FTSE CLOSE: Retail sales slide again; Ladbrokes owner hails ‘excellent’ year; Gym Group posts healthy revenue growth
The FTSE 100 closed up 64.75 points at 7674.56 and the pound was at $1.30 against the dollar.
In the three months to December 2019, both the amount spent and the quantity bought by shoppers fell by 0.9 per cent and 1 per cent respectively when compared with the previous three months, according to the Office for National Statistics.
When compared with retail data from a year earlier, both measures saw growth of 1.5 per cent for the amount spent and 0.9 per cent for the quantity bought, it added.
GVC Holdings, which owns Ladbrokes, saw its online gambling division grow by 13 per cent throughout 2019. Overall group revenues rose by 2 per cent despite a decline in the number of betting shops due to new betting regulations.
Higher membership numbers has helped The Gym Group to expand their revenues by a quarter to £153.1million. Bosses say they expect the firm will open 18 new gyms this year.
Lending to small and medium-sized businesses in Great Britain fell 8 per cent between 2014 and 2018, according to business lender iwoca. North West England was the worst hit region, with the seaside town of Blackpool experiencing a 27.6 per cent decline.