15 November 2013 Last updated at 06:01

Business Live: Friday morning briefing

Key Points

  • Nationwide Building Society reported a profit of £270m in the six months to September.
  • Markets rose after Janet Yellen defended the US central bank in a confirmation hearing before Congress.
    0600: Pia Gadkari Business reporter, BBC News

    Good morning and welcome. We'll be bringing you the day's business headlines, as well as company results, economic data and the best of the BBC's business stories as they happen. You can get in touch by emailing bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or tweeting @BBCBusiness.

    0600: Anthony Reuben Business reporter, BBC News

    Good morning. We're here until 10:00 so stay with us and do get in touch.

    ASDA PRICE WAR 0609:
    Asda sign

    There's much discussion on the breakfast programmes today of Asda's announcement yesterday of a £1bn programme of price cuts. Retail analyst Richard Perks from Mintel told Radio 5 live Asda was too obsessed with prices: "If you're the cheapest you've probably already attracted all the customers you're going to and you won't necessarily attract more customers by being cheaper."


    Also, last night Barclays said it was planning to cut about 1,700 "frontline" jobs: those working at cashier desks, private bankers, branch managers and assistant managers. In a conference call with all of its 1,577 branches, Barclays said the way people bank was changing and they preferred to use their smartphone or computers for everyday banking, using the branch only when they needed more expertise.


    This morning's Times goes with the news that Ireland plans to break free from its bail-out deal next month "without the safety net of a back-up programme". The country will return to borrowing normally from financial markets on 15 December, three years after it had to take out 67.5bn euros ($90.8bn; £56.5bn) in emergency loans from the EU and IMF.


    The Daily Mirror carries the story that Sainsbury's Christmas advert accidentally featured three Co-op own-brand products. Apparently a Sainsbury's customer called Jonathan Proud was showing his spreadsheet for producing Christmas dinner, while in the background in his kitchen could be seen Co-operative's Truly Irresistible lemon torte, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake. Oops.

    EXPORT MORE 0626: Radio 4
    Containers waiting for export

    With Business Secretary Vince Cable in Russia touting British exports, the Today programme has spoken to Russell Jones, regional director for UK Trade and Industry, who says Britain must export more. They've launched a campaign called Export Is Great in the hope small business will... export more.

    BHS FOOD 0629:

    The Independent is one of the papers that runs the news that Sir Philip Green's BHS is to open convenience food outlets in 150 of its stores. Sir Philip has clearly spotted where Marks & Spencer's growth is coming from.


    Last night we saw plans for London's next big skyscraper - to be built in Canary Wharf. This time, the building is planned to be residential-only, which gives you an idea of just how frothy London's housing market is getting. But it's not just us saying that - the news prompted estate agent Savills to say projects like this would lead to an over-supply of expensive properties.

    ASDA PRICE WAR 0636: Via Email

    Reader Ben Atkinson from Birmingham e-mails about our posting at 06:09 - he's seriously quick off the mark - to point out that "Asda are still a lot more expensive than Aldi!". Richard Perks was talking about Asda being the cheapest of the big four supermarkets, which we didn't mention. Sorry!

    WOMEN AT WORK Via Twitter

    Helena Morrissey, chief executive of Newton Investment, who will be appearing on BBC Breakfast this morning, tweets: "Excited to be launching #project2840 through @opportunityNow1 today -looking for 100,000 women to tell us their workplace experiences."

    NESTLE JOBS 0641:
    Screen shot from 5 live studio

    Nestle is creating 1,600 jobs and several work experience placements in the UK and Ireland over the next three years. Its UK chief executive Fiona Kendrick told Radio 5 live why they were targeting younger workers: "Industry needs to step up and play its role in bringing our youth unemployment down. We recognise today that in the food and drink industry, and within Nestle as well, we do have an ageing workforce."


    The Live Page team is deeply jealous of FT editor Lionel Barber, who tweets: Am about to take pulse of Indian economy at Mumbai cricket ground Shane Warne helping but no @piersmorgan #tendulkar #hand-of-history

    Francis Bacon

    This week there have been headlines about the sale of Francis Bacon's triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud, with Christie's suggesting that at $142m (£88m) it's the most expensive work sold at auction. As ever, the Economist has a handy chart to explain why, by some measures, this is true, but that if you calculate the prices another way, Vincent Van Gogh's Portrait du Docteur Gachet is the real winner.

