the two shareholder-owned banks will be keenly awaited.

Lloyds Banking Group will update us on Tuesday, with Royal Bank of Scotland following up on Friday. Both have seen their share prices sliding further over the past year, with falls of 40-50%.

Other expected updates include a Q1 statement from Next on Wednesday, coming at a dramatic time for the fashion business. And then Thursday will bring us statements from Diageo (Other OTC: DGEAF.PK - news), Morgan Sindall Group , Wm Morrison Supermarkets and RSA Insurance Group .

Source : Alan Oscroft – Motley Fool

28 April 2012
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