UK retail sales completes trio of key domestic data this week after dovish central bankers keep ever

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At the end of a busy week peppered with key central bank meetings, important UK data, and a smattering of results from blue-chip firms, things will settle down on Friday, although domestic data will still be of interest, with the latest UK retail sales numbers due hot on the heels of this week’s inflation and unemployment numbers.

UK retail sales volumes rose by 3.6% month-on-month in July as clothing sales grew and people spent more money on petrol as the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown eased.

Retail sales were 3% higher last month than in February 2020 before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic and the UK was placed in lockdown.

Investors and the high street will be hoping that consumers carried on the buying spree in August.

(LON:APGN).On the corporate front, just a pair of releases are scheduled to provide any interest, with a trading update due from revamped investment bank Investec PLC (LON:INVP), and interims expected from petrol stations operator Applegreen PLC

Restructuring ongoing at Investec

News reports this week suggested that Investec is set to cut 210 jobs amid a wider restructuring at the business, with the majority of job losses expected to be in support roles.

The firm’s Wealth and Investment division, and it’s South African business are likely to be spared any cuts.

The move is part of the company’s ongoing reorganisation which saw the group spin-off of its asset management arm, rebranded as Ninety One, in March.

Other changes at the company have seen its UK bank leadership integrated, with the Investec Private Bank and Investec Corporate and Investment Banking divisions no longer in existence.

Investec employs 3,156 people in the UK, meaning the planned redundancies would account for 6% of its domestic workforce, the news reports said.

Dividend return eyed for Applegreen

In a trading update at the end of July, Applegreen confirmed that its trading was ahead of expectations in the second quarter, and it had stayed profitable.

The company said business had been driven by strong store sales in local service stations, good fuel margins and extensive cost-saving measures.

Investors will be hoping that this strong trading has continued and would welcome news of an interim dividend with the first-half numbers, the company having passed on paying a final dividend with its full-year results released at the end of March to conserve cash due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the start of this month, Applegreen confirmed that it is part of Empire State Thruway Partners, which has been awarded a conditional 33-year lease for the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the 27 motorway service areas on the New York State Thruway.

The Dublin, Ireland-headquartered company said it will operate all 84 food and beverage outlets expected to be constructed and a retail store on each site.

Significant events expected on Friday September 18:

Trading announcements: Investec PLC (LON:INVP)

Interims: Applegreen PLC (LON:APGN)

Economic data: UK retail sales, US Michigan consumer sentiment

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