25th May 2021
Good morning Only 15 people tested positive for Covid from the 60,000 that went to the trial mass gathering events including the FA Cup and Brit Awards. This infection rate is in line with the wider population and gives hope that things could return to normal in England on June 21.
- Movie going stages a comeback
- Pret index shows that people are slowly returning to offices
Yesterday's market moves
FTSE 100 +0.5% 7,052
FTSE 250 +0.4% 22,484
It was a quiet start to the week, trading volumes were far lighter than usual with markets in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark and Norway closed for Whit Monday. The FTSE 100 was up 0.5% while the FTSE 250 rose 0.4%.
Movie going stages a comeback
What’s going on
Cineworld announced that its UK cinemas attracted more people than expected in the first weekend after reopening. The country’s biggest cinema chain said performance was boosted by the success of Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway.
Why is this important
The cinema industry has been one of the worst hit sectors during the pandemic with many screens closed for extended periods.
Global box office takings in 2020 fell by more than 70% from the previous year to $12.4 billion, according film technology firm Gower Street Analytics.
Cineworld is the world’s second largest cinema chain with 787 sites across 10 countries. Last year it suffered a staggering £1.7 billion loss.
The shares, up 3.2% to 90p yesterday, had fallen to 25p in October, and it had to seek emergency funding from investors of around £900 million.
Odeon cinemas also reported encouraging news, the chain sold more than 300,000 tickets in the past week, making it the busiest week in over a year.
Cineworld and Odeon’s positive performance suggests that streaming services have not completely displaced them and that consumers still want to watch films on the big screen.
Weather across the UK was pretty miserable this weekend so it will be interesting to see what happens when (or if!) the sun comes out.
Looking ahead cinemas are hoping that some of the year’s most anticipated releases (e.g. Cruella and A Quiet Place 2 out next week) will drive more of us back to the cinema this summer.
Pret index shows that people are slowly returning to offices
There’s nothing like a new index to monitor some form of economic activity. Bloomberg has started using the weekly sales of sandwich chain Pret-a-Manger as a measure of the UK recovery from the pandemic induced recession.
The reason being that we can safely say normality has returned once office workers are back eating Pret sandwiches.
Key headlines from the latest data:
- London workers are slowly coming back but not on a Monday. Sales in the City of London and Canary Wharf are around half of their pre-pandemic level. Bloomberg says, “London’s bankers, corporate lawyers and asset managers are taking their time returning to offices.” But data shows that more people are working from home on Mondays and Fridays then basing themselves in the office midweek.
- Regional towns and suburbs have fared better. Pret branches outside of London have benefited from increased amount of working from home. Remote workers have been interacting with stores closer to home for takeaway or delivery. Last September Pret launched a coffee subscription service to capitalise on the new hybrid working model.
Pret sales aren’t a perfect measure of economic recovery. Aside from the fact that commuters have other lunch options, it’s unlikely that sales will go back to pre-pandemic levels if remote working becomes more of the norm.
Stat of the day
The global fashion industry is worth $2.5 trillion and emits more carbon than the aviation and shipping industries combined.
Other stories to keep you in the loop
- One year after George Floyd's murder have companies stuck to their pledges of tackling racial injustice?
- UK government tells airlines to avoid Belarusian airspace after journalist arrested
- EY staff to work from home at least two days a week after lockdown eased
- Further pain ahead for Bitcoin as environmental groups queue up to reject cryptocurrencies