9 January 2014 Last updated at 05:56

Business Live: M&S and Tesco updates, plus headlines

    0600: Pia Gadkari Business reporter, BBC News

    Good morning and welcome. We're looking ahead to more Christmas sales updates, this time from Marks and Spencers and Tesco. Stay with us through the morning, we'll be here until 13:00.

    0600: Edwin Lane Business reporter, BBC News

    Good morning everyone. We're also hearing from the boss of Rolls Royce this morning, talking about the continued growth of a (BMW-owned) British brand. Get in touch with us throughout the morning at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or on Twitter @BBCBusiness.

    MARKS AND SPENCER 0607: Radio 5 live

    M&S is releasing third-quarter figures in about an hour. Janet Girsman, an M&S shareholder, says the retailer has problems. "The clothes are unappealing, the fit is bad," she tells Wake Up to Money. "Regrettably, I buy my clothes elsewhere." Other listeners say the clothes are bad, but the food is great.


    Later today we'll hear the latest decision on interest rates from the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). Analysts are not expecting any change from the record lows we've seen in recent years, but they could release a statement on what the committee thinks about the recent drop in unemployment.

    ROLLS ROYCE 0613:
    Gulf Rolls

    Luxury car maker Rolls Royce has reported record sales for 2013. It sold 3,630 cars worldwide last year. It's biggest markets are now in China, the US and the Middle East, where wealthy Gulf businessmen are keen to buy into the high-end British brand.

    ROLLS ROYCE 0618: Radio 5 live

    The boss of Rolls Royce, Torsten Muller-Otvos, was on Wake Up to Money earlier talking about the importance of the brand's Britishness. He said it doesn't matter that the parent company is Germany's BMW, as long as they are prepared to invest. The cars are only made in Goodwood, he points out, with a 90% UK workforce.

    ROLLS ROYCE 0624: Radio 5 live

    Another interesting line from Rolls Royce boss Torsten Muller-Otvos. He says the company is considering building a 4x4 model. "It's a very interesting segment," he said. "We've started to look into designs, but there are no firm plans yet."

    CHRISTMAS SALES 0624: Radio 4

    The Today programme has gone shopping with Anna Santi, deputy editor of the fashion trade magazine Drapers. They're analysing the Christmas shopping season's winners and losers. She says John Lewis has done the best job of incorporating online shopping into its bricks-and-mortar business. M&S suffered this season because it discounted key gift items such as cashmere and nightwear, she says.

    TESCO 0628:

    Tesco is also releasing an update on their Christmas trading at 07:00. Yesterday rival Sainsbury's said its sales in the three months to the end of December rose by just 0.2%. Analysts are expecting Tesco to struggle, as it is being squeezed between discounters like Lidl and Aldi, and high-end offerings from Waitrose and M&S.

    MARKS AND SPENCER 0634: Radio 4
    Marks and Spencer shop front

    And here's what the shoppers themselves think about M&S: "There's no-one about to ask how much something is," says one. Another woman said: "Food is going right, clothing is going wrong." One younger customer said: "It's a bit too old for me."

    JAPAN IN AFRICA 0644: BBC World News

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is beginning a tour of Africa today to boost trade an investment with the continent. The BBC's Lerato Mbele in Johannesburg tells World Business Report that Japan is keen to get into Africa, where China has become the biggest trading and investment partner in recent years.

    MARKS AND SPENCER 0648: Radio 4

    How long has M&S boss Mark Bolland got to show he's turning the company around? Bryan Roberts, director of retail insights for Kantar Retail, says anywhere from May to the end of the year. The key is to show "he's in control of the clothing business".

    TESCO 0653: Radio 4

    Retail analyst Bryan Roberts tells the Today programme that while Tesco's results may not be spectacular, there are some bright spots. "I think the overall tone will be: give us a bit more time, we are a massive business, we're twice the size of anyone else... it's the old cliche of turning around the super-tanker. It will take time."

