Daily Business Live

Premier Inn sees pick up; Dr Martens; Halfords; Voyager


5pm: London lower

The FTSE 100 closed lower, with commodities among the biggest fallers while tech stocks held up well on Wall Street,.

Britain’s blue chip benchmark finished session down by 31 points, or 0.44%, at 7,153 as traders responded negatively to interest rate pressures.

The Dow Jones fell over 288 points and the S&P500 shed around nine. However, the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained over 102 points.

11am: EasyJet takes off

Shares in EasyJet rose 4% as it announced 12 UK new domestic services to cash in on the “staycation” market and replaces some routes previously served by Stobart Air which collapsed last weekend.

Full story here

8.30am: FTSE 100 drifts lower

The FTSE 100 followed global markets lower on warnings of tighter monetary policy, but was off its early low, trading at 7,162.97, down 21.98 (0.31%).

7am: Premier Inn

Premier Inn

Premier Inn owner Whitbread said total UK accommodation sales were down 60.9% in the first quarter, with food and beverage sales down 86%, reflecting the Government’s lockdown restrictions that were in place for most of the quarter.

It said it had seen very strong forward booking trends in tourist locations throughout the summer, and improved forward bookings across the majority of the rest of the estate, with the exception of airport locations and central London.

It reported 19 of 30 operational hotels open in Germany, with occupancy levels improving in a challenging but recovering market.

Alison Brittain, CEO, said: “The Group traded significantly ahead of the market during the quarter, despite the impact of the UK Government restrictions that were in place for the  majority of the first quarter.

“Trading in the UK since May 17, when overnight leisure stays were permitted, and when our restaurants fully reopened for indoor service, has been encouraging.

“Additionally, our forward bookings continue to improve, benefiting from the anticipated post-lockdown bounce in leisure demand, and a continued gradual improvement in business bookings. During the first quarter we opened 10 new hotels in the UK.”

7am: Halfords soars

The motor parts and cycling group posted a strong performance driven by share gains in motoring services, profitability improvements across the group, and share gains and strong demand in cycling.

Underlying profit before tax was up 72.3% to £96.3m for the year to 2 April.

7am: Voyager applies for Aquis admission

Voyager, the health and wellness company established to supply high-quality Cannabidiol and hemp seed oil products, has formally applied for admission to the Aquis Stock Exchange Growth Market, as it prepares to open its first store and extend its product range. 

In February, the company raised £874,000 through a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, and in April raised a further £741,000 through a private fundraise, including a commitment of £100,000 from Greencare Capital, the Aquis-quoted investment company focused on medicinal cannabis and related areas. 

Voyager has opened more than 20 trading accounts with independent retail stores and chains in the last month, representing another potentially significant source of revenue for the firm which has, to date, relied largely on online sales through its own website and more than 20 third-party sites, including popular online platforms Amazon, eBay and Etsy. 

The company has signed a lease on retail premises in St Andrews which is due to open next month, its first physical store.

7am: Dr Martens

Dr Martens

The footwear company posted maiden finals showing revenue up 15% and EBITDA 22% higher.

Kenny Wilson, chief executive, said: “We continue to prioritise selling directly to our consumers, and, with retail severely impacted by Covid-19 restrictions, we focused our efforts on a step-change in e-commerce, achieving revenue growth of 73%, representing 30% of total mix.

“Whilst the global trading environment remains uncertain, the strength of our iconic global brand means we look to the future with confidence.”

7am: DeepMatter deal with Leeds University

DeepMatter, the Glasgow-based AIM-quoted company focusing on digitising chemistry, has been selected as a partner for the University of Leeds following a £1.4m EPSRC investment to develop automated precision manufacturing approaches in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, AstraZeneca, Somaserve and Samsung.

Global markets

Equities were broadly subdued after the Federal Reserve last night voted unanimously to keep rates at zero and maintain its current pace of bond-buying stimulus.

However, the US central bank has alerted the markets to inflationary pressures and yesterday guided expectations towards a change of direction in terms of policy in the coming months.

Officials indicated that rates will increase twice by the end of 2023, compared to previous expectations they would remain at current levels until 2024.

Fed chairman Jerome Powell said: “Inflation has been higher and more persistent than expected.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.77%, the S&P 500 slipped 0.54% and the Nasdaq moved 0.24% lower.

Japan’s Nikkei was off by more than 1% whilst Hong Kong’s Hang Seng managed a small rise of 0.12%.

The FTSE 100 was expected to slip by about 30 points at the open.

UK inflation jumped to 2.1% in May, the highest figure for two years.

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