UK Politics

Greggs and Hotel Chocolat on the menu for Tuesday


On Tuesday there are expected to be a few tasty titbits in the morning, including from sausage rolls baker Greggs and sweetmeats chain Hotel Chocolat, before things turn more political later in the day.

Brexit talks are back on the menu, with Tuesdays final scheduled round of negotiations preceded by a “last gasp” trip to Brussels by Downing Streets representative Michael Gove.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier said that a free trade deal must be done by October 15 in order to prepare a full treaty by the end of the year.

Overnight, at 9pm Eastern time or 2am in the morning in the UK, will also see the first of three US televised presidential debates between Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden.

Greggs facing undercooked demand?

A trading update Greggs PLC (LON:GRG) should see the Newcastle-headquartered baker detail how it is adjusting to the lack of commuters and office workers, a key part of its customer base, who often grab a quick pasty in between work and home.

This hole in its customer base means the FTSE 250 group may have to step up its marketing efforts, such as the recent 10,000 free sausage rolls offered to university students.

While the company had something of an ugly first half, swinging to a £62.2mln operating loss from a £39.9mln profit last year due to its outlets being closed during the UKs lockdown, sales rebounded strongly following reopening in July, which should make the numbers in this coming third-quarter update a bit more positive.

Moreover, the latest restrictions encouraging people to work from home could put a steak-brake on any recovery, and investors are therefore likely to look for any news on how the firm will handle what is shaping up to be a difficult winter.

One saving grace could be the digital front, where Greggs has begun to sausage-roll out a click-and-collect service while deliveries of its products can also be ordered on the Just Eat app in various cities.

With the group needing at least 80% of 2019s sales to break even, shareholders will want to see fast action otherwise their enthusiasm for the stock could cool quickly.

Hotel Chocolat in for a sweet set of finals

Final results from Hotel Chocolat Group PLC (LON:HOTC) should not be like Forrest Gumps box of chocolates, as invested should not know what theyre going to get based on guidance issued in July.

The chocolatier said revenue should rise 3% to £136mln in the year to June 28 despite lockdown store closures.

While the chain benefitted from digital sales, subscriptions and recurring purchases, investors will wonder if the positive momentum has carried on into the autumn and can last through the winter.

Operations in the US and Japan will also be in focus for comparison with the pandemic effects in the UK.

Announcements expected on Tuesday 29 September:

Trading announcements: Greggs PLC (LON:GRG), Grainger PLC (LON:GRI)

Finals: Ferguson PLC (LON:FERG), Blancco Technology Group PLC (LON:BLTG), Hotel Chocolat Group PLC (LON:HOTC), Gateley Holdings PLC (LON:GTLY), ScS Group PLC (LON:SCS)

Interims: AA PLC (LON:AA.), Card Factory PLC (LON:CARD), Cairn Energy PLC (LON:CNE), Read More – Source