FTSE LIVE: Retailers have worst year on record; John Lewis MD leaves as store issues profit warning

FTSE CLOSE: Pound slips after Carney drops hint of rate cut; John Lewis boss exits; Tesco and M&S report modest sales rise; BA boss Willie Walsh retires

  • Tesco had its fifth consecutive year of sales growth last year, albeit very small 
  • John Lewis MD leaves company after the store reported a bad Christmas period
  • Cinemas did well in 2019 with Star Wars drawing in more picture-goers

The FTSE 100 closed up 23.19 points at 7598.12 and the pound was at $1.31 against the dollar.

The pound fell after Bank of England boss Mark Carney said policymakers are mulling the possibility of an interest rate cut, and stressed action would be ‘prompt’ if the economy remains under pressure. 

Carney said the predicted rebound in the economy was ‘not, of course, assured’ amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty and a wider global economic slowdown.

Paula Nickolds has been sacked as managing director of John Lewis after the company reported having a disastrous Christmas period. Sales at the department store in the seven weeks to January 4 fell by 2 per cent.

Unlike John Lewis, supermarket giants Tesco and Marks & Spencer experienced minor growth in sales during the Christmas period. Tesco saw its fifth consecutive year of sales growth while revenue at Marks & Spencer grew by 0.2 per cent. 

The British Retail Consortium says 2019 was the worst year on record for the retail sector, with total sales falling 0.1 per cent in 2019. Sales of non-food items were badly hit, but cinemas did well with Star Wars drawing in more picture-goers.

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