Tuesday, 6 December: Consumers hunting out a ‘Black Friday’ bargain contributed to a slowdown in retail sales in the UK. The British Retail Consortium today revealed spending rose by 1.3% year-on-year, slower than October’s 2.4% rise, but shoppers seemed to curb their spending at the start of the month in anticipation of the “Black Friday” sales. According to the survey, internet sales posted double-digit annual growth for the third consecutive month. There has been much focus on British consumer spending since the UK voted to leave the EU and retailers have warned of price rises set to come over the next year, potentially affecting consumer demand.
Consumers may soon no longer have to queue to pay for their goods. Amazon has revealed plans for consumers to pay for goods via an app, rather than queuing up. Before British consumers become irate at not having to queue, as us British seem to enjoy doing, the first shop is expected to open in Seattle early 2017. It seems Amazon has spent four years developing the idea, using the same types of technologies found in self-driving cars. The idea is customers will “swipe” into the store using the app and the system detects when items are picked up (or replaced) from the shelf. Once the consumer has left the store, their Amazon account will be charged, and an e-receipt sent to them. Amazon look to further expand on their brand name – the shares are up >19% year to date.
Ever been sat waiting for a train, or even sat waiting on a train having been told leaves on the track are to blame? The Government are looking to put an end to the frustration by uniting the management under which England’s railway network is to be run. Railway franchises were established separate from the network infrastructure when the privatisation of British Rail was introduced by the Conservative government in 1993. However, the Transport Secretary wants each rail franchise to be run by joint management teams, including representative from both the train operating company and Network Rail. The changes aren’t set to come in till each franchise is renewed in the future but it is hoped it will bring to an end to inefficiency and poor excuses for delays.
Sales of “everyday biscuits”, including custard creams, digestives and rich tea are being substituted for healthier snacks, and more luxurious items according to recent Kantar Worldpanel data. Sales of the more basic biscuit variety have fallen by almost one million packets per week, or 7.1%, but chocolate-coated biscuits, cereal bars and Jaffa Cakes (biscuit or cake?) are on the up.
After a slightly hesitant start to the day the FTSE 100 closed +0.49% whilst the mid-cap index closed lower by 0.06%. At the time of writing the main indices in the US were trading relatively flat.