The Business: Wednesday June 11 2014

Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday

UK GDP BEATS PRE-RECESSION PEAK

Britain’s GDP has surpassed its pre-crash peak, says the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. The think-tank said the UK economy reached a highly “symbolic milestone” as it grew by 0.9% in the three months to May, following growth of 1.1pc in the quarter to April. By this estimate, the level of UK GDP is approximately 0.2% above its previous high-point in January 2008, thanks to “robust” growth over the past 12 months.

OFGEM TURNS UP HEAT ON BIG SIX

Ofgem says the failure of the big six energy companies to cut household bills is proof that the market is uncompetitive. The energy regulator has ordered the firms to explain why they have failed to cut prices despite a 50% fall in the price of wholesale gas this year. “In a competitive market, I would expect the threat of losing market share to encourage suppliers to pass on sustained reductions in wholesale costs as savings to consumers as soon as possible,” said the chief executive.

HIGH ST TOASTS QUARTER MILESTONE

Figures from a leading business adviser show the first full quarter of consistent sales growth in four years. The BDO monthly sales tracker shows same-store sales up 1.1% last month, with fashion, lifestyle goods and homeware sectors all showing sustained growth for the first time since 2010. BDO’s head of retail and wholesale Sophie Bevan said: “The high street feels like it has turned a corner.”

TED BAKER HITS THE KITCHEN

Fashion chain Ted Baker is expanding into Britain’s kitchens with a range of crockery, reports the Daily Telegraph. The company, which reported yesterday that sales rose 17.9% in the 19 weeks to June 7 compared to the same period last year, will start selling kitchenware next year. Announcing the move, the company said it remains “focused on our strategy to further develop Ted Baker as a global lifestyle brand”.

QUOTE OF THE DAY… IS THE FORCE STRONG HERE?

“We have studios, tax incentives and talent, both in front of and behind the camera, which are amongst the very best in the world. Given Lucasfilm’s decision to film another Star Wars movie in the UK, it is clear that the Force is strong here." Culture secretary Sajid Javid goes all Jedi on us while visiting the Star Wars set. 

ONLINE GROCERY ORDERS TO SURGE

A quarter of groceries will be sold online by 2030, according to a top bank analyst. The report, which predicts a five-fold increase in online supermarket shopping, suggests all leading chains will have to shrink their stores as more and more customers order from home. Rabobank analyst John David Roeg said: "Supermarket groups will downsize their stores and try to sell or rent the space to non-food retailers or leisure operators or restaurants in an effort to keep customers coming to their stores."

THE NUMBERS... AT 0730 BST


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