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Asos confirms Arcadia talks; longer lockdown fears hit shares

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5pm: Hays shops close

Responding to news that Hays Travel is closing 89 shops, travel trade union TSSA says it’s “a sad but inevitable move” and accuses the government of recklessness.

It is unclear how many of the 388 jobs at risk will be able to transfer to home working or other alternative roles.

Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, said: ““The Coronavirus has fundamentally changed our way of life and our ability to travel, but the government has been reckless in its failure to act. We should have had border restrictions and effective test, track and trace implemented last spring when the virus levels could have been controlled.

“We are witnessing the death of our loved ones, the death of the high street, and chronic mismanagement of our economy by this Conservative government. Lives and livelihoods are being lost every day while Tory cronies line their pockets with government contracts. The government must be held responsible for this shameful record.”

4.30pm: London closes lower

Extended lockdown concerns, including warnings that the holiday season may be shut for months, caused travel and tourism shares to fall. The FTSE 100 closed 56,.22 points lower at 6,638.85.

2.30pm: Jenners to close

Edinburgh department store, Jenners, one of the most famous names in retail, is to close after its owner – Frasers – failed to reach an agreement on rent with the building’s owner, the Danish billionaire Anders Povlsen.

Full story here

10.30am: Funding to tackle Parkinson’s

A Scottish company has closed a £1.2m funding round to develop a pioneering digital pen which acts as an early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease.

Full story here

9.30am: SBN opens in New York

Scottish Business Network, the global organisation linking Scots around the world, is launching its first international outpost.

Full story here

8.15am: FTSE higher

London stocks opened higher as merger deals offered support, although gains were capped by worries about the economic impact from surging virus cases and lockdowns.

Online fashion retailers Boohoo and ASOS jumped 4% and 2% respectively (see below).

Mining and pharmaceutical sectors gained the most, while the mid-cap index rose 0.2%.

In early trade the FTSE 100 was just 3 points higher at 6,698.04.

7am: ASOS confirms Arcadia talks

TopShop Edinburgh

Asos has confirmed that it is in exclusive discussions with the administrators of Arcadia over the acquisition of the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands. 

The board said it believes this would represent a “compelling opportunity” to acquire strong brands that resonate well with its customer base.

However, it said there can be no certainty of a transaction and ASOS will keep shareholders updated as appropriate. Any acquisition would be funded from cash reserves. 

Boohoo buys Debenhams

Debenhams

Thousands of Debenhams staff will lose their jobs after Boohoo, the online fashion retailer, confirmed that it is buying the brand and other assets from its joint administrators for £55 million, but will not be acquiring its stores.

Full story here

Cockburn joins Fisher

James Fisher and Sons, the international marine services provider, has appointed former Pringle and Aggreko executive Angus Cockburn as non-executive chairman with effect from 1 May, when he will join the board.

Full story here

Markets

The FTSE 100 looks set to open the week in positive territory, taking its cue from Asia’s main markets.

South Korea’s Kospi led gains among the region’s major markets as it surged 2.18%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 2.04% while China’s Shanghai composite rose 0.18%.



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