Business news 13 February 2024

Retail insolvencies expected to increase. Jobs data surprises. UK economy 5% smaller due to Brexit.  And more business news that we thought would interest our members.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Retail insolvencies expected to increase

Six UK retailers have already gone bust in 2024 and two others have warned that they may struggle to stay afloat. Experts have warned that more retailers could collapse, with high inflation and a squeeze on personal finances hitting consumer spending.

Rob Baxter, UK head of corporate finance and global head of KPMG’s consumer and retail M&A team, predicts there will “continue to be an uptick in insolvencies as the year progresses.” He added: “It looks like what we’re seeing is more consolidation within certain sectors and more clear distinction between the winners and losers in the sector.”

On the outlook for consumer confidence, Mr Baxter said: “I don’t think it’s going to be a year of massive spending sprees. But it feels more positive than last year.”

Jobs data surprises

UK Unemployment data came in lower than expected for December at 3.8% compared to 4% predictions.

Meanwhile, the number of employed individuals rose by 72,000 to 33.17 million, as full-time employees increased, largely recovering from a slump observed throughout 2023.

Earnings excluding bonuses rose 6.2% year on year, compared with 6.7% previously. Yet this was well above forecasts ranging from 5.5% to 6.1% and therefore caused markets to pull back on their hopes for an interest rate cut.

Jobs data has ‘way to go’ before it is reliable

Rob Kent-Smith, deputy head of the Office for Statistics Regulation, says the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) new methodology to collect and analyse data on the labour market “still has a way to go.” The ONS has been working on a new methodology to collect and analyse data due to a decline in response rates to its previous method. It has been using pieces of informal data – including benefit claimant numbers and payroll figures from HMRC – to create unemployment estimates. Mr Kent-Smith says officials require more time to embed the new techniques as they assess the labour market.

UK economy 5% smaller due to Brexit

Britain’s economy is 5% smaller than it would have been if the country had chosen to stay in the EU, according to an analysis by Goldman Sachs. The UK has significantly underperformed other advanced economies since the referendum, with lower growth and higher inflation.

Consumer prices in Britain have leapt by 31%, compared to 27% in the US and 24% in the eurozone.

The report adds that greater trade frictions and lower EU immigration have contributed to higher inflation rates. While investment levels have been weak since 2016 , with Brexit uncertainty resolved, some improvement is expected.

BoE risks being ‘too slow’ in cutting rates – Haldane

Former Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane says he would have already voted to cut interest rates. Noting the UK’s slow growth rate and progress on bringing down inflation, he said: “I’d be cutting rates now, and probably would have been from the tail end of last year.” Mr Haldane added that while inflation is likely to be within “spitting distance” of the Bank’s 2% target by spring, officials are likely be too slow in cutting rates, saying: “The risk as inflation comes down at a fair old click is that the Bank might be a bit slow in cutting in the same way as it was a bit slow in raising [rates].”

Bailey downplays shallow recession

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey says the UK economy shrinking in Q4 and entering a shallow technical recession is not overly important, saying: “I would not put too much weight on that.” He said that if there are two successive negative quarters, “it will be very shallow,” adding: “What I would put more weight on is that the indicators we have seen since have shown some signs of upturn.”

Inflation set to climb to 4.1%

Experts expect Office for National Statistics data released this week to show that inflation hit 4.1% in the year to January, having climbed to 4% in December. Sanjay Raja of Deutsche Bank says this will be driven in part by an increase in energy prices. Looking ahead, Ashley Webb of Capital Economics expects inflation to fall, saying it is likely to dip back to 4% in February and below the Bank of England’s 2% target in April.

PM says the economy ‘has turned a corner’

Rishi Sunak has downplayed the importance of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data which is expected to show that inflation increased in January and that the UK may have entered a technical recession in Q4, insisting that the economy “has turned a corner” and is “heading in the right direction.” The Prime Minister noted that inflation has fallen from 11% to 4%, mortgage rates are starting to come down, and wages are now rising consistently.

Government insiders say the Prime Minister and Chancellor will look at long-term forecasts to gauge any cut taxes, with a source saying Office for Budget Responsibility calculations on the headroom available for tax cuts in the Budget would be “based on what’s going to happen in five years’ time, not so much what’s happened six months ago.”

Business confidence climbs

The continued recovery for the service sector has boosted business confidence, according to analysis from BDO. The firm’s Output Index shows that output rose for the third consecutive month in January, hitting 99.42. This marks the highest level since July 2022. Meanwhile, the Services-Sub Index reached 100.05 – the highest reading since August 2022.

BDO partner Kaley Crossthwaite said businesses have started to regain their confidence, with the service sector “spearheading” the momentum. She said: “With output expected to continue rising, recession easing and businesses hopeful of further interest rates cuts – businesses have started the year with a sense of cautious optimism.” Despite renewed optimism, Ms Crosswhite warned: “We can’t be complacent.”

SFO boss to promise swifter action on fraud

Serious Fraud Office director Nick Ephgrave is set to outline plans to deliver a “bolder, pragmatic, more proactive” prosecutor that will take swifter action to tackle fraud. Calling for a more proactive approach, he is expected to say: “This means not being afraid to close investigations which have limited chance of progressing to charge, so that resources can be moved to other cases.”


