Coronavirus - 7 October


• Donald Trump ends negotiations over US Covid-19 relief bill.
• Greene King to cut 800 jobs.
• All bars and cafes in Brussels to close for a month.
• Average UK house price has risen 7.3% year on year.
• Bars, gyms and swimming pools in Paris closed for two weeks.

Company news

Food, Drinks & Household

 Tesco – “Group sales grew by 6.6% at actual rates, including a (0.2)% foreign exchange translation impact due to the appreciation of Sterling. The Covid-19 crisis has had far reaching implications on customer shopping behaviour, impacting all areas of our business.

In the UK and the Republic of Ireland (ROI), total sales grew by 8.6%. In the UK, first quarter growth was particularly strong in essential categories such as grocery and household, as customers sought to stock up on key items ahead of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and consumed more meals at home. During demand peaks, we worked very closely with our supplier partners to simplify ranges and protect availability of the most important products for customers. Whilst like-for-like sales growth eased slightly from the first to second quarter, we continued to see elevated demand across our food range, particularly in the meat, fish and poultry category and in beers, wines and spirits.

Growth in the half was most marked in online with sales up 69% with the rate of growth reaching 90% during the second quarter. Sales in our convenience business grew by 7.6% including a particularly strong performance in our Express and One Stop stores in neighbourhood locations. In large stores, sales grew by 1.4% as our offer was well placed to serve customers seeking to shop less frequently whilst buying more on each visit, with average basket size increasing by 56% and transactions reducing by (31)%.”


 Carnival – “Seabourn, the ultra-luxury resort at sea, announced today that it will cancel upcoming 2020 and 2021 voyages for three cruise ships in its fleet into Spring 2021.

The announcement applies to Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Ovation, and Seabourn Encore. Specific details are as follows:

• Seabourn Odyssey: with its operations pause effective through January 15, 2021.

• Seabourn Ovation: with its operations pause effective through April 18, 2021.

• Seabourn Encore: with its operations pause effective through May 28, 2021.

The decision to cancel additional voyages is a proactive action to deal with the circumstances continuing to evolve from the global response to the Covid-19 situation.”

 Greene King – plans to close dozens of pubs and cut around 800 jobs after trade slumped following the government’s 22:00 hospitality curfew.

The company said “tightening of trading restrictions” and changes in government support meant it would be “a challenge” to re-open some of its pubs, with 79 sites, including 11 Loch Fyne restaurants, to close.


• Paris shut all bars and cafes completely after the French government raised the capital’s coronavirus alert to maximum. Bars, gyms and swimming pools were closed for two weeks but restaurants can remain open.

• More than 40% of intensive care beds are full in Paris, according to regional health officials.

• Berlin has ordered a 23:00 to 06:00 curfew for restaurants and bars.

• Belgium is to limit close contacts to a maximum of three people outside the home and, in Brussels, all cafes and bars are being instructed to shut down for a month.

• The European Commission has agreed with US company Gilead to buy additional doses of its Covid-19 drug Remdesivir to treat about 3,400 patients, amid shortages of the medication in Europe.

• US President Donald Trump has said he is ending negotiations over a Covid-19 relief bill, and will only resume talks after the election. The White House said it would back a Covid-19 relief bill of US$1.6 trillion but the democrats were holding out for a more generous package.

• The average UK house price has risen 7.3% year on year to £249,870, the strongest growth since June 2016, according to Halifax.