Supermarkets spooked by food inflation figures: market round up
Alarm bells rang over some of the London market’s best-known high street names today, with retailers and banks hit hard by fresh inflation worries and the outlook for UK interest rates.
Supermarket chains were spooked by numbers from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) that showed soaring food prices leading shop inflation to new records.
Tesco, the country’s biggest single retailer, fell 6p to 210p, the stock’s lowest price since early 2019. Sainsbury, one of Tesco’s main rivals, lost 7p to 182p, its lowest since 2020. Both companies face strong competition from the German discount chains Aldi and Lidl, who are gaining market share fast as household budgets are squeezed hard.
But the unease was deep enough to hit homegrown discounter B&M. Shares in the 700-outlet chain fell 7p to 302p.
James Hughes, analyst at Scope Markets said: “The BRC numbers mean it is likely that households will be increasingly cautious when it comes to spending in the autumn. It is striking that even the typically resilient supermarkets have taken a pasting on the markets, with food inflation stoking the worries.”
High street banks also stayed under heavy pressure, as City traders continued to expect the Bank of England’s fight against inflation to get even more aggressive.
Lloyds Banking Group — the owner the Halifax and one of the UK’s biggest mortgage lenders which has withdrawn fixed-rate home loans this week — was 1.3p weaker at 42p. NatWest, another major player in the mortgage market, fell 7p to 225p.
Rightmove, the online estate agency and property portal that is often the first step for house hunters, took up residence on the list of the biggest fallers, down 13p to 489p.
Overall, the wave of selling took the FTSE 100 down by 128 points to 6855.75, setting it on course to close under 7,000 points for the second consecutive session. The declines were also broad, with only six constituents making gains, mainly defensive stocks including British American Tobacco, up 15p to 3389p and vaccine maker GSK, up 16p to 1332p.
The FTSE 250, home to a range of domestic UK stocks, slumped by 393 points to 16910.58, taking it back toward its early March lows of around 15200.
JD Wetherspoons, the pub chain and high street favourite, hit the bottom of the mid-cap market, down 47p at 402p.