Heathrow Airport has reported passenger numbers jumped in January as appetite for travel appears to remain strong despite geopolitical tensions and cost of living pressures. Just shy of six million people passed through the UK’s busiest airport over the month, Heathrow updated on Monday, marking a 9.4% increase on January last year.


Tui reported a “record” performance in its financial first quarter, including its first-ever underlying profit in the traditionally slow period for travel operators. Its pretax loss narrowed to EUR103.1 million in the three months that ended December 31 from EUR272.6 million a year before, as revenue rose by 15% to a “record” EUR4.30 billion from EUR3.75 billion. Underlying earnings before interest and tax were EUR6.0 million, swung from a EUR153.0 million Ebit loss a year before.


The delivery firm Yodel and it’s 10,000 employees has been saved at the last hour from administration by the backers of rival “Shift” with the hope of combining the two into a super scale logistics firm. Although Yodel delivers almost 200 million packages a year it has come under threat from new rivals with poor customer ratings hitting the firm.

Labour plans to replace non-dom tax regime

Labour has vowed to create a “modern” tax system for foreigners living in Britain receiving income from elsewhere to replace the “colonial-era” non-dom regime. Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds said Labour would aim to attract global talent who bring “ability” and “innovation.” The non-dom scheme allows foreign nationals living in Britain to make money on capital abroad without paying tax on it for up to 15 years. Labour has long said it plans to scrap or significantly alter the scheme.

Tourist tax hurts economic growth

Heathrow Airport has warned that the UK’s abolition of VAT-free shopping has hindered home-grown growth and harmed the country’s business environment. The airport has joined forces with the British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses to campaign for a tax-free shopping incentive in the upcoming Budget. Many retailers and brands are also calling for the reinstatement of tax-free shopping, which was abolished three years ago. While the Treasury estimates that reintroducing the perk would cost the exchequer billions, studies suggest it could boost the economy by over £10bn per year and support thousands of jobs. The Office for Budget Responsibility is conducting a cost-benefit analysis of the tourist tax, raising hopes that it may be abolished.

Financial regulation

BOE Governor Andrew Bailey said regulatory reforms since the 2008 financial crisis cannot be blamed for the sharp discount in  commercial bank valuations.  In a speech in the East Midlands, Bailey agreed that more reforms are needed to protect banks from runs like the one that broke Silicon Valley Bank last year. He also dismissed concerns about the UK falling into recession, saying any downturn “will be shallow.”


The MSCI is dropping dozens of Chinese companies from its benchmark indices, after a dramatic fall in Chinese equities that erased trillions  in mark capitialisations.  66 companies are being dropped from its China index at the end of the month, the most in at least two years.

Latest Insolvencies

Appointment of Administrator – NANOSUN LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – WILLIS & TIMSONS (LONDON) LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – PSR GROUP LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ROGERS AND WHITELEY LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – TYSON CLOSE DEVELOPMENTS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – PIS GROUP LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PP (ROMFORD) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – HENDRY ENGINEERING LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – PLAYRCART LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – INTELITY LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – ANDERSTON QUAY PRINTERS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CLOUD9 PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – AURORA AUTOMATION LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – LAT WATER LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – LITTLE CHERUBS DAY NURSERY LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – DC WHOLEFOODS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – LLOYD PIGGOTT HOLDINGS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – GARY GRAY TRANSPORT LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – ARKAYD LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – AB CONFORMITAS LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – SIMPLER SKIN LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – 31 HARLEY STREET LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – FOX AGILITY LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – SHAREMOB LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – GIANT HOLDCO LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – AECOM CSD LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – A & R BROWN LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – CAR PLAY 247 LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – KHULE HEALTHCARE LTD.
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – EASY HOTEL WI-FI LTD

Why should you become a CPA member!

The Credit Protection Association (CPA) has been assisting thousands of UK businesses to get paid, since 1914. We have seen many financial crises, this one will be particularly deadly for suppliers for some time to come.

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Unlike other credit management companies, we offer our members a fixed annual subscription regardless of how high the debt value maybe!

Just call Peter Uwins, CPA’s National Sales Manager, on 020 8846 0000 (business hours) or email today.

When you see your money come in, you will be so glad you used CPA.

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections


Do you have a commercial late payer that is causing you grief? Use CPA’s no-win, no-fee, commercial debt recovery service!

If you have a particular business customer who is late paying and causing you sleepless nights, why not offer it to CPA for purchase on recourse?

CPA’s collection department will then pursue the debt. We will be liable for any costs incurred and then when we have recovered the debt, we will pay you the net principle debt recovered less our percentage.

Once you have enjoyed that success then you can consider the more cost effective membership which includes our Overdue Account Recovery service and Status/Credit reports as well as a range of other complimentary services.

Just call  020 8846 0000 and ask for Godfrey Nelson or Cris Shirley (business hours) or email today.

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections.


Get compensated for previous late payments

Have you been paid late by business customers in the last six years?

Maybe you no longer work with them. Under legislation, you are entitled to  compensation you for those late payments you have suffered.

You put up with the PAIN – now claim the GAIN!

Claim late payment compensation (LPC) from former business customers who paid you late in the last six years!

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Check our compensation calculator to see how much your business could be owed!

Discover NOW the potential value of late payment compensation hidden in your sales ledger!

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections.