Thursday update

DB Live: Boots and Johns Lewis; iomart; Persimmon

4.45pm: London close Boots and John Lewis cut jobs

London’s top flight closed 106.54 points lower at 6,049.62p following another wave of job cuts by high-profile retailers such as Boots and John Lewis.

Boots is cutting 4,000 jobs – or 7% of its workforce – by closing 48 opticians outlets and reducing staff at its head office in Nottingham.

The company sales at its core outlets dived 72% and sales at Boots Opticians slumped 48% during the coronavirus lockdown on the high street.

John Lewis confirmed it is planning to permanently close eight of its 50 stores with the likely loss of 1,300 jobs.

4pm: Forbes cuts LBTT

Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes unveiled a cut in the cost of buying a home just two days after the government ruled out such a move.

Full story here

11am: Iomart adds jobs

Cloud computing company iomart is creating 20 roles in its technical support teams in its Glasgow head office and in London. 

iomart, which has a staff of 400 in Glasgow, has required no support from the government’s furlough scheme during the lockdown. 

Reece Donovan, chief operating officer, said: “We are proud to have provided critical services and ensured business continuity, helping our customers and supporting our staff through the pandemic.

“As the economy moves into a new phase, we want to invest in talented people who have the skills we need to move our business to the next stage of growth.”

8.15am: London open

After opening higher and touching 6177, the FTSE 100 was trading a touch lower at 6,141.48. down 14.68 (0.24%).

7am: Persimmon

Persimmon homes

The housebuilder said it has seen encouraging sales levels throughout the period, in particular over the last six weeks when net reservations have been c. 30% ahead year on year.

“We enter the second half in a strong position, with work in progress well advanced, forward sales c. 15% ahead year on year, and cash holdings of c. £830m.”

Persimmon’s total revenues for the first six months of 2020 were £1.19bn (2019: £1.75bn)

Rolls-Royce jobs


Aerospace engineer Rolls-Royce says it has received more than 3,000 expressions of interest for voluntary severance in the UK with approximately two-thirds of these currently expected to leave by the end of August.

Full story here

6.30am: Markets

Traders are hoping momentum from the US and Asia overnight continues into London stocks following recent losses.

Spread betters expect the FTSE 100 index of large-caps to open 28.84 points higher at 6,185 after closing 33.74 points lower at 6,156.16 on Wednesday.

The Nikkei 225 index in Japan is up 0.6%. In China, the Shanghai Composite is up 1.3%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is up 0.5%.

6am: Burger King warning

Fast food chain Burger King’s UK boss Alasdair Murdoch has warned that the company may have to permanently close up to 10% of its stores.

That puts 1,600 jobs at risk. Only about 370 of the restaurant chain’s 530 UK stores have reopened since the nation went into lockdown.

Today’s agenda

* First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will announce the next round of changes to the lockdown

* Rolls-Royce expected to update on its job cut plans

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