Home Money LIVE BUSINESS: Retail sales stagnate; 888 admissions exceeded forecasts; Home REIT raises £15.9 million

LIVE BUSINESS: Retail sales stagnate; 888 admissions exceeded forecasts; Home REIT raises £15.9 million

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 LIVE BUSINESS: Retail sales stagnate; 888 admissions exceeded forecasts; Home REIT raises £15.9 million

The FTSE 100 will open at 8am Companies with reports and trading updates today include 888 and Home REIT. Read the Business Live blog from Friday, April 19 below.

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888 admissions exceeded forecasts

Bookmaker 888 noted that first-quarter revenue beat expectations, helped by strong customer volumes, and said it expects revenue to return to growth from the second quarter onwards.

The group posted revenue of £431m for the three months to March 31, beating forecasts of £420m to £430m.

Per Widerström, CEO of 888, said:

“I am pleased to report that Q1 2024 revenue was slightly above our forecasts, with strong player volumes translating into better revenue run rates.

‘Having navigated several regulatory and compliance changes during the quarter, and with increased marketing investment supported by an exciting product portfolio, we remain confident of a return to growth from Q2 2024.

‘I was delighted to outline our multi-year value creation plan alongside our full year results in March, and am pleased to report a strong quarter of progress against these plans.

“We are moving forward decisively and at pace to position our company for long-term success, and I look forward to providing further updates on our progress in the coming months.”

Two BP executives to leave in first shakeup since Looney resigned

Two female executives are leaving BP in the first reshuffle since former boss Bernard Looney resigned for failing to disclose his relationships with colleagues.

Chief technology officer Leigh-Ann Russell is leaving after 18 years at the oil giant, while Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath is leaving after two years leading the company’s low-carbon and gas division. Both will be replaced by men.

Why retail sales will gradually improve

Thomas Pugh, economist at RSM UK:

‘The stability of retail sales in March means that sales volumes increased by 1.9% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter, another strong sign that the recession that affected the second half of last year is over.

‘We expect retail sales volumes to continue to gradually improve from here for three key reasons. First, real household disposable income will rise rapidly from April as inflation falls back to 2% and tax cuts take effect. This will boost overall consumer spending and retail sales volumes. What’s more, consumer confidence should continue to rise, ensuring that households spend most of their new income.

‘Second, inflation is especially weak in retail sales. The price of retail goods increased by just 2.2% year-on-year in March, the slowest increase since the beginning of 2021. This means that continued strong nominal spending will increasingly be reflected in sales volumes.

‘Third, retail sales volumes are still approximately 2% below their pre-pandemic level. This is partly a hangover after a huge splurge on goods spending during the pandemic.

‘But after two years of reduced spending on retail goods, households will have to start replacing some of the things bought during the pandemic. What’s more, as the property market begins to recover and transactions increase, this will drive demand for home goods.’

No Easter bounce for retailers

Silvia Rindone, EY UK&I Retail Leader:

‘After a difficult start to the year, retail sales remained stable in March after a 0.1% increase in February.

‘Easter did not bring the increase in sales that retailers expected, and sales volumes and values ​​remained relatively unchanged for a second month. Non-food stores recorded a sales volume increase of 0.5%, while food stores and non-commercial retailers saw a decline of 0.7% and 1.5%.

“As we head into the summer months, retailers are expecting a turnaround as consumer confidence grows.”

Retail sales stagnate in March

UK retail sales volumes stagnated in March, missing forecasts for 0.3 per cent growth, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

It follows growth of 0.1 percent in February, following an improvement on previous estimates of flat growth.

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