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This coming week - Home Retail Group

Home Retail Group is set to report its full-year results on Wednesday, but these are likely to reflect challenging trading conditions for high street retailer Argos.

Given that sales and gross margin data was provided in a pre-close trading update in March, the focus will be upon operating margins and outlook comments.

Comments from chief executive Terry Duddy are expected to be relatively sombre, given that he already stated that the company was planning on a more cautious basis for 2011/12.

Sam Hart, an analyst at Charles Stanley, said: "The shares have been weak in recent months as forecasts have been downgraded and concerns over the outlook for the UK consumer have grown. A lot of bad news is probably now discounted, but we retain concerns that Argos could remain under long-term structural pressure from food retailers moving aggressively into non-food.

"Strong cash generation, a sound balance sheet and the attractive yield, however, means we retain our 'hold' recommendation in advance of the results."

Source : Fiona Bond - Interactive Investor

20 April 2011
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