16 December 2020 10:35
Inflation dipped to 0.3 per cent last month as food prices eased during the national lockdown As the US Federal Reserve is due to host its latest interest rates meeting, the FTSE is expected kick-off higher this morning, following Asian markets which were buoyed by hopes of effective Covid-19 vaccines and the growing prospect of more US fiscal stimulus. Inflation dipped to 0.3 per cent last month as clothing and food prices eased during the coronavirus lockdown in England. The CPI rate was down from 0.7 per cent in October, taking some pressure off families struggling with economic meltdown. Travis Perkins has said it will return £50million in business rates relief and job retention scheme money that it has claimed from the government for its Wickes and Toolstation stores after it continued to see strong demand in the DIY market. Electricals retailer Dixons Carphone has reported its half-year profits climbing to £89million from £2million in the same period the year before, with strong online sales offsetting the forced closure of its stores during Covid-19 lockdowns.
Good morning: Lockdown has boosted sales at the electricals retailer Dixons Carphone, which reported this morning that like-for-like sales rose 17 per cent in the six months to the end of October. Many of the group's stores were closed during the period but online sales in the UK rose 145 per cent. Underlying profits jumped to £89 million, up from £2 million the year before. Dixons said that it had strong sales of fridges, freezers and TVs at the start of the pandemic and food processors and fitness trackers over the summer. Sales of laptops, desktops, tablets and gaming consoles have been very strong throughout the period.
Alex Baldock, chief executive, said: "Our UK stores were closed for months but our colleagues adapted fast, continuing