Market report

No Bank holiday lift for retail | ASOS bid talk


4.30pm: Market ends in green

The FTSE 100 closed 28.11 points higher at 7,628.10.

Primark owner Associated British Foods slipped 0.11% after announcing that it had acquired dairy technology firm National Milk Records for £48m.

Fashion retailer Asos tumbled 5.12%, having rallied on Monday amid speculation that the company could be a takeover target.

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group reported an increase in its stake in Asos, moving from 7.4% to 8.8% – a significant increase from its 5% stake in October 2022.

Retail holiday setback

Retail, Multrees Walk

Three Bank Holiday weekends failed to make any impression on UK retail sales which posted slow growth.

Total retail sales increased by 3.9% in May, or by 3.7% on an underlying basis, according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

That was an improvement on May 2022, when retail sales fell by 1.1% and 1.5% on an underlying basis.

But the growth was below the three-month average and notably lower than April, when sales rose by 5.1% or by 5.2% on a like-for-like basis.

Food sales increased by 9.8% in May on a like-for-like basis, while non-food sales nudged up just 0.5%.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The trio of bank holidays failed to get shoppers spending, as sales growth slowed to its lowest level in six months.

“While food sales got a boost from the coronation weekend, this was not sustained for the rest of the month.”

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said: “Retailers will be hoping that inflation levels in the wider economy continue to move in the right direction in order to boost much-needed consumer confidence.

“The wild card for the retail sector remains uncontrollable food inflation, which shows little sign of coming down in the near future, and is having a significant knock-on effect on non-essential spending.”

Global markets

Oil surrendered some of the price gains made after the production cut announced by Saudi Arabia over the weekend. Brent crude was trading at $76.61 a barrel.

Wall Street ended in the red following a disappointing services report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.6% lower, the S&P 500 down 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite off by 0.1%.

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 index was up 0.8%. The Shanghai Composite was down 0.3%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 0.6%.

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