BUSINESS LIVE: Interest rate decision – Will they rise to 5.5%? Retailer Next raises profit expectations


BUSINESS LIVE: Interest rate decision – Will they rise to 5.5%? Retailer Next raises profit expectations

Today all eyes will be on Bank of England policymakers and whether they will raise interest rates again. This comes after inflation data yesterday showed the CPI fell slightly to 6.7 percent in August.

Companies reporting today include Next and JD Sports. Read the Business Live blog from Thursday September 21st below.

> If you’re using our app or a third-party website, click here to read Business Live

The co-operative group will invest millions of pounds to bring down food prices after attracting almost half a million new members.

The retailer said it had already invested £20m in price cuts at its grocery stores and the introduction of exclusive member prices in the first half of the year and plans to invest a further £70m.

This comes at a time when other supermarkets are slashing their prices as grocery inflation remains in the double digits.

National debt is below official forecasts

Pressure continued to mount on the Chancellor to cut taxes ahead of the next general election after figures showed government debt in August was lower than official forecasts.

The Office for National Statistics said public sector net borrowing was £11.6 billion last month – £3.5 billion more than a year earlier and the fourth highest borrowing in August on record.

It was higher than the 11.1 billion pounds forecast by most economists, but lower than the 13 billion pounds forecast by Britain’s financial regulator, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “These figures show why, having helped families through the pandemic, we now need to balance the books.”

“This will be much easier when inflation is under control because higher inflation drives up interest rates, so we have to stick to the plan to lower them.”

Retailer Next said sales were better than expected, with the company reporting a boost from warm weather.

It showed pre-tax profits rose 4.8 percent to £420 million in the six months to July compared to the same period last year.

The FTSE 100 company also reported a 5.4 per cent increase in overall sales as exceptionally warm weather in late May and June boosted sales of its summer clothing at a critical time, the group said.


JD Sports said it was on track to post a higher annual profit as demand for premium casualwear drove up sales.

Despite the financial pressures, JD’s typically younger customer base has continued to embrace brands like Nike and Adidas.

The retailer said sales rose 7 per cent in constant currency to £4.7 billion, with organic sales growth rising 12 per cent in the six months to July 29, 2023.

Shares in JD Sports rose 8 percent to 143.64 pence, after rising 16 percent last year.


Hearings before special committees of MPs rarely cause a stir.

However, the gigantic televised row between former King of the High Street Sir Philip Green and campaigner Frank Field over the fallout from the collapse of BHS in 2016 was a massive exception.

Both emerged victorious in their own way. By using quick-wittedness, quick-wittedness and business know-how, Green was able to show that he had been let down by the good and the great.


At the opening

The FTSE 100 index opened at 7731.65.

Yesterday it was announced that inflation had fallen again to 6.7 percent – a figure that would have been considered shockingly high just two years ago, but is now considered encouraging.

While the CPI reading is still a large number, this is an important step towards returning to the “old normal” – where both interest rates and wage increases are higher than inflation.

This is Money readers needn’t be reminded that falling inflation doesn’t mean life is getting cheaper, just that it’s becoming more expensive at a slightly slower rate, says Simon Lambert.


The pound fell to a 10-month low and stocks rallied as a surprise drop in inflation raised hopes that interest rates may have already peaked.

In a report that surprised the city, the Office for National Statistics said inflation fell to 6.7 percent in August from 6.8 percent in July.

The figures sent shockwaves through the financial sector and contradicted forecasts that inflation would rise to 7 percent or even higher.


Economists and business groups said it would be a mistake for officials meeting today to raise interest rates for the 15th straight day from 5.25 percent to possibly 5.5 percent.

And the financial markets, which until yesterday had been betting on a further interest rate hike, saw the decision as being on a knife’s edge. Experts from Goldman Sachs and a number of other banks now believe that the bank will leave interest rates unchanged.


Drew Weisholtz

Drew Weisholtz is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Drew Weisholtz joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

Related Articles

Back to top button