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Today's Markets: Tesco growth dries up, retail sales slump amid post-Covid dining out surge

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Today's Markets: Tesco growth dries up, retail sales slump amid post-Covid dining out surge
  • Retail sales drop as shoppers dine out 
  • Tesco shares dip as sales plateau
  • Health experts warn of Olympic Covid-19 threat

Good morning and welcome to the IC’s Markets Live blog, where we round up the latest news which affects your portfolio.

Retail sales drop

Retail sales across Great Britain dropped 1.4 per cent between April and May 2021, after levels rose in April when lockdown restrictions eased.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest contribution to the monthly decline reported on Friday morning came from food stores. According to fresh data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), volumes here slipped 5.7 per cent as the hospitality industry opened up and more people headed out to eat and drink.

Still, average total retail sales for April and May combined were 7.7 per cent higher than those recorded for March and 9.1 per cent higher than in February 2020 – before Covid-19 took hold.

Tesco plateaus

Tough comparators and progression along Boris Johnson’s lockdown exit roadmap also had a hand to play in Tesco’s (TSCO) numbers on Friday. The FTSE 100 grocery giant posted just a 1 per cent rise in group retail sales on a like-for-like basis for the quarter ending 29 May, reaching £13.4bn.

But on a two-year basis, like-for-like sales were up 8 per cent, Tesco said. In the UK, growth was buoyed by the “retained benefit of customers consuming more meals at home vs. pre-Covid-19”, although momentum “moderated in April/May as restrictions eased”.

JP Morgan buys Nutmeg

And turning to news overnight from across the Atlantic, JPMorgan Chase (US:JPM) has agreed to buy UK online investment platform Nutmeg. 

Nutmeg – a company which aims to “democratise wealth management by empowering nations of investors” – has more than 140,000 clients and over £3.5bn of assets under management. It said on Thursday that it will “form the bedrock of the bank’s retail digital wealth management offering internationally over the long term, complementing the launch of Chase as a digital bank in the UK later this year”.

For our full analysis of today’s events, read the live blog below: