BUSINESS LIVE: Britain’s service sector sees fastest growth in five years; WH Smith to axe 1500 jobs; William Hill closing 119 betting shops
The UK’s service sector expanded at its fastest rate for five years in July as the easing of lockdown restrictions helped to drive a rebound in activity.
The closely watched IHS Markit/CIPS Services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 56.5 last month from 47.1 in June.
WH Smith is planning to cut up to 1,500 jobs as bosses said its recovery from the Covid-19 lockdown has been ‘slow’.
The retailer said it is starting to consult with staff over plans that could see as many as 1,500 of them losing their roles.
Gambling giant William Hill has announced it plans to keep 119 of its betting shops closed and posted a slump in half year profits today.
The company’s half-year profits fell 85 per cent to £11.8million, while revenues shrunk by 32 per cent to £554.4million on the previous year. It said the cost of the shop closures would be ‘minimal.’
Meanwhile, Metro Bank has reported a £240.6million loss for the six months to June, against a profit of £3.4million a year earlier.
Amid fears of a second wave of the pandemic and nervous markets, the price of gold continues to hover over the $2,000 mark today.