Good morning. Today we're talking about Ryanair's Boeing expansion, another Deloitte audit probe, UK retail sales fall behind inflation and JD Sports' French deal.
Europe’s largest airline announced it will buy up to 300 Boeing 737 Max 10 planes in a deal worth £32bn. It’s the budget carrier’s biggest order and the manufacturer’s latest sizable deal for new planes as airlines replace aging jets and grow their fleets. Ryanair said the delivery of the aircraft between 2027 and 2033 will enable it to create more than 10,000 jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers. The company forecasts that annual passenger numbers will rise from 168m this year to 300m by 2034.
Watchdog probes Deloitte
The Big Four accounting giant will be investigated by the UK financial reporting regulator for its audit of Joules, the high street retailer that collapsed last year. In December Next bought Joules out of bankruptcy for £34m. The regulator did not give a reason for the probe but if found guilty of providing a subpar audit Deloitte could face a significant fine. Deloitte is already under investigation for its audit of bus operator Go-Ahead and was fined £15m in 2020 for failings in its audits of the software company Autonomy.
UK retail sales rose by an annual rate of 5.2% in April, accelerating from 4.9% growth the previous month, according to the British Retail Consortium. But when adjusted for double-digit inflation, sales volumes were down meaning shoppers got less for their money. Clothing sales underperformed as the poor April weather left customers postponing summer wardrobe purchases. Analysts say that consumer demand has so far been fairly resilient to the headwinds of high inflation and high interest rates, but as government energy support comes to an end for many, savings start to dwindle and other household bills rise, it is likely the next few months will continue to be challenging as the consumer tank empties.
JD Sports’ French acquisition
The British sportswear retailed announced plans to buy French peer Courir for €520m. JD has over 3,400 stores across 32 countries including the UK, US, France and Germany. Courir has more than 300 outlets across six countries in Europe. The deal is the first since JD set out its ambitious strategy in February which included spending up to £3bn to open as many as 1,750 stores over five years, to turn the retailer into an athletic leisurewear "powerhouse".
Misconduct allegations: Tesco chairman John Allan has denied allegations of inappropriate touching by two women.
Strike action: The first anniversary of the opening of the Elizabeth line will be marked by a strike that could force part of the line to close.
Bonus return: Bosses at three of the UK's water companies have decided not to take their annual bonuses after widespread public criticism over sewage pollution.
Falling confidence: The boss of John Lewis will face a confidence vote by staff members amid growing anger over its strategy.
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