Carphone Warehouse set to ring up robust profits

FULL-YEAR figures from mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse and transport giant Stagecoach are among this week’s corporate highlights, alongside an expected return to profits growth for flooring chain Carpetright.

Booming demand for tablet computers and smartphones is expected to help mobile retailer Carphone Warehouse ring up robust annual profits when it reports on Wednesday.

The firm, which recently called time on its joint venture with US giant Best Buy, saw profits leap 57 per cent higher to £8.3m in the half year after a 10 per cent surge in UK sales over the second quarter. Analysts are expecting a strong performance since then to help full-year figures, with Citi experts pencilling in underlying pre-tax profits of £60.3m against £58.3m a year earlier.

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The City will be looking for signs of a boost from the UK’s recovering housing market when floor coverings retailer Carpetright posts annual results tomorrow. The chain of more than 600 stores across the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium has endured a tough few years as crashing consumer spending eroded sales and profits.

But results for the year to the end of April are expected to show a return to profits growth as the group has benefited from self-help measures led by new chief executive Darren Shapland, who took over from veteran boss Lord Harris of Peckham last year. Analysts are forecasting an improvement in underlying pre-tax profits to £9.6m, from £4m a year earlier.

Meanwhile, another robust performance from Stagecoach’s UK regional bus arm should help the transport group report growing annual profits on Wednesday. The group, which is one of the UK’s biggest bus and coach operators with around 8,000 vehicles and 2.5 million passengers every day, is forecast to increase underlying profits to £210m for the year to the end of April, up from £202.5m a year earlier.

The Perth-based group, chaired by co-founder Sir Brian Souter, reported UK regional bus sales up 3.6 per cent in the first 11 months of its financial year. Underlying sales in its UK rail arm, which includes South West Trains and East Midlands Trains, increased 5.4 per cent over the same period, versus a year earlier.

Virgin Rail, in which it holds a 49 per cent stake, increased sales by 3.1 per cent during the 11 months.

Virgin Rail serves the West Coast Main Line and will continue to run the franchise until at least 2017 after the Government’s botched re-tendering saga.