Monday, 22 January: Tesco has announced further job cuts in the latest phase of the turnaround plan for the supermarket. 1,700 jobs will go from branches and warehouses, by the sound of which encompass managerial roles that perhaps are more inefficient than anything else. They do intend to create 900 jobs and look to move those affected into these new roles. To coin their own phrase, ‘every little helps’. Tesco shares closed 0.38% lower.
Whilst on the subject of supermarkets, Amazon has opened the first supermarket that has no checkouts. The store is called ‘Amazon Go’ and it was opened in Seattle today in what could be the beginning of a supermarket revolution. Checkout queues were so 2017. No longer will you have to sweat whilst you see the 8 year old bag packer raising money and you know fine well you haven’t got change. Those heartless days are gone. The Amazon store doesn’t even have self checkouts, so you don’t have to wait behind someone having a meltdown because they keep trying to take the bag off too early (how haven’t people figured out these machines yet?). Anyhow, the new stores will work through numerous cameras and sensors tracking what each customer picks up, then when you leave it will automatically charge your card. Easy-peasy.
Kicking the week off, European markets lacked direction, following a fairly upbeat Asian session. Last week saw multiple records in US markets once again, and as the European session comes to a close US markets are creeping higher. Today the FTSE eventually closed 0.2% lower, despite gains for Germany, France and Italy amongst other European bourses. The pound has had a good day and was one of the main reasons for domestic underperformance, as we write it sits 0.6% higher against the dollar and 0.5% higher versus the euro.
One of the main stories on the day involved British bookmakers, whom suffered heavy losses after lawmakers look set to slash the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals. It looks as though the current maximum of £100 could be slashed to as little as £2. This is still being dismissed as rumour but speculation was enough today to prompt a sell off. Worst affected was William Hill, closing over 11% lower and Ladbrokes saw their shares drop c.8%. Paddy Power Betfair shares weren’t immune either, falling slightly over 2%.
Dixons Carphone provided a trading update today, covering mainly the crucial festive period, which showed a solid Christmas period meant that profit expectations for the full year remained within range of prior guidance. Shares jumped 6.8% as a result. Barclays shares topped the FTSE 100 (+4.34%), after the FT reported Tiger Global had bought around a 2.5% stake in the bank, indicating the expectation of a recovery for Barclays.