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Luxury brand Burberry warns coronavirus is hurting demand

11.03am GMT11:03 Markets drop and investors await US non-farm payrolls Thursday’s bounce didn’t last for European stocks. Today, a mix of profit-taking and coronavirus jitters seem to be weighing on markets. Germany’s Dax is down 0.5% while the French Cac is down 0.3%. The FTSE 100 is the worst performer in Europe and is down…

Markets drop and investors await US non-farm payrolls

Thursday’s bounce didn’t last for European stocks. Today, a mix of profit-taking and coronavirus jitters seem to be weighing on markets.

Germany’s Dax is down 0.5% while the French Cac is down 0.3%.

The FTSE 100 is the worst performer in Europe and is down 0.7%.

A chart showing the performance of the FTSE 100 on Friday morning.

A chart showing the performance of the FTSE 100 on Friday morning. Photograph: Refinitiv

All eyes are now on US jobs numbers, with non farm payrolls due at 1:30pm UK time.

Joe Weisenthal
(@TheStalwart)

Happy jobs day everyone. Don’t forget to get in your #NFPGuesses

February 7, 2020

City watchdog says administrators are trying to sell personal data to claims companies

The Financial Conduct Authority has fired a warning shot at insolvency practitioners (read: administrators) after learning that there have been illegal attempts to sell customers’ personal data after a company goes bust.

Passing on that data may breach key data protection rules like GDPR.


We are aware that some insolvency practitioners and FCA-authorised firms have attempted to sell clients’ personal data to claims management companies (CMCs) unlawfully.

This can happen either before or after a firm has gone into administration and where it is likely claims for compensation will be made to FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme).

The terms, conditions and clauses within a standard contract are highly unlikely to constitute sufficient legal consent for personal data to be shared with CMCs to market their services, and may not be lawful.

Claims management firms have been looking for the next big earner after the deadline for payment protection insurance claims closed last year.

The logo of the new Financial Conduct Authority is seen at the agency’s headquarters in the Canary Wharf business district of London.

The logo of the new Financial Conduct Authority is seen at the agency’s headquarters in the Canary Wharf business district of London. Photograph: Chris Helgren/Reuters

The FCA statement also warned CMCs to “act honestly, fairly and professionally” and in the best interest of customers.


CMCs using such personal data may not be acting in the customers’ interests. CMCs seeking to rely on legitimate interest grounds for processing such data are highly unlikely to meet the requirements of the GDPR.

CMCs that intend to buy and use such personal data must be able to demonstrate how they have considered the fair treatment of customers and how their actions comply with privacy laws.

The statement, which was co-signed by the Information Commissioner’s Office and FSCS, didn’t name individual companies that may be in breach of data rules.

However, it warned that authorities would “take appropriate action” where they identify illegal sales.

Overnight, S&P Global Ratings estimates that Chinese GDP growth will fall to 5% for 2020. That is down from forecasts for 5.7% growth before the outbreak.

And this might be a bold prediction, but S&P is also claiming that the virus could be contained by March 2020.

It claims most of the impact will be felt in the first quarter, but that a recovery will be in place by the third quarter. China should bounce back in 2021 with 6.4% growth compared to previous forecasts for 5.6%.

People wearing facemasks as a preventative measure following a coronavirus outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, line up to purchase face masks from a makeshift stall after queueing for hours following a registration process during which they were given a pre-sales ticket, in Hong Kong on February 5, 2020.

People wearing facemasks as a preventative measure following a coronavirus outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, line up to purchase face masks from a makeshift stall after queueing for hours following a registration process during which they were given a pre-sales ticket, in Hong Kong on February 5, 2020. Photograph: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Shaun Roache, the Asia-Pacific chief economist for S&P Global Ratings, said:


We expect the effect to be more drawn out than in SARS given the longer time to reach peak infections and the more vigorous policy response, especially travel restrictions, in this episode.

Household consumption will take the main hit, especially spending on discretionary goods and services as individuals avoid public spaces to minimise the risk of infection.

One of our readers got in touch with concerns about our post on Halifax house price data for January.

He made the point that “better than expected” made it sound like higher costs for housing was a positive result, full stop.

I agree that it’s more accurate to say “higher than expected” so I’ve made that change. Thanks for making the point, Keith.

Burberry’s finance chief Julie Brown has said the impact of the coronavirus on the business has been more significant than recent protests in Hong Kong.

Footfall at the 44 stores that are still open in mainland China have dropped by up to 80%, with customers staying home amid the outbreak.

