12 shares tipped for Christmas success
The supermarkets will be battling it out for our attention this Christmas and Sainsbury’s will be a strong contender to benefit. Particularly so given that in September the company completed the acquisition of Home Retail, owner of Argos, in a move that is viewed as an attempt to improve its online presence and compete with the likes of Amazon. Given the fierceness of competition in the sector, Sainsbury’s continues to perform well at the checkout with market share currently standing at 16.3%.
Bookmaker William Hill is already positioning itself to benefit from the crucial festive period by now taking bets on whether there will be snow on Christmas Day, who will be Christmas number one and of course the results of the Boxing Day football fixtures. The group indicated recently that there were early signs of progress in turning around the online business and there are prospects of further efficiencies.
Christmas usually means an increase in social gatherings and global alcoholic beverages group Diageo will be hoping party-goers opt for its well-known global products such as Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, Baileys and Captain Morgan for their festive tipple this year. This is a company whose trading remains resilient, driven mainly by growth in whisky, US spirits and India, and has excellent long-term prospects.
As the largest cruise company in the world, Carnival will be doing all it can to entice customers to book that last minute cruise and grab that winter sun we all pine for in the colder months. Lower fuel costs and strong booking levels led to the company beating expectations in the third quarter, and further bookings over the all-important Christmas and New Year period will hopefully mean more good news.
The milder than usual winter of last year affected Centrica’s profits as some customers kept the heating turned down. The group, which is Britain’s largest supplier of gas and owner of British Gas, should benefit if cooler weather reappears causing an increased demand for warmer homes. A strategic review is now in place which the group hopes will achieve £750m of cost savings and improve returns on capital and cash flow. In the meantime Centrica will hope its customers choose to stay in and use its gas to keep warm this Christmas.
Christmas is the most important time of the year for Royal Mail as millions of Christmas gifts and cards will pass through its sorting and delivery offices. Despite seeing a decline in the letters part of the business, the UK parcels industry continues to grow on the back of a boom in internet shopping. The group’s full year results weigh very heavily on its performance over the festive season so the company will be doing all it can to deal with the higher volume and demand.
Whether it’s travelling to spend time with loved ones, or flying away from the Christmas chaos, low cost airline EasyJet could see business soar over the festive period. It is also the time of year people start to think about booking their getaways for 2017. The company recently highlighted that it expects almost half of its growth next year to come in the UK and remains confident of its business model.
Photo booth operator Photo Me International may benefit from increased footfall in shopping centres and the high street this Christmas where its photo booths are conveniently placed. The company has been expanding into new products which could provide alternative stocking fillers and even offers rent-a-booths which could be a fun edition to Christmas parties. It is confident that futuristic photo booths will provide a significant proportion of future revenue.
As families and friends travel up and down the country to visit their loved ones this Christmas, Whitbread, owner of Premier Inn, will be hoping visitors choose its beds to rest their heads. Whitbread could also see a boost given that it has Costa Coffee under its wings. The hot drinks and festive food provider will offer much needed treats for Christmas shoppers and passers-by.
For many people, a trip to the local pub will be on the cards this Christmas so Marston’s, a brewing and pub retailing company, will hope to benefit as people get in to the festive spirit. Marston’s will hope that the wintry showers stay away so more people retreat to one of its establishments over the next few weeks.
Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer, the golden oldie of the high street, almost always sees an increase in its food sales over the Christmas season. In recent years however, its general merchandise division has pulled it down. This year, the retailer has embarked on a significant programme of change to alter the balance of its stores between food and clothing and will be hoping customers flock to its stores for that all important Christmas jumper, glittering party dress or Christmas gift for their loved ones.
As the nights draw in, Sky will be hoping that many of us decide to shelter from the cold weather and opt for a night in front of the television instead. Sky is Europe’s leading entertainment company and with the endless amounts of sports, movies and boxsets it offers, through a vast number of channels, it is bound to perform well. Investors should note that as well as its core satellite offering, the group is continuing to build its broadband and telephone operations.