Top story

A collection of retail and leisure business groups have called on the UK government to rethink proposals that limit firms appealing that their categorisation of business rates is too high.

The new policy will block appeals unless the official valuation is shown to have been at least 15% too high.

The policy, known as known as Check, Challenge, Appeal, was condemned by the British Retail Consortium, the Federation of Small Businesses, the British Property Federation, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, British Hospitality Association, Revo, the British Beer and Pub Association and Business Centre Association.

The policy could cost as much as £700m a year in overpayments that cannot be appealed, according to Daniel Watney LLP and Blackstock Consulting. During the last review of annual business rates there were there were 666,000 appeals against the valuations.

Morning update

It’s a quiet start to the week this morning.

The only item of note on the market is third quarter results from Russian AIM-listed food producer Rusagro Group

Sakes rose by RR5.2m to RR55.6m (US$815m) in the first nine months of the year, with adjusted EBITDA down RR5.6m to RR11.5m (US$168m).

Adjusted EBITDA margin decreased from 34% in the first nine months of 2015 to 21% in the first nine months of 2016.

CEO Maxim Basov commented: “In Q3 2016 three businesses decreased sales year-to-year and all businesses decreased margins. This is the result of lower prices and lack of raw material in oil and fat businesses. In meat and oil and fat businesses this was the last quarter of relatively weak 12 months. We expect margins of these businesses to improve starting Q4.”

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 is up 0.3% to 6,794.9pts so far.

Early risers include fuel opperator Applegreen (APGN), up 2.4% to 399.3p, McColl’s Retail Group (MCLS), up 1.7% to 180p, Hotel Chocolate (HOTC), up 1.3% to 242p and Devro (DVO), up 1% to 173p.

Amongst the early fallers are Majestic Wine (WINE), down 2.3% to 297p, Britvic (BVIC), down 1.6% to 565p, Diageo (DGE), 1.4% down to 2,001p and Greencore (GNC), down 1.3% to 304p.

This week in the City

There’s not too much in the calendar company results-wise this week as the rush of third quarter trading updates is coming to an end.

The week’s major event in the UK in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement – the first budget presentation by new Chancellor Philip Hammond. Hammond is expect to unveil some extra spending on infrastructure, but any further giveaways to boost spending are expected to be limited by tight public finances. The Grocer explores whether Hammond has room for a surprise VAT cut here.

In retail terms it’s also a big week for some – with the Black Friday sales event at the end of the week.

The most notable company updates this week are full year results from FTSE 100 catering giant Compass Group (CPG) on Tuesday, while brewer and pub operator Marton’s (MARS) has its annual results on Thursday.

Also on Thursday there are interim results from Mothercare (MTC) PayPoint (PAY) and Pets at Home (PETS).

It’s a slow week internationally too, with only first half results from Remy Cointreau in the diary on Thursday.

In economic terms, the CBI’s Distributive Trades Surveys are out this week, starting on Wednesday, while the ONS’ estimate of third quarter GDP figures is scheduled to be released on Friday.