Some of the weeks Leisure Industry News

By | October 15, 2016

Some of the weeks Leisure Industry News

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PUB, RESTAURANT & DRINKS PRODUCERS:

• Punch Taverns has said that it has seen an ‘astounding’ level of attendance at 6 recent nationwide roadshows.

• Next boss Lord Wolfson has said that inflation will be a problem for retailers next year.

• Soho House UK has posted a 24% increase in turnover to £104m for the 53 weeks to 3 January 2016, although new site development costs led to a loss of £6.7m, per Propel.

• Unilever has resolved its pricing dispute with Tesco, adding in a brief statement that it is pleased to move on from the ‘supply situation’.

• Pho has just completed a two-week campaign on Snapchat to better target the student population.

• Whitbread has appointed Deanna Oppenheimer and David Atkins as non-executive directors from 1 January 2017. The pair will replace Wendy Becker and Stephen Williams, who are stepping down in the coming months after nine years’ service.

• The Gipsy Queen in Kentish Town, known for its famous clientele, is available on Fleurets as a free-of-tie leasehold with a guide price of £150,000. Elysia Wilson-Gunn, Associate at Fleurets commented: ‘This property is charming both internally and externally, however it also possesses a two double bedroomed manager’s flat as well as a substantial beer garden.’

• Village pubs are still in great demand for pub use, at least across Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, according to a Fleurets report. The surveyors found that the majority of pubs sold across this region continue to be used as pubs, and have been sold for between £200,000-£450,000, including pubs such as The Inn at Greatworth and The Red Lion in Bloxham. While the latter’s status as an Asset of Community Value did put off developers, the pub was purchased by existing village operators and refurbished to a high standard.

• Chris Irving, Divisional Director from Fleurets, commented: ‘I have been involved in marketing pubs for over 25 years and it is very pleasing to see the return of confidence for purchasers looking for character village pubs which often offer not only great trading prospects, but a pleasant environment to live. A number of parties needed to raise funding for a percentage of the purchase price or to undertake full refurbishment programmes. It is great to see these investments, which not only make the pub a continued success but also keep villages vibrant.’

• Fuller’s has teamed up with Spanish premium lager Cervezas Alhambra to distribute the latter’s portfolio across the UK. Cervezas Alhambra’s products include Reserva 1925 and Especial, which have won numerous awards. Cervezas Alhambra Area Director, Santiago Fernandez Soriano commented: ‘The UK market is the leading territory outside of mainland Spain and we want to maximise the opportunity for consumers to choose our products. The on and off trade channels are an essential part of our strategy, and we were keen to support our growth ambitions in these areas.

• ‘Fuller’s has an extensive distribution network and field resource. Our partnership with Cervezas Alhambra will enable us to provide increased and focused support to our trade customers and to jointly develop plans that drive sales within the Spanish beer category.’

• Braspear will open its ninth managed pub at the end of November, the Retreat in Staines, formerly called the Anglers Retreat, following a major refurbishment.

• Giraffe Concepts, part of Harry Ramsden’s owner Boparan Restaurants Holdings, has acquired Ed’s Easy Diner. This consists of the brand, the head office team, and 33 Ed’s restaurants.

• Vianet updates on H1 trading, says trading ‘was ahead of same period last year, achieving good growth in line with Board’s expectations.’

• Vianet says following ‘good growth’, it will declare a maintained H1 dividend of 1.7 pence per share. Group says ‘the Group’s UK core beer flow monitoring operations, including iDraught, has continued to strengthen its market position and maintained its contribution, and encouragingly there are signs that the rate of pub closures in the sector has slowed down.’

• Vianet chairman James Dickson reports ‘we have continued to make good commercial progress by delivering highly relevant solutions that drive strong returns for our customers.’

• Booker has released its interim results for the 24 weeks to 9 September, during which total sales grew by 13% to £2.5bn but like-for-like non-tobacco sales only rose by 0.1%. Profit before tax for the wholesaler grew by 9% to £81m, driving an 11% increase in basic EPS to 3.83p and an identical increase in interim dividend to 0.63p a share. Booker retains its strong balance sheet, with a net cash position of £105.7m. The integration of Londis and Budgens is going well, while its online and India businesses continue to grow well.

• The wholesaler says of its current trading that: ‘the first four weeks of the current half year is ahead of the same period last year,’ although it anticipates the ‘challenging consumer and market environment will persist through the coming year and the UK’s food market remains very competitive’.

• Japanese brewer Kirin is to take a 25% stake in Brooklyn Brewery & will take the rights to sell Brooklyn’s beers in Japan. The cost of the purchase has not been disclosed. Craft beers currently account for around 4% of the market in Japan (compared to >12% in the US), but this figure is expected to grow.

• The Resolution Foundation has suggested that wage growth will weaken next year and says rises in the NLW should moderate.

• Resolution Foundation suggests NLW should be £7.50 per hour next year, down from earlier suggestions of £9.60. Resolution told the BBC ‘the National Living Wage relates to average earnings and because of Brexit, many forecasters, including the Bank of England, revised down their earnings growth; therefore the National Living Wage has also been revised down.’

• E-Cigs are now the biggest ‘smoking cessation aid’ in the UK. Yet, as the IEA points out, health authorities worldwide are trying to ban them. The Institute of Economic Affairs reports the European Commission approved a new directive to reclassify e-cigarettes as tobacco products for tax purposes. It says ‘this move, when implemented, will drastically increase the cost of the device and further hinder its take up.’ The IEA maintains that it is hard to see why ‘harm reduction’ should not be central to government & fiscal decisions.

• Tesco has stopped selling a number of Unilever brands after the latter pushed for raised prices post Sterling’s collapse. Tesco has said it was ‘currently experiencing availability issues on a number of Unilever products’.

• Stock Spirits Group has announced the acquisition of three spirits brands from Bohemia Sekt s.r.o for CZK135 million (€5m). The purchase means the brands could be distributed and marketed by Stock Spirits by the end of the month, and is in line with the group’s stated strategy of expanding its portfolio in its target markets through value-enhancing bolt-on acquisitions. Production will be fully integrated into Stock Spirits’ Czech production facilities in Plzeň by January 2017.

• Mirek Stachowicz, Chief Executive of Stock Spirits, said: ‘We are delighted to add Prazska, Nordic Ice and Dynybyl to our line-up, having tracked these brands for some considerable time. They have a rich heritage and, with the appropriate brand investment and nurturing within our wider spirits portfolio, their addition will ensure Stock remains at the forefront of the Czech spirits market, which is so central to our business. As we stressed in our interim results announcement, we will continue to pursue further smaller bolt-on acquisitions to add to our brands line-up.’

• A CGA Strategy survey suggests consumers will spend as much as 24% more on a cocktail that has been served properly and to a high standard. Speaking at the recent Morning Advertiser’s Future Trends: Spirits event last week, CGA Strategy director of client services Rachel Perryman said: ‘According to our research, 46% of consumers drink spirits in the on-trade and they will spend 24% more when the quality of the serve is right. This shows there’s definitely an opportunity for more growth in spirits in the on-trade and that’s about operators creating something that’s more appealing to customers.’

• Giggling Squid sales grew by 55% year-on-year to £11.8m in its most recent year and is expecting to grow from 17 sites to 25 by halfway through 2017, writes Propel.

• Free drink app Hooch has raised $1.5m to expand its drink a day subscription cocktail app, which entitles users to one free drink a day in different bars for $9.99 a month.

• Game Digital has announced a 5.1% fall in like-for-like sales to £822.5m for the 53 weeks to 30 July 2016, while profit before tax dropped by 81% to £4.9m. Adjusted (basic) earnings per share tumbled by 52.4% to just 8.9p as the video game retailer struggled in a ‘challenging UK console market’. The group has a ‘cautious outlook’ on current trading and expects adjusted FY16/17 EBITDA to be ‘broadly’ level with the current year ‘before the financial impact of its planned new live gaming activities’.

• Martyn Gibbs, Chief Executive Officer, said: ‘Market dynamics in the UK have undoubtedly been tough in the past year. The management team responded quickly to these new market conditions and have made significant progress with its action plan since January,’ but admitted the group recognises ‘that we need to continue to reposition and transform the business.’

