By | January 29, 2018



• The latest consumer confidence tracker from Deloitte shows that UK consumer confidence remained flat in the fourth quarter of 2017, making it the first time there was not a fall in Q4 since the tracker began in 2011. Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, said: Despite a fierce squeeze in spending power last year, consumers went into 2018 in pretty good spirits. Low interest rates and plummeting unemployment mean that it’s not all been bad news for consumers. With record levels of job vacancies and an economy that continues to grow we would expect wage growth to edge higher this year as inflation eases. The worst of the squeeze on incomes is probably behind us.’

• EI Group Friday bought back 180k of its own shares for cancellation at 144.5p per share.

• Low- and no-alcohol is now a fast-growing lifestyle choice, according to analysis from Kantar Worldpanel, which shows that sales of beer and cider with less than 1.2% alcohol grew by nearly 30% last year. Budweiser launched its alcohol-free beer in the UK in November, Heineken unveiled a no alcohol version of its beer last year, while Tesco introduced a choice of five wines with less than 0.5% alcohol before Christmas.

• The Royal Society for Public Health has said all alcoholic labelling should show ‘mandatory warnings’ to tackle the ‘awareness vacuum’ regarding drinking guidelines and health risks. The RSPH proposed using traffic light colour coding – such as those used on other food items in the UK to indicate levels of fat, salt and sugar – and suggested other information such as the government’s 14 unit guideline, the link between alcohol and cancer and drink driving warnings.

Cushman & Wakefield partner Thomas Rose thinks has told MCA that there is ‘massive’ potential for food halls in the UK.

• Prezzo is understood to be suffering like-for-like sales declines of 6%-7%, with performance at its struggling Chimichanga brand even worse. According to a report just before Christmas by Debtwire, the c300-strong company is on target to breach its year-end debt covenants.

• Market Taverns has bought The Lady Ottoline pub just off Gray’s Inn Road in Clerkenwell, taking the group’s total of London pubs to six. Market Taverns’ Steve Welsh commented: ‘We are delighted to have secured this excellent pub; it is a great fit for our business. We are now on site carrying out repairs and redecoration; and expect to be open again in mid February. We are pleased to have found a couple of the old key members of staff including the Head Chef Tom Haste and we are looking forward to working with them.’

• Champagne has lowered the regions provisional production figures to 308m bottles from a predicted 312m, representing only a 0.5% increase on last year.

• Cask Marque is to introduce new cellar audits that will see if pubs are using the best practices to improve beer quality and yields.

• Elite Coffee, the Paul Harbottle-chained Starbucks franchisee, has announced it intends to open 21 sites by 2021, to be funded by a £1.1m crowdfunding raise.

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