Wage growth slows | Frasers’ German deal | Bellway warns
Wages are growing more slowly but growth in pay is now higher than inflation, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Annual growth in average total pay, excluding bonuses, for the three months to the end of August was 7.8%.
This was in line with market consensus, as cited by FXStreet. The figure for the previous three-month period was revised upwards to 7.9% from 7.8%.
Including bonuses, average pay growth cooled to 8.1%, which undershot market expectations of 8.3%. It was 8.5% in the three months to July.
The last time that pay growth overtook price increases was in October 2021, which was during the Covid pandemic.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “It’s good news that inflation is falling and real wages are growing, so people have more money in their pockets. To keep this progress, we must stick to our plan to halve inflation.”
Frasers expands in Germany
Frasers Group is acquiring SportScheck, one of the leading sports retailers in Germany. It said the acquisition of the 34-store chain will enable it to grow its presence in Germany, one of the biggest sports markets in Europe and a key focus area for the sports segment.
SportScheck has revenue of approximately €350m, and 13 million customer visitors per year.
Michael Murray, CEO of Frasers Group, commented: “Acquiring the leading sporting goods retailer in Germany is a big step in our journey to becoming the number one sports retailer in EMEA – and we are delighted to do this with the full support of major global brand partners, Adidas and Nike.
“Growing and expanding our Sports business is a key focus area in becoming an international retail business. The German market represents a huge opportunity for us.”
Housebuilder Bellway warned of persistent challenges in the housing sector, weighed down by weak demand in the wake of high mortgage rates after reporting an 18.1% fall in its annual underlying profit to £532.6 million. This was below analysts’ expectations of £533.4m.
Demand continues to be affected by mortgage affordability constraints, with reservations below the comparative rates in the prior year, it said. In the nine weeks since 1 August, overall weekly reservations were 133 per week (1 August to 2 October 2022 – 191) and the private reservation rate was 99 per week (1 August to 2 October 2022 – 136).
Jason Honeyman, group chief executive, said: “Bellway has delivered a resilient performance against a backdrop of rising mortgage interest rates and challenging market conditions.
“Looking ahead, our operational strength and experienced teams will enable the Group to successfully navigate a changing market, and we will maintain a clear focus on delivering high-quality homes to our customers and making further progress against the priorities set out in our ‘Better with Bellway’ sustainability strategy.
“The depth of our land bank and robust balance sheet provide ongoing strategic flexibility and scope for outlet growth in the year ahead. Notwithstanding the near-term market challenges, Bellway remains very well-placed to capitalise on future growth opportunities and to continue creating long-term value for all our stakeholders.”
The shares turned higher after making earlier losses.
Morrison’s Aberdeen deal
Morrison Construction will deliver a food, drink and retail market as part of plans to revive Aberdeen city centre.
Investors mulled an easing in UK wage growth and better-than-expected economic data in the States, driving up the FTSE 100 by 0.58% to close at 7,675.21, while the FTSE 250 added 0.97% to 17,689.46.