There’s a trade update this morning from Associated British Foods (ABF), the company behind an eclectic mix of offerings including grocery, sugar and Primark brands.
The FTSE 100 company has revealed that Primark suffered a sales blow in its last quarter as the omicron variant drove shoppers away from stores.
While sales rose by more than a third year-on-year – when the lockdown closed shops completely – they were still lagging pre-Covid levels.
Still, ABF said trading has improved in recent weeks and maintained its full-year outlook.
5 things to start your day
1) Architect of energy price cap says it has ‘destroyed the market’ and must be scrapped Stephen Littlechild says price cap acted like ‘a bull in a china shop’
2) Restaurant offers £91,000 to head chef as kitchen crisis rages Chef salaries jump 30% as employers struggle to fill vacancies
3) British Airways cancels US flights over 5G security fears Lufthansa, Emirates, Japan Airlines, ANA and Air India are also cutting services as planes face potential interference from new mobile networks
4) Unilever rules out raising £50bn bid for Glaxo after ‘torrent of criticism’ CEO Alan Jope’s credibility in question following disastrous reaction from Marmite maker’s shareholders
5) AA ends sick pay for unvaccinated workers forced to self-isolate after Covid contact After Next, Ikea, Ocado and Morrisons, the towing service becomes the latest employer to crack down on workers without firing a shot
What happened overnight
Markets rose mainly in Asia on Thursday as investors tentatively returned to buying after recent losses. Hong Kong gained 1.9% on a rally by tech giants including Alibaba, Meituan, Tencent and JD.com, while property companies also saw strong gains. Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul, Bangkok and Jakarta also rose, but Sydney, Wellington and Taipei fell.
- Business : Very dry (Intermediate results); Associated British Foods, Workspace Group, Premier Foods, CMC Markets, AJ Bell, Ibstock, Entain, Hochschild Mining, Kier Group, Deliveroo (Business Update)
- Economy: RICS house price balance (UK), interest rate decision (China), consumer price index (EU), applications for unemployment benefits (WE), Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey (WE)