Daily business and finance update 1st September 2023
M&S returns to the top
Good morning. Today we're talking about food Marks & Spencer’s return to the FTSE 100, OpenAI on track for $1bn revenue and the latest property data.
M&S returns to the top
Marks & Spencer is set to rejoin the FTSE 100 index this month, four years after it was demoted. The high street retailer's share price has surged in recent months, thanks to a turnaround plan that has seen it focus on its core clothing and food businesses. M&S was relegated from the FTSE 100 in 2019 after its market value fell below the threshold for inclusion. The company was struggling at the time, with declining sales and profits. However, the company has since made significant progress under new CEO Stuart Machin. M&S has closed underperforming stores, invested in its online business, and launched a new clothing range that has been well-received by customers. As a result of these efforts, M&S's share price has more than doubled in the past year. The company is now valued at over £7bn, which is enough to put it back in the FTSE 100.
AI leader reaches $1bn
OpenAI, the artificial intelligence research company, is on track to generate more than $1bn in revenue over the next 12 months, according to a report by The Information. The company's revenue is being driven by its ChatGPT chatbot, which has become the fastest-growing app in history, reaching 100m users just a few months after launching. OpenAI is also generating revenue from the sale of its artificial intelligence software and computing capacity. The company has raised over $1bn in funding from investors, including Microsoft and Elon Musk. OpenAI is regarded as one of several companies at the forefront of generative AI, which can create content from videos to poetry out of a few simple user commands. This month, it launched a corporate version of ChatGPT with added features and privacy safeguards, the startup’s most significant effort yet to attract a broad mix of business customers and boost revenue from its best-known product.
Banks approved 10% fewer mortgages in July than June, according to the latest Bank of England data. The figures were worse than expected and 25% less than the pre-pandemic average. Mortgage affordability has been hit since the central bank hiked interest rates for a 14th consecutive time bringing the figure that underpins most mortgage lending rates to a 15-year high of 5.25%. Separate data from property portal Zoopla revealed that the volume of home sales this year will drop to its lowest since 2012.
All over: Hundreds of staff at Wilko will lose their jobs at the collapsed chain over the coming days with more redundancies to follow, administrators have said.
In the black: Buy now, pay later firm Klarna has reported a profitable month for the first time in three years.
Changing tactics: Whole Foods is scrapping luxury offerings and ramping up its range of cut-price products as it seeks to rekindle its appeal to middle-income shoppers amid widening losses.
New features: The social media platform X will begin offering video and audio calling, a step towards turning the former Twitter into an “everything app.”
Number of the Day
The record quarterly profit of Swiss banking giant UBS following its takeover of rival Credit Suisse
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