UK firms warn of tough times as Covid-19 crisis continues – business live

Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news, as Greggs, John Menzies and Card Factory are all hit by the pandemic

8.50am BST

Shares in Greggs have dropped by 3% this morning, after it warned that it needs to cut staff hours due to weak demand.

They’ve lost 38p to £11.83, taking them back towards the two-year low of £11.17 hit last week.

Sales at company managed stores in September were 76.1% of last year. The group re-opened all its stores in early July, sales ticked up in August, and they improved again in September. Greggs cautioned about the uncertainty surrounding the health crisis, but it plans to open net 20 stores this year, so it clearly isn’t that worried about the current environment.

The digital service and the click and collect options are now available nationwide so this should help the group in the event of localised lockdowns. The manufacturing sites have re-opened too so new products are available.

8.43am BST

Britain’s blue-chip stock index has dropped back in early trading.

The FTSE 100 has shed 27 points, or 0.5%, knocking it back to 5,900.

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