Coronavirus - 2 November


• Business borrowing up five-fold over January-August compared to 2019

• Scotland records no new deaths

• FCA extends payment holidays

• Peel Hunt report - Lockdown 2: the impact

Company news

Food, Drinks & Household

• Associated British Foods – “As of today, all Primark stores in the Republic of Ireland, France, Belgium, Wales, Catalonia in Spain and Slovenia are temporarily closed, which represent 19% of our total retail selling space. The announced period of closure varies by market. The UK Government announced its intention to close non-essential shops in England for one month from 5 November to 2 December. Assuming that this will be passed by the UK Parliament on 4 November, 57% of our total selling space will be temporarily closed from 5 November.

Our estimated loss of sales for these stores, including the stores in England, for the announced periods of closure is £375m.

Trading hours are also restricted in a number of other markets. Uncertainty about further temporary store closures in the short-term remains.”

• Ocado Retail – “Ocado continues to see high demand, as consumers migrate to online grocery in record numbers. Sales are in line with the trends reported in the third quarter although growth rates reflect the seasonality of the quarter. As a result of this strong performance, Ocado Group today announces that it expects full year EBITDA for the group to be over £60m, versus previous guidance of over £40m.”


• Ryanair – Ryanair customers will not be refunded for flights in November according to Michael O’Leary. The carrier will not cancel any of the flights it had scheduled during that period and the law states that passengers are only entitled to a refund if their flight is cancelled.


• Slovakia is testing everyone over the age of 10. The operation, which is due to test 4 million people, should be done over two weekends, according to the government.

• In Wales shops, gyms, schools and places of worship will reopen on 9 November; however, working from home where possible will continue to be encouraged, according to First Minister Mark Drakeford.

• All 40 FA Cup round one ties, including those involving non-elite teams, will be played as planned over 6-9 November, despite England’s new lockdown. The government has confirmed that the 10 non-elite teams left in the FA Cup can play under elite protocols.

• There were no daily deaths reported in Scotland today. The total number of deaths remains at 2,849.

• Businesses borrowing from banks will leap more than fivefold in 2020 compared to last year, according to analysis from the EY Item Club. The study found that net borrowing from banks rose to £43.2bn between January and August, from £8.8bn for 2019. It expects the total stock of loans from banks to businesses to increase 11% to £493bn by the end of the year.

• The Financial Conduct Authority has extended payment holidays by up to six months on mortgages, credit cards, car finance, personal loans and pawned goods ahead of the four-week lockdown in England. Those with short-term credit, such as payday loans can defer for one month.

• Greece will impose a two-week lockdown in Serres in the north of the country.

• Geneva will impose a partial lockdown on Monday

*corporate client of Peel Hunt