    TESCO Via Twitter Simon Jack Business correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: "Tesco like for like down 2.4% - ouch. TOTAL sales down 1.2%. Grocery online +11%. Were expectations this low? Market will tell us at 8"

    MARKS AND SPENCER 0704: Breaking News

    M&S reports like-for-like sales down 0.2% for the three months to the end of December. But like-for-like sales in the eight weeks to Christmas up 1% on last year.

    TESCO 0708: Breaking News

    Tesco reports like-for-like sales, which does not include the effect of any new shop openings, are down 2.4% for the Christmas period. Total sales in the UK were down 0.6%.

    M&S store

    It looks like a familiar story for M&S sales figures, with food doing better than clothes. Food sales for the quarter grew by 1.6%, but clothing sales were down 2%.

    MARKS AND SPENCER Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: "Marks & Spencer: Non-food struggling after very poor October, food up though at Christmas: "1 in 4 UK families had an M&S turkey""

    TESCO 0714:

    Tesco says in the five days before Christmas it made £1bn in sales, and said its online orders were up 11%. Chief executive Philip Clarke said improvements to the Tesco brand were paying off, but not visible in results yet. "The effects are being masked in the short term by the strategic changes we have made to improve the long-term sustainability of our business," he said.

    MORRISONS 0720:
    Morrison supermarket

    Morrisons has also reported its results, and it's been a hard Christmas for the supermarket chain. Like-for-like sales were down 5.6% - and 7.1% if you include petrol. It also said it lost out in the online segment, where Morrisons doesn't have a presence.

    MORRISONS Via Twitter Adam Parsons Business Correspondent

    tweets: "Interesting that Morrison's put their ghastly statement out today - wasn't expected until next week."

    MARKS AND SPENCER 0736: Radio 4

    M&S boss Marc Bolland has just spoken to the Today programme after the company saw a small rise in Christmas sales. He said: "We are what I call 'in line with the market' because our market share has been stabilised over the quarter."

    MORRISONS 0740:

    It's pretty bad news for Morrisons: the supermarket has warned that its profits for the year will now probably be "towards the bottom of the range of current market expectations" after Christmas sales fell 5.6%.

    Steph McGovern

    Breakfast's Steph McGovern is in a car park in Wilmslow, covering all the retail results out this morning. She says the retailers with strong online businesses are the ones who have done well this season, Meanwhile, discounters such as Aldi and Lidl are stealing market share from big players like Tesco.

    NETFLIX 0751: BBC World News

    Meanwhile over at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the boss of Netflix, Reed Hastings, tells the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones that "we're at the very beginning of internet television". He says that the company is more focused on growth than profits. "We'll continue to invest in more content and expanding in countries."

    NEW LOOK 0801:

    Clothes shop New Look has also put out some numbers. Their like-for-like sales are up 1.5% in the seven weeks to 28 December. But online sales are up a whopping 62%. The retailer said that about one in four customers uses its "click and collect" service now.

    MARKS AND SPENCER 0803: Radio 5 live

    M&S boss Marc Bolland tells Adam Parsons on 5 live that he remains committed to his job at the retailer despite continued problems on the clothing side of its businesses.


    Ben from Bristol has written in to say: "These results show tough trading from all retailers. I think Tesco are going to perform much better this year after revamped stores and a bigger focus on customer service and prices. Its time for the discounters to step up and be heard online and will definitely be a make or break year for Morrisons."

    GREGGS 0823:

    Pies and pasties company Greggs says it saw strong trading over Christmas. It said sales in the five week festive period were up 3.1%, and sold a record 8.5 million mince pies.

    RETAIL SHARES Via Twitter Adam Parsons Business Correspondent

    tweets: "Marks and Spencer shares now UP 0.3%. Morrison's down 5.6%; Tesco down 3.3%"

    MARKS AND SPENCER 0827: Radio 5 live

    M&S boss Marc Bolland tells 5 live that the retailer needs to upgrade its online sales platform, and says rivals like Next had a head start in the online world. "I take my hat off to Next," he says.


