(Bloomberg) — Higher than expected retail sales this morning indicates the consumer still has some extra flexibility in their wallets, despite rapidly rising prices. That ties up with Wetherspoon’s better than expected first half earnings, showing some of the pub chain’s supply difficulties are starting to ease. On both counts the prospect of an easing of inflation this year would be crucial for continued strong performance.
Here’s the key business news from London this morning:
In The City
Ceres Power Holdings Plc: The fuel cell technology company is working towards a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange, despite falling profits year on year.
- The firm has signed a number of partnerships with large companies like Shell, Linde Engineering and Bosch, and says it expects to continue to expand its workforce
Smiths Group Plc: The engineering firm boosted its revenue expectations for the year after it reported growth across all divisions, geographic regions, and major customer end markets in the first half of the year.
- The company said there would be “moderate margin improvement” and the sales growth has been balanced between volume and price
J D Wetherspoon Plc: The pub chain said supply and delivery issues have “largely disappeared,” although it noted “ferocious” inflationary pressures in the pub industry.
- It comes after the company reported first half sales that beat analyst expectations
Standard Chartered Plc: The lender’s CEO said it is always interested in looking at things with decent returns and with a strategic thrust in a Bloomberg TV interview when asked if he will consider buying Credit Suisse Group AG’s assets if available.
The UK and European Union will sign off on their new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland today, despite ongoing opposition to the agreement from some unionists in the region.
Brexit is forcing farmers to scour the globe for workers and it’s become a lucrative business for unscrupulous recruiters. Here’s a closer look at the murky business behind Britain’s rampant food price inflation.
Meanwhile, some 370,000 small businesses in the UK will be at risk of job cuts or closure when government support for energy bills effectively stops at the end of next week, according to a leading lobby group.
In Case You Missed It
The John Lewis Partnership should leave the potential sale of a minority stake “on the shelf,” writes Bloomberg Opinion’s Andrea Felsted. “There are better ways to raise money.”
Ineos and its chairman Jim Ratcliffe have submitted a revised bid for Manchester United. Meanwhile, Finnish entrepreneur Thomas Zilliacus emerged as a surprise bidder for the club, saying he would give the team’s fans an equal say on all issues that relate to the football decisions.
Finally, the latest Merryn Talks Money podcast episode explains why you should stop selling UK equities:
Next week will see updates from companies including Ocado Group Plc’s retail joint venture with Marks & Spencer Group Plc, high street staple Next Plc and Petershill Partners Plc, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc.-backed investor in alternative fund managers.
For a more considered take on the UK’s economic and financial news, sign up to Money Distilled with John Stepek.