Live news: Marks and Spencer to open 20 new UK stores

Live news: Marks and Spencer to open 20 new UK stores
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Are you ready for Blue Monday, the day that falls this year at the start of this week, calculated by former Cardiff University psychologist Cliff Arnall in 2005 as the most depressing 24 hours on the calendar?

Arnall’s damning conclusion about the third Monday of the first month (which he has since tried to counter) was based on analysis of data such as consumer surveys, divorce filings, and weather reports. The main conclusion that many of us draw from this analysis is that not all academic research is useful to society.

If you’re a world leader or a top executive, at least you have the World Economic Forum in Davos to distract you from the January gloom. The FT Live team will also be in the Swiss resort town, hosting various face-to-face and digital events where leaders in politics, business and finance will share their views on the big issues being debated. You can view the events and sign up for free here.

For the rest of us, we’ll just have to live with the grim economic news ahead of 2023 and hope things can only get better.

If you’re in the UK, the dominant reality is the mass strike. This may not be close to a second “winter of discontent” yet, at least according to my colleague Jonathan Guthrie, but another strike vote among ambulance workers is expected this week, while the University and College Union will announce a wave of 18 new strikes. days this week covering 150 British universities in February and March after its members voted last week to reject their latest pay offer.

The Northern Ireland Protocol will rear its head again with a Thursday deadline for the restoration of power sharing in Stormont. Don’t expect this to make you feel any better about cross-border life or politics.

Abortion rights activists march from Washington Square Park to Bryant Park in New York last June

Abortion rights activists marched from Washington Square Park to Bryant Park in New York last June © Alex Kent/AFP/Getty Images

Sunday is the 50th anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling that upheld Americans’ constitutional right to abortion. This is, of course, a very lively debate, even spilling over into the boardroom, in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court decision to overturn the 1973 decision. Anti-abortion activists will march on Washington on Friday , prompting more talk about a fundamental US policy failure.

The week will end with another man-made day, this time based on astronomy: the Lunar New Year celebration. This year’s mass movement of people to visit family and friends celebrating the occasion will take place under the shadow of rising covid levels in China. Concerns about the impact on the spread of the disease are high.

Something to look forward to a bit later is an evening with FT columnist Martin Wolf. Join Martin and other online thought leaders for a subscriber-only event on January 31 to discuss the major changes needed at this time of great global uncertainty. The discussion coincides with the publication of Martin’s new book, The crisis of democratic capitalism. Sign up for free here.

economic data

A Tesco cashierless store in High Holborn, London

Ken Murphy, Tesco’s chief executive, has warned that UK inflation could rise further © Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

There will be a lot of data this week from China, the UK and the US. The European Central Bank will publish the minutes of its December meeting on Thursday and several central bankers will discuss the regional and global economy in Davos.

The UK inflation rate will be updated on Wednesday. The outlook is not good, especially after recent comments by Bank of England chief economist Huw Pill. Ken Murphy, chief executive of the UK’s largest food retailer Tesco, even warned that UK inflation could rise further. Last month’s release showed the cost of living as defined by the consumer price index was 10.7 percent in November, up from 11.1 percent in October.


We’re in the middle of the first earnings season of 2023 and it’s a smorgasbord of companies, particularly from Europe and (when Wall Street returns from the Martin Luther King Day break) the US.

Online food ordering services Just Eat Takeaway and Deliveroo will update investors on their holiday sales on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Both are under pressure to offer higher returns. The end of the lockdown was not good for food ordering apps, as customers opted to return to restaurants.

The question now is whether the recession will help these businesses, as more people are ordering takeout rather than eating out, or hit them further as customers reluctantly return to their own kitchens. Efforts to increase grocery sales, through partnerships with supermarkets and convenience apps like Getir, may also give Deliveroo and JET a slice of the home cooking market.

Last year was unforgettable for Ocado Retail. The online supermarket, jointly owned by Ocado, which reports numbers Tuesday, and Marks and Spencer, has parted ways with chief executive Melanie Smith and warned of profits multiple times; its sales are expected to fall for the first time in its history.

A woman walks through unclaimed bags at Southwest Airlines baggage claim in Salt Lake City

Public attention has focused on technical failures at low-cost airline Southwest Airlines © Rick Bowmer/AP

In his last update in September, Ocado said he expected strong customer growth and sales growth of around 5 percent for the fourth quarter. That would be similar to growth posted last week by Tesco and J Sainsbury, after British shoppers spent money for the first Christmas in two years so as not to be disrupted by Covid-19.

US airlines report fourth-quarter and full-year earnings as public attention turns to technical problems at budget carrier Southwest Airlines and the country’s top aviation regulator that caused high-profile crashes. But for most airlines, the news is likely to remain bullish as (despite increased interest in private jets post-Covid) demand for commercial air travel drives earnings.

United Airlines will report on Wednesday. Expect CEO Scott Kirby to have some harsh words for the US Federal Aviation Administration, which grounded planes for two hours on Wednesday when a corrupted database file caused a security system failure. key. He said over the summer that the agency needs more air traffic controllers.

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