Markets fall ahead of Bank of England meeting despite dovish Fed – business live

Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news

  • Introduction: BoE decision at noon
  • Bank faces Covid-19 crisis, Brexit and low inflation
  • Last night, Fed pledged low interest rates for years
  • Market open: FTSE 100 down 1%

8.35am BST

John Lewis, though, doesn’t share Next’s optimistic outlook.

John Lewis Partnership reports a huge £635 million loss, compared to £192m profit last year, partly due to a major £470m writedown of its stores as online now makes 60% of JL sales. The retailer lost £200m of sales while department stores were shut and had £50m of covid costs

The Group found itself in a similar position in 1948 when the bonus was halted following the Second World War.

We came through then to be even stronger than before and we will do so again.”

In April, we set out a worst case scenario for the full year of a sales fall of 5% in Waitrose and 35% in John Lewis. That remains our worst case view. We now believe the most likely outcome will be a small loss or a small profit for the year.

8.21am BST

Retail group Next is bucking today’s selloff, after hiking its profit guidance for the year.

Standing as we are, in the midst of the pandemic, with no sign yet of abatement or vaccine, it might seem odd that the essential tone of this report is optimistic. Particularly, some might say, coming from NEXT.

But our confidence in the future is not because we see a comfortable route through to the end of the pandemic. The prospects for the next six months remain as uncertain as the outlook for the virus itself; never has our guidance been more tentative or as broad in its possible outcomes.

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