UK inflation picks up to 0.7% as clothing prices rise – business live

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The surge in cycling during the pandemic has helped UK retailer Halfords to double its profits.

Related: Bike boom: UK sales up 60% in April as Covid-19 changes lifestyles

Since the 5th of November we have seen some impact on trading as the second national lockdown came into force. Cycling has continued to grow; we saw an immediate upturn in our Mobile Expert business; and we have seen another shift towards our digital and home delivery channels.

However, sales of motoring products have been impacted, with Government data showing car traffic last week at 70% of pre-Covid-19 levels

As a sign of our confidence in the long-term prospects of our motoring business, and in order to meet the growing demand for our services in this area, we are in the process of recruiting to fill a wide range of service-oriented roles across our stores, Autocentres and fleet of Halfords Mobile Expert vans.

We are also making a substantial investment in further training for existing colleagues, including in the rapidly growing area of electric vehicle servicing as we work to fill the skills gap that exists in the UK. We will be training 100 more electric car technicians next year, bringing the total to 470.

Related: UK ban on new fossil fuel vehicles by 2030 'not enough' to hit climate targets

In the City, the FTSE 100 index has made a quiet start to the morning, down 18 points or 0.3% at 6347 points.

Insurance group RSA is leading the risers, up 4%, after receiving a £7.2bn takeover offer from Canada’s Intact Financial and Denmark’s Tryg.

“The initial vaccine euphoria is under pressure as Covid-19 cases continue to tick higher, highlighting the gulf between discovery and distribution.

With several US states implementing further restrictions and a further 70 000 hospitalisation cases, the impact on the economy remains in play.

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