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TUI, Sports Direct and Costa due to post results

PROFITS are set to soar to new heights for tour operator TUI Travel when it posts annual results on Tuesday.

The Thomson and First Choice parent has already guided the market towards an underlying earnings hike of at least 11% after seeing revenues boosted by higher bookings and average prices.

But the group's tax bill may come under the spotlight again after it revealed last year that it paid no UK corporation tax despite posting record annual results

Numis analyst Wyn Ellis is forecasting an 18% rise in underlying earnings to £580 million, while most analysts are expecting underlying pre-tax profits to improve 16% to £452m.

Mike Ashley's retail empire Sports Direct International is likely to continue its strong run in Thursday's half-year results after solid summer sales despite tough comparisons from last year's London Olympics.

The sportswear chain, which is controlled by the Newcastle United owner, is expected to report another impressive rise in earnings.

Numis Securities is pencilling in an 18% hike in underlying earnings to around £180m for the first half, after staff bonus payments.

Citi analysts said in a recent note that the group's strong sales pattern, weak competition from rivals and the Brazil World Cup in 2014 make its 15% target for annual earnings growth "increasingly plausible".

Carpetright founder Lord Harris of Peckham will present his first set of results on Tuesday since making his dramatic return to day-to-day running of the firm.

Lord Harris replaced former chief executive Darren Shapland in October in the wake of a shock profits warning and sliding sales. The market will be watching for signs of an upturn in half-year results as the housing boom continues.

Until recently, like-for-like sales were on a positive trend, with annual profits more than double the previous year at £9.7m. But analysts are now expecting the profits rebound to grind to a halt in the current year, with forecasts for annual pre-tax profits to remain flat.

Coffee shop chain Costa is likely to deliver another caffeine-kick to parent Whitbread when it reports back on recent trading on Tuesday. The retailer is expected to maintain its run of sales growth as it benefits from an aggressive expansion drive.

It recently swelled half-year profits by more than a fifth to £43.5m. Together with a robust performance from hotel business Premier Inn, it helped Whitbread post a rise in half-year underlying profits of 12.6% to £216.1m.

Analysts at Numis Securities are expecting a rise in group like-for-like sales growth in the third quarter to 3.5% from 2.8% in the half year. Numis is pencilling in a 3.5% sales rise for Costa in the quarter, while autumn is set to have been strong for Premier as it also benefits from the economic recovery.

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