UK retail sales slide in December after Black Friday boost

Above, shoppers pass a promotional sign for 'Black Friday' sales discounts as they exit a retail store on Oxford Street in London. British retail sales jumped by one percent in November, boosted by Black Friday price reductions, but slipped 1.5 percent the next month. (AFP)
Updated 19 January 2018
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UK retail sales slide in December after Black Friday boost

LONDON: British retail sales slid 1.5 percent in December from the previous month after consumers had brought forward their Christmas shopping, official data showed Friday.
Retail sales had jumped by 1.0 percent in November, boosted by Black Friday price reductions, the Office for National Statistics said.
Sales though climbed 1.4 percent in December compared with one year earlier, the ONS added.
“Retail sales continued to grow in the last three months of the year partly due to Black Friday deals boosting spending,” said ONS Senior Statistician Rhian Murphy.
“Consumers continue to move Christmas purchases earlier, with higher spending in November and lower spending in December than seen in previous years.”
Murphy added that “the longer-term picture is one of slowing growth, with increased prices squeezing people’s spending.”
Britons’ wages are being eroded by Brexit-fueled inflation, according to recent official data.
Since Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016, a drop in sterling — making imported goods more expensive — has pushed inflation upwards.
“The latest retail sales data has shown a larger-than-expected drop in month-on-month terms with a decline of 1.5 percent,” said David Cheetham, chief market analyst at XTB trading group, adding that the pound dropped in response.


Careem looks to raise up to $200 million in China

Updated 20 November 2018
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Careem looks to raise up to $200 million in China

  • Investment bank China International Capital Corporation (CICC) is advising Dubai-based Careem, but it was not immediately clear when or if a deal would be finalized
  • Careem said in October it had secured $200 million in a new funding round from existing investors

HONG KONG: Careem, Uber’s main Middle East rival, is looking at raising between $100 million and $200 million from Chinese investors, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Investment bank China International Capital Corporation (CICC) is advising Dubai-based Careem, but it was not immediately clear when or if a deal would be finalized, the source said, adding there was a lack of familiarity and interest among Chinese investors in Middle Eastern start-ups.
Beijing-based CICC and Careem both declined to comment.
Reuters reported on Monday that CICC and New York-based investment bank Jefferies were both advising Careem on potential investment options and capital raising, including a possible Middle East M&A deal with Uber.
Careem, which counts German car maker Daimler and China’s largest ride-hailing company DiDi Chuxing among its other backers, competes head-to-head with Uber in most of the major cities in the Middle East.
Careem said in October it had secured $200 million in a new funding round from existing investors, and that it expected to raise more to finance expansion plans.
That investment, combined with previous fund raising and company growth into new markets and segments, gave Careem an estimated valuation of more than $2 billion.
Reuters reported in March that Careem was in early talks to raise as much as $500 million.