Speaking to the FT (£) this morning, she said:


It is more serious in Hong Kong than the protests

Demonstrators and bystanders gather in front of a Burberry Group Plc store on Canton Road in the area of Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong, China.

Demonstrators and bystanders gather in front of a Burberry Group Plc store on Canton Road in the area of Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong, China. Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The story confirms that none of Burberry’s staff have been diagnosed with the virus.

Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam ousted

One story is rocking the banking world this morning and that’s the surprise resignation of Credit Suisse CEO Tidjan Thiam.

It follows a bitter boardroom battle that escalated after a spying scandal that engulfed the Swiss bank last year.

In this Oct. 21, 2015 file photo Tidjane Thiam, CEO of Swiss bank Credit Suisse, leaves the podium during a press conference in Zurich, Switzerland.

In this Oct. 21, 2015 file photo Tidjane Thiam, CEO of Swiss bank Credit Suisse, leaves the podium during a press conference in Zurich, Switzerland. Photograph: Walter Bieri/AP

With my hands full with the blog today, the banking reigns have been handed to my capable colleague Mark Sweney. He reports:


The bank’s board announced on Friday morning that it had “unanimously accepted” the 57-year-old’s resignation and that Thomas Gottstein, the current head of Credit Suisse’s home business in Switzerland, will take over as chief executive. The board also gave its full support to the chairman, Urs Rohner, to complete his term until April 2021.

Thiam and Rohner have been in conflict since it emerged that the Zurich-based bank had hired a corporate espionage company to follow Iqbal Khan, the former head of the bank’s wealth management division, shortly after he left for a position at rival UBS. Credit Suisse insisted it was a one-off incident but then months later admitted a second executive had been tracked by private detectives.

The full story is here:

UK house prices higher than expected in January

The Halifax House Price Index has come in higher than expected, with prices rising 0.4% month-on-month compared to Reuters poll for a flat reading.

On an annual basis, January house prices were 4.1% higher than the same time last year to reach an average of £240,054.

But Russell Galley, a managing director at Halifax, warned against overblowing the results:


A number of important market indicators continue to show signs of improvement. We have seen a pick-up in transactions with more buyer and seller activity consistent with a reduction in uncertainty in the UK economy.

However, it’s too early to say if a corner has been turned. The recent positive figures may actually represent activity that would ordinarily have been expected to take place last year, but was delayed by economic uncertainty. So while housing market activity has undoubtedly increased over recent months, the extent to which this persists will be driven by housing policy, the wider political environment and trends in the economy.

Updated

You can read the full Burberry release here:

Burberry’s market update released on Friday morning.

A screenshot of Burberry’s market update released on Friday morning. Photograph: Burberry RNS

European markets are back in the red after a bounce yesterday:

  • FTSE 100 down -0.2%
  • French CAC 40 down -0.1%
  • German DAX down -0.3%
  • Spain’s IBEX down -0.25%

Burberry’s London-listed shares are down 3.2% at the start of trading, making it the worst performing stock on the FTSE 100.

Luxury goods maker Burberry hit by coronavirus outbreak

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

Luxury goods group Burberry has become the latest company to warn that its business is being knocked by the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced the company to temporarily close more than a third of its 64 stores in mainland China.

Its remaining outlets in the country are running with reduced hours and have suffered a significant drop in footfall.

People walk past the window display of a Burberry store in Beijing.

People walk past the window display of a Burberry store in Beijing. Photograph: Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters

In an unexpected update this morning, the British fashion house said the outbreak was having a “material negative effect on luxury demand”, adding:


We are taking mitigating actions but the benefit in the current year will be limited given the proximity to our March year end. We also intend to continue our key growth initiatives in preparation for a recovery in luxury demand. We will provide a retail trading update following our financial year end.

Burberry assured that while it can’t predict “how long this situation will last”, it was still confident in its strategy.


We are extremely grateful for the incredible effort of our teams and our immediate thoughts are with the people directly impacted by this global health emergency.

It comes just days after rival luxury group Capri Holdings – which is behind brands including Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo and Versace – warned that the disruption could hit revenue by around $100m (£77m). It said estimates “could materially change if the severity of the situation worsens”.

Later today, we are expecting US non-farm payrolls for January. Investec estimates are for the US economy to have added another 180k jobs, which would be an increase from the disappointing 145k logged for December.

The agenda

1.30pm GMT: US non-farm payrolls for January, plus average earnings

Updated

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