• Although the results put Game Digital on a modest PE of 7.8 times at 70p, this is down from 230p at the start of the year, and the group still has a lot to do before it can tempt gamers to come shop in its stores rather than on the digital platforms set up by respective consoles and PC (Steam, Playstation Store et al.).

• Domino’s Pizza Group says it ‘continued to trade well’ in its third quarter, although its like-for-like system sales growth fell across its markets amid ‘tough comparators’. UK system sales LfL growth declined from 14.9% in the same period last year to 3.9% for a total of £220.9m, while ROI system sales growth fell from 14.1% to 7.6% for a total of €14.9m, and Switzerland fell from 5.3% to no growth and CHF 4.8m. The group’s total year-to-date performance is up by 11.5% versus 15.2% in the prior year.

• Domino’s Pizza Group currently has 920 stores in the UK and 34 of its 51 openings so far this year have been generated by splitting its trading areas between units. Commenting on the results and outlook, chief executive officer David Wild, said: ‘The business continues to trade well with a strong sales uplift across the Group during the period.  As highlighted at our interim results in July, we face tough comparatives in the second half of the year, but our continued investment in e-commerce, our international expansion and the launch of our new Italiano range taking us to new customers, will help to drive performance for the remainder of the year.  Our new store programme provides a strong platform for future growth.’

• Barclaycard data suggests consumer spending exceeded expectations in the wake of the EU referendum result

• Barclaycard reports spending rose by 3.6% y-o-y during the warmer weather in Q3 this year versus last

• Barclaycard says consumer spending +2.6% in July but +4.2% in the months of August and September. Barclaycard reports ‘this recovery in confidence, combined with the warmer September weather, helped to prolong the summer feeling amongst consumers last month.’ It continues ‘increased spend on experiences, and in particular with friends and family in pubs and restaurants, delivered one of the strongest months for spend growth so far this year.’

• AB InBev has completed the divestiture of SABMiller’s Peroni, Grolsch, and Meantime brands.

• Ask and Zizzi operator Azzurri has bought the former Monikers site in Hoxton Square for the first site of its new fast-casual pizza concept, Radio Alice.

• iNTERTAIN has launched a new employee engagement app called Pulse, which is designed to allow staff to share best practice in the workplace.

• UK food and drink manufacturers express concern over increased ingredient prices and lower margins in a survey conducted by Food and Drink Federation (FDF). This news comes alongside the highest quarterly results for UK retailers in food sales since 2013.

• YUM Brands has updates shareholders at a capital markets day saying ‘our mission is to build the world’s most loved, trusted and fastest-growing restaurant brands.’

• YUM to focus more on a franchised model. The group has told shareholders ‘partnering with growth-minded franchisees, Yum! Brands will increase franchise restaurant ownership from 77% currently to 93% at the time of the separation of the China business to at least 98% by fiscal year ending 2018, with a focus on equipping and recruiting the best restaurant operators in the world to deliver great customer experiences and drive brand growth.’

• YUM will use its China separation as a catalyst to drive change and growth. Execution will be an issue but CEO Greg Creed maintains ‘the separation of our China business provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to review our operating model and consider all possibilities available under our new structure. The transformed Yum! Brands will maintain its geographic diversity with continued, meaningful exposure to the growth potential of the world’s largest consumer market, China.’

• YUM outlines that its China business will become a licensee of Yum! Brands in Mainland China.’ The company says ‘Yum China will have exclusive rights to KFC, China’s leading quick-service restaurant concept, Pizza Hut, the leading casual dining brand, and Taco Bell, which is expanding globally but is not yet in China.’ China boss Micky Pant says ‘Yum China is a powerhouse business that will be one of China’s largest publicly traded retail companies.’ He adds ‘with our unique market position and a rapidly growing middle class and urban population, we believe that we offer an unrivalled opportunity for sustained long-term growth in China.’ The separation is currently expected to occur after the close of business on October 31, 2016.

• YUM has said that it expects to return up to $13.5bn to shareholders by 2019.

• Nearly 100,000 businesses who had to implement the National Living Wage six months ago in April 2016 are now in a state of financial distress. New research from insolvency firm Begbies Traynor shows that 97,342 businesses were experiencing financial difficulties on 1 October in affected industries, marking a 23% increase on the number of firms struggling six months ago.

