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BUSINESS CLOSE: Retail sales fall but services sector sees fast growth

The FTSE 100 has rebounded after a turbulent week, closing up 0.2 per cent, or 14 points, to 7,204, while the UK-focused FTSE 250 has closed also 14 points higher at 22,931.

The pound fell back slightly after weaker-than-expected retail sales figures, but remained close to recent highs. Sterling was last down 0.2 per cent against the dollar and the euro at $1.377 and €1.18.

UK retail sales dropped by 0.2 per cent in September, adding to signs of weakness in the recovery and bucking economists’ expectations of growth.

But it was not all doom and gloom, with the latest IHS Markit/CIPS flash composite index for services and manufacturing coming in above expectations.

The UK’s private business sector enjoyed its fastest growth in three months, although that was mostly thanks to the services sector, while the manufacturing industry suffered from severe supply chain and jobs shortages.  

In company news, Sainsbury’s has ended discussions about selling its banking operation after concluding that approaches it first received in November 2020 did not offer good value for shareholders, the supermarket group has said. 

Shares in crisis-hit Evergrande plunged in Hong Kong yesterday after the stock started trading again following a 17-day suspension.

Shares in the Chinese property giant, which is cracking under the weight of a £221billion debt pile, were suspended on 4 October after it said it may have found a buyer for Evergrande Property Services, one of its most profitable businesses.

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Sainsbury’s sad the offers it had received for its banking arm did not represent good value to shareholders


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