Top story

UK consumer confidence remained at its highest post-pandemic level during June, although concerns over rising inflation have affected sentiment over the country’s economic prospects.

GfK’s consumer confidence index remained unchanged from May at -9 in June to remain at its highest March 2020 before the pandemic.

GfK found forecasts for personal finances over the next 12 months rose one point to 11, now 15 points higher year-on-year.

However, expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months dropped to -2, albeit this remains 46 points higher than in June 2020.

GfK client strategy director Joe Staton said: “A repetition of last month’s score doesn’t mean confidence is about to nose-dive. The upwards trajectory for the index since the dark days at the start of the pandemic is currently still on track.

“However, forecasts for rising retail price inflation could weaken consumer confidence quickly and that may account for the six-point dip in June in our measure for the wider economy in the coming year.

“On a more positive note, we have strong numbers for our personal financial situation, both for the past year and the year to come. In addition, this month’s further improvement in the major purchase index – the third month in a row – could see shoppers spending in anticipation of a staycation summer.”

Consumer views of the wider economic situation over the past 12 months improved by one point to -47, which is 12 points higher than a year ago.

Views on consumers’ personal financial situation over the past 12 months also improved by four points to zero, now nine points higher than in June 2020.

Morning update

AG Barr has appointed former Dairy Crest CEO Mark Allen as its new chairman to replace outgoing chair John Nicolson.

Nicolson will step down from the board prior to the next AGM in May 2022, following nine years as a non-executive director of the company, seven of which have been as chairman.

Allen will become chairman designate from 1 July.

Allen was most recently CEO of Dairy Crest from 2007 to 2019 prior to its acquisition by Saputo, having also worked at Shell Group and held non-exec roles at Howden Joinery Group, Dairy UK and Warburtons, as well as Norcros, where he was Chair from July 2020 until April 2021.

AG Barr said Allen “brings a deep understanding of consumer goods to the board, as well as significant public company experience, all of which will be important as AG Barr continues to execute its strategy and growth plans”.

Meanwhile, Zoe Howorth will join the board as a non-executive director, with effect from 1 July 2021. Howorth has worked at Procter & Gamble, United Biscuits and The Coca-Cola Company, where she spent 16 years, culminating in her role as UK Marketing Director from 2010 to 2013.

AG Barr said she “brings extensive FMCG experience, specifically across the food and beverage sector, as well as consumer brand marketing expertise and direct to consumer digital capabilities”.

Having completed eight years as a non-exec director, Pam Powell will stand down from the board at the end of June 2021.

Chairman John Nicolson commented: “I am delighted that both Mark and Zoe will be joining our Board, both of whom bring a wealth of highly relevant experience and I look forward to welcoming them at this exciting time for AG Barr.”

Elsewhere, PZ Cussons has announced that Jitesh Sodha will join the board as a non executive director with effect from 1 July 2021.

Sodha is the chief financial officer at Spire Healthcare Group, which he joined in 2018, and was previously chief financial officer at De La Rue between 2015 and 2018, and at Greenenergy International, Mobile Streams, where he led their IPO, and T-Mobile International UK.

Caroline Silver, chair of PZ Cussons, said: “I am delighted to announce Jitesh’s appointment. He brings with him invaluable experience and financial expertise which will enrich the Board’s discussions and decisions as we support the renewed management team and strategy.”

On the markets this morning, the FTSE is up 0.1% to 7,118.6pts.

Risers include Bakkavor, up 2.6% to 134.4p, Devro, up 2% to 203p and Greggs, up 1.9% to 2,568p.

Fallers today include Nichols, down 2.6% to 1,400p, McBride, down 1.9% to 88.3p and Deliveroo, down 1.9% to 269.7p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 had a strong day of trading on Thursday, rising 0.5% to 7,110pts.

Deliveroo shares surged by 9.3% yesterday to 274.9p – albeit still well down on its 390p float price – after a UK court ruled its riders were self employed.

Other risers included Hotel Chocolat, up 6.1% to 368p, Just Eat, up 2.7% to 6,573p, Kerry Group, up 2.6% to €115.95, THG, up 2.2% to 619p and Carr’s Group, up 2.2% to 140p.

The day’s fallers included Premier Foods, down 2.6% to 104p, McColl’s Retail Group, down 2% to 36.1p, WH Smith, down 1.8% to 1,679.5p, AG Barr, down 1.6% to 505p and C&C Group, down 1.3% to 241.2p.