• This number includes 33,835 retailers, 13,772 wholesale outlets, 13,071 transportation and logistics firms, 10,809 bar and restaurants, 10,019 food and drug retailers, 7,803 food and beverage retailers, 5,406 sports, and health clubs and 3,347 hotels. The situation for these firms is only set to intensify as the government moves towards its target of £9 an hour by 2020.

• Premier Foods has warned that warm weather in September has hit grocery sales numbers. It says, however, that ‘the Group’s profit expectations for the full year remain unchanged due to the careful management of costs.’

LEISURE TRAVEL & HOTELS:

• Elegant Hotels updates on trading for full year, says results will be in line with market expectations.

• Elegant Hotels says uncertainty means bookings are running behind the same period last year. Group says it ‘is only 14 days into its new financial year and, whilst it appears UK consumer confidence is returning, the political uncertainties in the UK over the summer months are, it believes, responsible for bookings for the current financial year tracking slightly behind the same period last year.’ The group adds ‘given these recent booking trends, the Board believes it is prudent to have a cautious outlook, with Group revenue for the current year currently expected to be broadly flat in comparison with FY16.’ CEO Sunil Chatrani reports ‘while the underlying market conditions of the last few months have undoubtedly been challenging, we are delighted to have successfully launched Waves Hotel and Spa, our first acquisition since IPO, and are looking forward to finalising the management contract for our first hotel outside Barbados. Barbados remains a beautiful place to visit, and we continue to be extremely fortunate to have a peaceful, politically stable and exceptionally tourist-friendly island on which to provide a high quality luxury offering to our guests. As a result, and notwithstanding the immediate headwinds that we face, we remain confident in the long term growth prospects for Elegant Hotels.’

• The US hotel industry’s occupancy fell once more in the week to 8 October, down 1% to 70.9%, as RevPAR was propped up by average daily rate increases. Among the Top 25 Markets, San Francisco/San Mateo, California, posted the largest year-over-year performance increases in ADR (+25.9% to US$326.74) and RevPAR (+22.3% to US$296.86). Occupancy in the market was down 2.8% to 90.9%.

• The BHA has said that London hotels are struggling to attract their fair share of Chinese visitors. The BHA says operators need to be more pro-active. It says ‘London is the greatest city in the world but it’s lagging behind its European neighbours in terms of attracting Chinese tourists and it’s time to take action.’ The BHA continues ‘hoteliers want to capitalise on what is likely to be a much more mature market in five or ten years’ time, but we need to be proactive today.’

• The UK Brexit vote has had ‘no impact’ on bookings, according to Thomas Cook UK managing director Chris Mottershead, but terrorist attacks have ‘changed the industry’. Mottorshead added that ‘bookings are strong for future seasons,’ and downplayed the current impact of the falling sterling, explaining at the Travel Convention in Abu Dhabi that ‘the impact of the exchange rate will be [felt] more down the road.’

• Consumer confidence in holiday bookings has not been rocked by the UK’s vote to leave the EU, according to PwC partner David Trunkfield.

• Consumer confidence in holiday bookings have not been blown off course by the Brexit vote. The main holiday continues to be the second most important spending priority after grocery shopping and above savings and investments and home improvements, according to PwC research released at the convention in Abu Dhabi.

• Monarch managing director Andrew Swaffield came out at the recent Abu Dhabi Travel Convention to ‘thank the trade for supporting Monarch’.

• The long-awaited decision on airport expansion could be made as early as next Tuesday.

• Greybull has put £165m into Monarch Airlines easing recent fears over the group’s finances. Andrew Swaffield, chief executive officer of The Monarch Group, said: ‘It is testament to the extensive effort by all parties, over the past weeks and months, that we are able to announce the largest investment in our 48-year history, as well as the renewal of our Atol licences. I’d like to thank the CAA, our shareholders, partners, loyal customers and the team at Monarch for helping us to achieve this successful outcome. We are now firmly focused on the future as a stronger Monarch.’

• Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer has warned against ‘complacency in government’ over Britain’s exit from the EU and related threats to free movement. Speaking at The Travel Convention in Abu Dhabi, Tanzer cautioned: ‘Economic interconnectedness continues to grow. But I want to warn against any complacency. Even before the Brexit referendum we were seeing barriers to migration rising. The IMF warned last week of a rising tide of protectionism.

• ‘The prime minister returned to a very traditional philosophy at the Conservative Party conference last week, [saying] that if you feel a citizen of the world you are a citizen of nowhere. I disagree with her. We’ve seen rising animosity to immigrants. [But] travel needs open borders – for visitors and for workers. We will be arguing for a [Brexit] solution that meets the needs of the industry.

• ‘Our priorities are open skies and free movement of people, and they are tied together. You can’t separate them and we’ll try to make the government realise that.’

• UK China flight numbers set to double with flights rising from 40 per week to 100. Cargo services will be unlimited. Transport secretary Chris Grayling said ‘this deal is a big moment for the UK. Strong connections with emerging markets like China are vital for us if we are to continue competing on the global economic stage. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese people visit the UK every year, spending hundreds of millions of pounds. Raising the number of permitted flights between the 2 countries will provide massive opportunities for our businesses, helping increase trade, create jobs and boost our economy up and down the country.’

• STR has reported that the number of hotel rooms in the process of being built in the Asia Pacific region stands at c582,000

• Christie & Co research shows that London RevPAR is down 2.3% year-to-August 2016 due to faltering occupancy levels as a result of supply side pressures. Approximately 8,500 additional rooms have come online between 2014and Q2 2016. The regional market remains more buoyant, however, with cities like Edinburgh, York, and Brighton helping to drive 3% RevPAR growth.

• STR’s September 2016 Pipeline Report shows 152,705 rooms in 1,016 projects Under Contract in Europe, up 17.5% year-on-year. Meanwhile, there were 549,142 rooms in 4,510 projects Under Contract in the United States, marking a 24.4% year-on-year rise.

• Thomas Cook’s UK and Ireland managing director market disruptors like Airbnb will become regulated as customers demand ‘safety and security’. Speaking at the Abta Travel Convention 2016, Chris Mottershead commented: ‘What happens with companies like Airbnb is they become regulated. If you want the very best experience on your holiday you want someone to make sure it’s safe and secure. You’re not going to take a chance. There are pros and cons for everyone but it’s ultimately about that holiday experience.

• ‘As your business grows and becomes more established and get noticed people start to look more closely at your model. Technology changes and moves on, but for me that’s not what’s important, that’s just access to the customer. Our 800 shops are in demand which shows people still want that personal service.’

• James Villas is to give agents access to its portfolio of nearly 3,000 properties by selling through the trade for the first time.

• FairFX research shows some airports are now offering as little as 0.88 Euro cents to the pound, while the US dollar is nearly at parity. This means airport providers are charging travellers as much as 26% commission.

• A consumer survey indicates that booking holidays via mobile phone is less popular now than it was a year ago and the PC remains the most widely used method.

• Abta has reported a rise in high street and package bookings in its Holiday Habits Report 2016, with 19% of travellers booking in-store over the past year vs. 17% in 2015. The report, which is based on the Abta Consumer Trends survey, found that the most affluent households and younger people were found to be the most likely to book in-store, with 35% and 29% opting to do so respectively.

• Airbnb alternatives Wimdu (300,000 apartments) and 9flats (250,000 apartments) have teamed up, although the financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

• Travel management firm Travel Counsellors has posted a 14% increase in international sales and a 12% rise in UK sales year-on-year for September.

• Profits fell by more than 11% at hotels close to Heathrow in August as airport passenger numbers slowed, according to HotStats. More holidaymakers decided to take a domestic break in August. An increase of 2.8% in average room rate to £68.59 was not enough to offset the 5.8% decline in occupancy during August, as revenue per available room fell 3.9% to £57.32.

FINANCE & MARKETS:

• The US Labour Department has been able to report that initial claims for unemployment benefit were at a 43yr low last week

• The SNP is to prepare the ground for a second referendum on Scotland’s membership of the UK. The Scots voted in June to remain within the EU. SNP boss Nicola Sturgeon comments ‘I am determined that Scotland will have the ability to reconsider the question of independence and to do so before the UK leaves the EU – if that is necessary to protect our country’s interests.’ She continues ‘so, I can confirm today that the Independence Referendum Bill will be published for consultation next week.’