    Cricket ball-shaped car

    While we're on the subject of Sachin Tendulkar's farewell match (which we're allowed to talk about because FT editor Lionel Barber is at the game) the BBC's More or Less team has been crunching the numbers on his extraordinary career and concluded that he may only be the 29th best batsman of all time. I'm expecting crowds of angry Indian cricket fans to be demonstrating outside the BBC shortly.


    The Independent covers a quality of life index from uswitch, which concludes that Solihull is the best place to live in the UK. Apparently residents there are enjoying higher incomes, better employment rates and longer life expectancies. The worst place to live is Conwy and Denbighshire.

    Nationwide logo

    Nationwide's interim results have just been posted, and the building society has reported a pre-tax profit for the six months to the end of September of £270m up from £103m in the same period last year.

    Bonmarche sign

    Bonmarche, which according to its website produces: "Fashion designed to flatter your shape and make you feel gorgeous", has announced the pricing of its share offering. The shares will debut on the Aim market next Wednesday, starting at 200p per share, which means the company will raise £40m.


    Over the six months to 30 September, Nationwide said it "helped a further 30,400 borrowers take their first steps onto the housing ladder, up 52% on the same period last year". The building society was involved with 16% of all the mortgage applications approved under phase one of the government's Help to Buy programme.

    Chiquito restaurant in Enfield

    We've had an update from The Restaurant Group, which owns Garfunkel's, Frankie & Benny's and Chiquito. In the 45 weeks to 10 November, its total sales were up 9.1% on the same period last year, while like-for-like sales, which exclude new restaurant openings, rose 3.5%.

    JANET YELLEN 0732:
    Janet Yellen

    Yesterday, Janet Yellen, the woman nominated by the White House as the next chair of the Federal Reserve, gave testimony before Congress. She gave a solid defence of the Fed, and its bond-buying programme, saying it had made a "meaningful contribution to economic growth" in the years after the crisis. Of course, the markets liked this, with the US and Asia rising on the news.


    Let's take a look at the markets. There was another record close for the Dow Jones in New York last night, helped by comments from Janet Yellen, the nominee for chair of the US Federal Reserve. The Nikkei in Tokyo rose 2% to close above 15,000 for the first time for six months. The weaker yen against the US dollar helped shares in exporters. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng is up 1.6%.

    PEARSON PLANS 0741: BBC World News
    John Fallon, CEO, Pearson

    Pearson chief executive John Fallon has been on World Business Report this morning talking about the publisher's plans for education. "This idea of big data that's transforming every sector of public life, just as it's doing for example in healthcare, really enables us to personalise learning in a way and on a scale never possible before," he says.


    If you're just joining us, there are lots of stories around to catch up on. Nationwide has reported a profit in the six months to September, while Asda has launched a price-cutting spree and Barclays says it's cutting jobs across its branches to respond to customers' preference for online banking. Oh, and Solihill's been named the best place to live in the UK.

    NATIONWIDE RESULTS 0756: Via Blog Robert Peston Business editor

    blogs: "Nationwide fears that the debacle at Co-op Bank has somehow created an impression that so-called "good" or more ethical banking is incompetent banking. So Nationwide is keener than usual that you should notice its latest financial results, published today."

    NATIONWIDE RESULTS Via Twitter Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: "& embarrassingly for Treasury & big banks, Nationwide takes fifth of first-time buyer market without Help-to-Buy 2, & has no plans to join"

    WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE 0811: BBC Breakfast
    Helena Morrissey with Dominic Laurie

    Helena Morrissey chief executive of Newton Investment and mother of nine has been on BBC Breakfast saying companies need to find more ways to let people work flexibly. "I can see from my older children that they're going to expect work to be an activity not a place and companies have yet to respond, which is a huge opportunity for not just women but for anyone who wants to balance their lives."

    IAG UPDATE 0821:
    BA plane

    There's been an update from International Airlines Group, which owns Iberia and British Airways. It has raised its forecast for operating profit in 2015 from 1.6bn euros ($2.2bn; £1.3bn) to 1.8bn euros. It's hoping to achieve this by improving the profit margin at British Airways and integrating the Spanish budget carrier Vueling, which it took control of earlier this year.

    Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: Arran Brewery to seek crowd funding for new breweries, a distillery and building chain of pubs. More later this month

    BEAR AND HARE 0832:
    John Lewis advert

    It's the time of year when we usually bang on about Christmas shopping and Christmas adverts, and one of the commercials that has received a lot of attention is the animated bear and hare one for John Lewis. I did not fully appreciate it until I saw this making-of video.


    Let's take a look at the markets. The Dow Jones in New York hit another record high yesterday following the Janet Yellen hearings in Congress. European markets are unimpressed, with the FTSE 100 in London up 0.1%, The Dax in Frankfurt down 0.1% and the Cac 40 in Paris down 0.2%. The Nikkei in Tokyo rose 2% to close above 15,000 for the first time for six months, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng rose 1.7%.

    Two crashed cards

    Insurers think big data will help them bring down premiums and perhaps even reduce the number of accidents. The BBC's Kim Gittleson in New York speaks to car insurers who install monitoring devices in their customers' cars, hoping it will make them better drivers. But some cautionary tales remind us that the tools are new and mistakes need to be avoided.

    File phone: Australian Stock Exchange

    If you thought shares in Royal Mail and Twitter went through the roof after listing, just look at where Freelancer.com's stock went after it floated on the Australian stock exchange! They rose 400% on their debut, reaching 2.50 Australian dollars ($2.33; £1.45) each, from the 0.50 Australian dollars they were offered at.


    If you're a customer of SSE in the UK your gas and electricity prices will be going up today. SSE, which also trades as Southern Electric, Swalec and Scottish Hydro, announced the price rises on 10 October and was the first of the big six energy providers to do so. Prices go up by an average of 8.2% from today.

    Sign in Tesco

    A shocking grammatical error from Tesco. Attaque de puce @ayemiy tweets: "Who let this apostrophe fail fly? I sort of expect it from the local corner shop, but @Tesco?"

    Pills coming out of a bottle

    Nine major drugmakers have said in the Daily Telegraph that the NHS needs to widen the range of medicines it uses, and that too many key drugs are blocked. The letter comes days after the government agreed a price-freeze on branded medicine with its suppliers. They've accepted the freeze, but threaten that failure to act will harm the public's health.

    Specimen polymer banknotes

    The Bank of England's consultation on introducing polymer banknotes ends today. It will make a decision in December and, if approved, the new wipe-clean notes could be introduced in 2016.

    CHILDREN IN NEED Via Twitter

    Michael McMahon who teaches macroeconomics at the University of Warwick tweets: "Well done first year macro students! You donated £188.24 to see me lecture in a blue afro wig. #childreninneed @warwickecon" The Live Page expects photos for Monday.

    PEARSON PLANS 0935: BBC World News

    More from the interview with Pearson chief executive John Fallon on World Business Report. He says he's "not sure why there are rumours" about Pearson selling the Financial Times, adding it is "incredibly successful" and "in robust health".

    Ed Miliband in Asda, Clapham Junction

    Some might not know the price of a pint of milk, but politicians just can't get enough of supermarkets. What's going on? The BBC's Brian Wheeler takes a closer look with this entertaining photo story on the phenomenon.


    There's a story in the Times today about the development of airline seats that can adjust to fit "jumbo" passengers. You could pay more for a wider seat or less for a narrower one. And the really cool thing is that if you are travelling in a group you would be able to adjust the width of the seats in the row to, for example, give more space to adults and less to children!


    Let's take a look at the markets. The Dow Jones in New York hit another record high yesterday following the Janet Yellen hearings in Congress. European markets are unimpressed, with the FTSE 100 in London up 0.3%, The Dax in Frankfurt down 0.1% and the Cac 40 in Paris barely changed. The Nikkei in Tokyo rose 2% to close above 15,000 for the first time for six months, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng rose 1.7%.


    That's all for now, folks. Thanks for staying with us for Nationwide's profits and Bonmarche's share price announcement, and that behind-the-scenes video of how John Lewis made its Christmas advert. We'll be back at 06:00 on Monday. See you then.


Join the discussion

  • Send us an SMS to 61124

Comment here

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published.
Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Terms and conditions

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.