Mar 21, 2023
End of DIY Boom Trims Profits at B&Q Owner: The London Rush
(Bloomberg) -- Not so long ago, when much of the UK was asked to stay indoors, thousands of people looked around their homes and though “this could be better.” And so, home improvement companies like B&Q benefitted from people with extra free time and cash deciding to tackle some DIY. Unfortunately for Kingfisher, high prices have put an end to that surge in home improvement activity, leading to a nearly 20% fall in retail profit.
Here’s the key business news from London this morning:
In The City
Pearson Plc: The learning company has agreed a sale of its international online program management business, Pearson Online Learning Services to Regent, a private equity company.
- The sale concludes the strategic review started in August, and the consideration will be split between profit-sharing and the proceeds of any future sale
Kingfisher Plc: The owner of B&Q and Screwfix reported falling sales year on year after a pandemic-era boom in home improvement fizzled out.
- The company expects to return to sales growth this year, with some impact in March from adverse weather conditions
Synthomer Plc: The resins maker has signed a new $480 million committed revolving credit facility, after warning in January that poorer macroeconomic conditions will lead to reduced demand for some of its products.
Barclays Plc: The bank promoted Ellis Thomas to oversee its sales teams for emerging-markets fixed-income products after the division helped hand the firm its best year ever for fixed-income trading revenues last year.
- Barclays also hired Deutsche Bank AG investment banker Jiongting Lim to lead its client coverage in Singapore, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg
The UK government borrowed at the highest rate since records began in 1993 and higher than economists had expected in February as the cost of supporting consumer energy bills surged.
More than half of Britons believe the Conservative government has failed to fix problems created by Liz Truss’s so-called mini-budget, which resulted in a drop in the pound and higher mortgage rates.
The recent banking drama, meanwhile, isn’t good news for Europe’s big luxury companies, as Bloomberg Opinion’s Andrea Felsted explains.
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Recruiters from Singapore to London to New York are getting an unprecedented flood of calls from Credit Suisse Group AG bankers seeking new jobs as the embattled Swiss lender is set to be taken over by UBS Group AG.
Outside the big city, Bloomberg’s Sarah Rappaport is taking a look at Carole Bamford’s new £15,000-a-year wellness club in the Cotswolds.
Fevertree Drinks Plc is among the companies set to report results tomorrow. The premium soft-drink maker saw train strikes in the run-up to Christmas hurting sales, it said in its latest trading update, citing the rising costs of glass bottles as additional hurdles.
Also at 7:00 a.m., fresh UK inflation data are expected to show underlying price pressures – which exclude volatile food and energy prices – easing to 5.7% in February from 5.8% the month before. Signs of cooling inflation will likely intensify the debate over whether the Bank of England should halt its cycle of interest rate increases.
For a more considered take on the UK's economic and financial news, sign up to Money Distilled with John Stepek.
--With assistance from Gabriela Mello.
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