• There are now more US dollar billionaires in China than there are in the USA.

• World markets: UK & Europe down yesterday, US also lower. Far East markets better in Friday trading

• Oil off a little further at around $52 per barrel for Brent Crude.

• Sterling bounced a little yesterday. Falling as we write but trading around $1.223 per US dollar

• Tom Scholar, permanent secretary at the Treasury, has said that The City will be a high priority in talks re EU exit. Mr Scholar comments ‘the UK economy and UK exports are quite services-heavy, and financial services are an important part of that. So I think we will be very keen indeed to make sure the final agreement gives the proper place to financial services within that.’ He adds ‘so it will have a high priority in our discussions.’

• Minutes from the latest Fed meeting (Sept) show that the decision to hold rates was a ‘close call’. The minutes report ‘several members judged that it would be appropriate to increase the target range for the federal funds rate relatively soon if economic developments unfolded about as expected.’ They continue ‘it was noted that a reasonable argument could be made either for an increase at this meeting or for waiting for some additional information on the labour market and inflation’.

• The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has said that house buying demand is recovering from its “post-referendum jitters”. The RICS says ‘the market does now appear to be settling down following the significant headwinds encountered through the spring and summer. Buyers do appear to be returning, albeit relatively slowly, but the big issue that continues to be highlighted by respondents is the lack of fresh stock on the market.’

• World markets: UK & Europe down yesterday but US higher. Far East down in Thursday trading

• Oil off a little. Brent Crude now around $51.50 per barrel.

• Sterling off again, trading at around $1.2179 per Pound. Was around $1.46 pre the Brexit referendum. Petrol prices to rise perhaps this week

• 10yr gilt yields have passed 1% for the first time since the Brexit vote as Sterling has continued its fall

• BBC says FTSE100 near its highs on better export prospects. Would that 10% of the economy could power the whole. It’s just translation.

• Crude oil prices stronger on back of Vladimir Putin’s support of OPEC’s production cap plan. Oil price now +135% in Sterling terms.

• Bank of England’s Michael Saunders suggests ‘given the scale and persistence of the UK’s current account deficit, I would not be surprised if sterling falls further, but I am fairly agnostic as to whether any further depreciation is likely.’

• Alcoa disappointed in the US overnight. Seen as a bellwether, poor numbers suggest there may be something in the suggestion that corporate earnings may struggle to match expectations thereof

• World markets: UK mixed with FTSE100 down on oil worries. Europe down, US down and Far East down in Weds trade

• Oil price edging back. Brent crude $52.60.

• Sterling hitting new lows. Below 123c per pound vs dollar.

YESTERDAY IN A NUTSHELL – SELECTION OF TWEETS, LIVE TWEETS ON WEBSITE:

• Giraffe Concepts, part of Harry Ramsden’s owner Boparan Restaurants Holdings, has acquired Ed’s Easy Diner

• Vianet updates on H1 trading, says trading ‘was ahead of same period last year, achieving good growth in line with Board’s expectations.’

• Game Digital has announced a 5.1% fall in like-for-like sales to £822.5m for the 53 weeks to 30 July 2016

• Japanese brewer Kirin is to take a 25% stake in Brooklyn Brewery & will take the rights to sell Brooklyn’s beers in Japan

• Resolution Foundation has suggested that wage growth will weaken next year and says rises in the NLW should moderate.

