Business

FTSE 100 dips as market assesses retailers

London stock brokers (file photo) Image copyright AFP

The UK market opened lower as analysts digested a feast of Christmas trading updates from retailers.

After closing at its 10th record high in a row on Wednesday, the FTSE 100 opened 22.03 points lower at 7,268.46.

Investors welcomed news of better-than-expected sales at Marks and Spencer in its clothing division, sending the High Street giant's shares up 2.5%.

Underlying sales in the clothing and homeware division rose 2.3% - well above expectations for about 0.5%.

Tesco's shares fell 2.3%, despite the UK's largest supermarket reporting a 0.7% rise in UK like-for-like sales over Christmas.

Primark owner Associated British Foods was another company on the back foot, with its shares down 2.1%.

Total sales at Primark rose 11%, with like-for-like sales "good". However, it said like-for-like sales were down in Germany and the Netherlands.

In the FTSE 250, shares in JD Sports rose 6% after it reported a strong increase in sales and raised its full-year profit forecast.

But AO World fell 6.1% after the electrical goods retailer reported third-quarter trading. Group revenue for the three months to 31 December rose 12.3%, but the company said it remained "cautious about the final quarter given the uncertain UK economic outlook, currency impacts on supplier pricing and the possible effect on consumer demand."

On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.5% against the dollar to $1.2270 but was flat against the euro at €1.1536.

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