    Let's take a look at the markets. The FTSE 100 has opened marginally in the red, with Morrisons the biggest loser this morning with shares down about 6% after it revealed a poor Christmas season. The German Dax is also down about 0.1%. Meanwhile, in Paris the Cac 40 is hovering in positive territory, up almost 0.1% at the last check.

    Chen Guangbiao

    Chen Guangbiao is the Chinese waste management billionaire who says he wants to buy the New York Times. Based on his remarkable business card, it seems the venerable paper of record would be lucky to have him.

    RETAILERS 0848: Via Blog Robert Peston Business editor

    blogs on the lessons being learned at Morrisons: "A retailer without a substantial online presence, including mobile, is on a fast road to obsolescence. Morrison, slightly plaintively perhaps, points out that the first deliveries from Morrison.com start tomorrow."


    Interesting cafe concept in the Guardian: London now has a pay-per-minute cafe where everything is free except the charge for the time you spend there. It works out to about £1.80 an hour. What do you make of their business model? Get in touch at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or tweet @BBCBusiness.

    CHRISTMAS SALES Via Twitter Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: "As for the other two creaking giants of retail whose sales haven't sparkled, Tesco shares down 3% and M&S shares up a tiny bit"

    RETAILERS 0919: Radio 5 live

    Retail analyst Phil Dorrell from Retail Remedy suggests Morrisons and M&S's clothing stores have a similar problem - they are catering to older people rather than big-spending families. Despite what Marc Bolland claims, M&S hasn't turned a corner with its clothing. "The fashion is all a bit dreary and looks about ten years old," he says.

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

    It's been so busy this morning that we haven't yet taken you through some of the morning's papers. The Financial Times front page reports that the US Federal Reserve will be cautious as it winds down its economic stimulus measures. Outgoing chairman Ben Bernanke suggested the central bank would reduce bond-buying by $10bn each month to make the process feel smooth.

    TESCO Via Email

    Joshua Raymond of CityIndex emails with this comment on Tesco's results: "The market will sum up Tesco's performance over Christmas as 'it could have been worse'... Their performance over Christmas should have been a statement to the industry that in 2014 Tesco are back with a bang. Instead, we still have all the same questions as 2013."

    UK TRADE 0938:

    Official data shows that, thanks to recovering economies in Europe, the UK's trade deficit narrowed slightly in November. It shrank to £9.44bn from £9.65bn in October.


    The FTSE 100 is now up 0.3%, and retailers are the big story: M&S is the biggest riser so far, adding 3.4%, while Morrisons is the biggest faller, dropping 5.6%. The German Dax is up 0.4% and in Paris the Cac 40 is up 0.3%. Earlier the Nikkei in Tokyo closed down 1.5%.

    NOODLE MAKERS 0954: BBC World News

    World Business Report is running a series on disappearing professions around the world. This time it's noodle makers in Taiwan, where just a handful of people still make them by hand. Noodle maker Lin Zheng-Yi says his biggest fear is rain, which means he has to rush to bring all his noodles in doors to stop a whole day's work being ruined.

    Left: South Sudan President Salva Kiir with his then Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao after a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 24 April 2012

    The outbreak of violence in South Sudan has thrown the spotlight on the Chinese presence in the fledgling country's oil industry. China invested some $20bn in Sudan before it split, with a further $8bn pledged to the South the year after secession. The stakes are high for China, which has thrown its weight behind stopping the violence.


    Nearly 100 million Chinese tourists visited foreign countries last year according to figures published in Chinese state media today. The Chinese are the biggest spending tourists in the world, spending around $100bn (£62bn) a year abroad. Europe and other parts of Asia are the most popular destinations.

    COMING UP 1033:

    Both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank will be announcing their latest interest rate decisions later. Few analysts are expecting any movement - the consensus is the BoE's benchmark rate is set to stay at 0.5% and the ECB's rate will be kept at 0.25%.