• E-Cigs are now biggest ‘smoking cessation aid’ in the UK. Yet, as the IEA points out, health authorities worldwide are trying to ban them

• Tesco has stopped selling a number of Unilever brands after the latter pushed for raised prices post Sterling’s collapse

• CGA Strategy survey suggests consumers will spend 24% more on a cocktail that has been served properly and to a high standard

• Greybull has put £165m into Monarch Airlines easing recent fears over the group’s finances

• UK China flight numbers set to double with flights rising from 40 per week to 100. Cargo services will be unlimited

• Christie & Co says London RevPAR down 2.3% year-to-August 2016 due to faltering occupancy levels as a result of supply side pressures

• Thomas Cook’s UK & Ireland managing director market disruptors like Airbnb will become regulated as customers demand ‘safety and security’

• Other tweets: Sugar +63% over 12mths in US$ terms. In Sterling, it’s +97%. Oil +135%. Hog prices down 19% in US$ but unchanged in Sterling

• Orange Juice +80% in Sterling, one Euro costing £1.13 in some airports. Distortions already becoming apparent, inflation likely to follow

• Tesco Unilever spat won’t be the last. International operators will want to earn same in $$s or €€s. That means higher Sterling prices

• Odds on Dec rate rise Stateside still 65%. US$ weakness not likely unless that changes. Sterling still at lows

• WH Smith. Not being funny but just remind me, what’s the raison d’etre? Ditto Game Digital. If they didn’t exist, would you invent them?

• Defunct business models. Look what happened to Blockbuster. Somebody was buying those shares till the day it keeled over

• Ed’s. A lesson in non-success (a.k.a. failure). Still, Boparan prob. getting 35 sets of loos, kitchens, furniture, F&E etc. for <£0.5m each

• Monarch. Brinkmanship or good money after bad? Betting probably on the former. No drop in capacity. Was the expected outcome

• Marston’s Q4 update. Trading in line, forecasts secure, LfLs all positive, 22 new pubs & 6 lodges this year. PER <10x.

• MARS Premium & Destination +2.3% LfL, Taverns’ +2.7%, LfL EBITDA from leased pubs is +2% on last year, brewing +13%

• CEO Ralph Findlay comments ‘Marston’s has delivered another year of solid progress with underlying growth across all of our pub divisions’

• Barclaycard data suggests consumer spending exceeded expectations in the wake of the EU referendum result

• Barclaycard says consumer spending +2.6% in July but +4.2% in the months of August and September

• YUM outlines that its China business will become a licensee of Yum! Brands in Mainland China.’

• Premier Foods has warned that warm weather in September has hit grocery sales numbers

• A consumer survey indicates that booking holidays via mobile phone is less popular now than it was a year ago

• 10yr gilt yields have passed 1% for the first time since the Brexit vote as Sterling has continued its fall

• Bellwether Alcoa disappointed in US overnight. Poor numbers. Could be something in suggestion that corporate earnings may struggle

• Domino’s Pizza Group says it ‘continued to trade well’ in Q3, although LfL system sales growth fell across its markets amid ‘tough comps’

• Businesses will not now have to publish how many foreign workers they employ. That policy didn’t last long. Clarity still gone missing

• BBPA sets out manifesto for Britain’s exit from the EU, with policies including a focus on free trade and attracting and retaining overseas skills

• UK retail sales returned to growth in September thanks to higher spending on food, more purchases on big-ticket items

• Motoring organisations are suggesting that petrol prices will have to rise by 5p this month. Further rises may follow

• Domestic visitors to the UK spend £19.7bn in record growth last year, while China entered the top 10 most valuable markets, reports VisitBritain.

• Peel Hotels reports H1 numbers, sales +1.8% at £9.1m, PBT +19.2% at £592k. REVPAR +2.9% with occupancy down 2.3%

• Monarch is thought to be close to agreeing a revised aircraft order with Boeing that could help secure the airline’s future

• Pure Gym has cancelled its IPO per Sky News citing challenging IPO market conditions. The company declined to comment further

• Times points out Wm Hill potential merger partner was recently fined $870m and its former CEO is being investigated over insider trading

• Other Tweets: Sterling at 30yr lows. Stuck recordsville Arizona. Nonetheless worth noting some airports now offering 88c for the Euro to the Pound

• Markets going up? Headlines true but misleading. Foreign companies (STAN, miners etc.) going up & domestics (builders, REITs etc.) falling

• BCC looking for 1% growth next year. Deloitte says CFOs focusing on cost cutting to hit targets rather than growth

• BRC says retailers making more concerted effort to pass on price rises. Why should they be stuck holding the baby, right? Any volunteers?

• Inflation in the offing? Low margin operators will be in direr need of passing on price rises. Fat margin operators a bit more sanguine?

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