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UK consumer confidence has rebounded in November despite ongoing cost-of-living concerns

GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index increased six points to -24 in November with all measures up in comparison to last month.

The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last year is up three points at -16, while is eight points better than November 2022.

Meanwhile, the forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months increased five points to -3, which is 26 points higher than this time last year.

The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months is also up five points at -49, now 18 points higher than in November 2022, while expectations for the UK economy over the next 12 months is up six points to -26 and is 32 points better year-on-year.

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director GfK, commented: “Recent ups and downs in confidence have underlined the nation’s topsy-turvy economic mood as encouraging news about falling inflation and wage growth is offset by high personal taxation, alongside costly fuel and energy bills.

“Although the Overall Index Score is still tracking firmly in negative territory, it is good to see that consumers are more optimistic about their personal financial situation. This shows people are thinking about their future with increased confidence and willingness to look beyond the short-term.

“Despite the acute cost-of-living pressures, many would still like to loosen their purse strings just a little so they can enjoy that feel-good factor we all associate with the festive season.”

Morning update

Legal & General Group has agreed a £4.8bn full buy-in with the Boots Pension Scheme, securing the benefits of all 53,000 retirees and deferred members of the scheme.

The deal is the UK’s largest single transaction of its kind by premium size and, for L&G, the largest single transaction by number of members.

Legal & General has a long-standing relationship with Boots, having provided investment management services to the Scheme for over 20 years.

This buy-in begins the conclusion of a de-risking process that the scheme first embarked on in 2001.

Andrew Kail, CEO, Legal & General Retirement Institutional, commented: “This is testament to our long-standing relationship with the client, and I am proud that we have been able to work seamlessly across our insurance, reinsurance and investment management capabilities to deliver an excellent outcome.

“We are continuing to see an unprecedented acceleration in demand in this sector, driven by more pension schemes being closer to buyout than ever before.”

Sebastian James, senior vice president and MD at Boots added: “”We are very pleased to have achieved the gold standard outcome for our pension scheme and to have fully secured the benefits of all members with a highly respected insurer. This will provide greater certainty to both the scheme members and to Boots, and is an excellent outcome for both parties.”

Elsewhere, The Co-op has announced that a trustee of Co-operative Pensions Scheme has completed a “buy in” transaction for Co-op Section.

The Co-operative Group has been in discussions with the trustee of the Co-op Section of the Co-operative Pension Scheme (Pace) to reduce the risks that the Co-op Section, and by extension the Co-op, is exposed to.

The Co-op Section and the Co-operative Bank Section of Pace were created in 2018.

The Trustee has agreed a buy-in transaction for the Co-op Section with Rothesay Life, through which Pace has purchased a bulk annuity insurance policy, covering all liabilities required to meet future pensions and delivering greater security to members of the Co-op Section of Pace.

This has been successfully achieved without the need for Co-op to make additional contributions, whilst leaving residual assets remaining in Pace.

The terms of the policy will eliminate the primary investment, inflation and longevity risks that the Co-op Section is exposed to.

This transaction is a “significant step” in the Co-op’s continuing strategy of de-risking its pensions exposure.

“Co-op is supportive of the strong stewardship and de-risking action taken by the Trustee, which creates a positive outcome for those current and former colleagues who are Pace members,” it stated.

“This transaction also reduces the Co-op’s exposure to the funding risks associated with our defined benefit liabilities which, in turn, strengthens our Co-op for the benefit of our members.”

Finally this morning, Hilton Food Group has announced that non-exec director Christine Cross will step down from the board on 4 December, to be replaced by Sarah Perry.

Perry has considerable supply chain and logistics experience, including in her current role as Vice President for integrated supply chains at Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company. She has also previously worked in operations and logistics executive roles at Coca-Cola European Partners and Oxford University Press, as well as a customer services role at DHL UK.

Sarah is a director of Carlsberg UK Holdings and is also a director of various companies involved with its SDE Innserve joint venture business with Heineken that installs and maintains equipment in pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants.

Robert Watson OBE, Chairman, commented: “I am delighted to welcome Sarah to Hilton Foods. The depth of experience she has in supply chains and logistics will complement and further strengthen our board.

“I would also like to thank Christine for her significant contribution to the group’s successful journey. Since Christine joined the board in 2016, Hilton Foods has continued to grow and develop into a truly international business and a trusted partner for our customers.”

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 has dropped 0.4% to 7,454.2pts.

Risers include Naked Wines, up 5.7% to 37p, Virgin Wines, up 5.3% to 40p and C&C Group, up 2% to 144.4p.

Fallers include Glanbia, down 3.1% to €14.64, FeverTree, down 1.1% to 1,067.9p and Ocado, down 0.8% to 555.4p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 ended three days of falls by rising 0.2% to 7,483.6pts yesterday.

PZ Cussons was up 3.8% to 143.2p after reassuring the market on its situation in Nigeria and that it remains on course to meet market expectations on trading.

Other risers included Greencore, up 2.1% to 101p, Just Eat, up 1.8% to 1,275p, THG, up 1.4% to 77.8p, Britvic, up 1.3% to 844.5p, C&C Group, up 1.1% to 141.6p, Sainsbury’s, up 1.1% to 269.9p and Cranswick, up 1% to 3,884p.

The day’s fallers include Naked Wines, down 9.6% to 35p, Pets at Home, down 3% to 287.8p, Imperial Brands, down 2.4% to 1,833.5p, Greggs, 2.3% to 2,490p, Hilton Food Group, down 1.7% to 705p and Greggs, down 2.3% to 2,490p.