    Greece saw its unemployment rate rise again to 27.8% in October, figures released this morning by the country's statistics agency show. That is more than double the average unemployment rate across Europe.

    LISTEN AGAIN 1050: World Service

    Will working life be more fun in the future, or will it mean drudgery for most of us? Will people still be working for big companies, or increasingly for themselves? And should we stop thinking about having a work-life balance? Download the podcast from Business Daily on the World Service to find out what the future of work might bring.

    DARK STORES 1101: Radio 4
    Waitrose dark store

    Supermarkets are planning to open more so-called "dark stores", Jonathan Reynolds from the Oxford Institute of Retail Management told the Today programme this morning. They are stores that contain only employees picking the items customers have ordered online for them to collect.

    FOYLES Via Twitter Adam Parsons Business Correspondent

    tweets: "Foyles reports slight rise in LfL sales in December. Who says book shops are dead?"

    VINYL SALES UP 1132:
    Rough Trade shopping bag

    If you thought vinyl was dead, think again. In the five weeks before Christmas, the independent music store Rough Trade saw its like-for-like sales go up 20% with a 47% increase in online buying. Rough Trade said sales for records increased 45% but CD sales stayed flat. Other independent music retailers outside London said growth prospects were good for 2014.

    two women in sunglasses

    Latin America has not traditionally had much of a start-up scene - with one entrepreneur saying that starting a business used to be a matter of survival. But that seems to be changing now, with successful ventures emerging across the continent. The BBC's Gideon Long in Santiago, Chile, investigates some of the exciting new businesses on the scene.

    A barge is loaded with coal in the port of Cienaga close to the Caribbean city of Santa Marta on 5 January, 2014

    US coal company Drummond has been banned from loading coal in Colombian ports until it complies with environmental rules. The regulations say cranes and barges can no longer be used for loading ships to help prevent spills and water pollution. Drummond has been fined $3.5m (£2.1m) for spilling hundreds of tonnes of coal when rescuing a sinking barge last year.


    In a surprise announcement today, Richard Meddings, long-time finance director for Standard Chartered bank, has said he will step down from his post by the end of June. At one time he had been seen as a possible successor to chief executive Peter Sands, but less than a month ago his responsibilities looking after the bank's risk management were taken away from him in line with a Bank of England request.

    UK INTEREST RATES 1204: Breaking News

    The Bank of England has made its announcement on interest rates. There will be no change to the record-low rate of 0.5%, and the Bank will not change its stimulus measures either. The bond-buying programme will remain at £375bn.

    UK INTEREST RATES Via Twitter Hugh Pym Chief economics correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: "Speculation that the Bank of England would issue a statement clarifying forward guidance proved wide of the mark"


    Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, says an interest rate rise will not be considered until after unemployment falls below 7%. The FT's economics editor Chris Giles argues that this should come sooner rather than later.


    The FTSE 100 is unmoved by the news that interest rates have been held again. It is still trading up 0.2%. The German Dax is up 0.4% and in Paris the Cac 40 is up 0.1% ahead of the European Central Bank decision in about 15 minutes time.

    RSA PROBE 1244:

    "Inappropriate collaboration" among managers at insurance firm RSA led to a £200m hole in its finances, an independent report has found. The financial problems led to profit warnings last year.


    The European Central Bank keeps its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.25%.

    MENSWEAR 1252: BBC World News
    Harry Mundy (left) and Aaron Heslehurst

    Aaron Heslehurst is discussing the UK menswear market with designer Harry Mundy, which is seeing robust growth. He says: "It's surprising that womenswear hasn't kept pace with the expansion in the menswear market."


    Thanks for staying with us through a busy morning of retail sales that saw mixed results from M&S and disappointing figures from Tesco and Morrisons - which prompted the supermarket's shares to plummet to the bottom of the FTSE 100 in morning trade. Meanwhile, there's been no change in UK and eurozone interest rates. See you tomorrow from 06:00.


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