Focus on 3 FTSE retailers as self-isolation rules cause severe staff shortages

Summary 

  • UK retail firm Marks and Spencer and industry body Confederation of British Industry joined a growing list of firms calling for immediate change in the UK’s self-isolation policy.
  • Retailers are facing major staff shortages due to a surge in NHS test and trace app’s covid-19 alerts forcing UK residents to self-isolate for 10 days.
  • Quarantine rules are expected to be reviewed on 16 August by the government.

British popular retail company Marks and Spencer (LON: MKS) and industry body Confederation of British Industry (CBI) became the latest organisations in a growing list of major UK retail organisations, which have called for changes to the existing quarantine rules as it is causing severe staff shortages to businesses.

According to industry leaders, almost 20 per cent of staff in the hospitality and retail sectors are self-isolating due to current rules.

The NHS test and trace app sent out about 530,126 covid-19 alerts in England and Wales during the first week of July, forcing UK residents to self-isolate, and this number is only expected to surge further as most covid-19 related restrictions end today.

Despite today being called freedom day due to the relaxation of restrictions, quarantine rules, which include a 10 day self-isolation if coming in contact with a covid-19 case, are still in place.

UK based industry body, Confederation of British Industry (CBI), has called for fully vaccinated people to not be asked to self-isolate, however, the government is expected to review these rules next on 16 August.

Also Read: UK government mulling scrapping quarantine rules for fully vaccinated from August

Last week, another UK retail firm Asos (LON: ASC), had also called for this rule change. In view of this, here we take a look a 3 leading FTSE listed companies in the retail sector:

  1. Marks and Spencer (LON: MKS)

FTSE 250 index listed retail giant Marks and Spencer said it could be forced to reduce its store opening hours due to staff absences caused by the NHS test and trace app.

A senior executive at the company has reportedly said this could impact its supply chain side as the company’s logistics segment anyway runs tight in order to remain efficient.

(Image Source: Refinitiv)

Marks and Spencer’s shares were trading at GBX 134.6, down by 2.68 per cent on 19 July at 08:05 HRS GMT+1. Meanwhile, the FTSE 250 index was at 22,218.93, down by 1.10 per cent.

The company’s market cap stood at £2.707 billion, and its annual returns were 36.26 per cent.

  1. Asos PLC (LON: ASC)

FTSE AIM UK 50 index listed retailer Asos had reported that its staffing levels are experiencing problem, with a lot of test and trace notifications at its Barnsley distribution hub and the London head office.

The company recently announced a joint venture with US based retail giant Nordstrom. Nordstrom said the partnership could lead to a wider strategic alliance with Asos.

The US retail company also announced it had acquired a minority stake in four of Asos’ owned brands which include Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, and HIIT.

(Image Source: Refinitiv)

Asos’ shares were trading at GBX 3,862.00, down by 1.98 per cent on 19 July at 08:14 HRS GMT+1. Meanwhile, the FTSE AIM UK 50 index was at 6,343.17, down by 0.77 per cent.

The company’s market cap stood at £3.93 billion and its annual returns were 12.47 per cent.

  1. NEXT PLC (LON: NXT)

FTSE 100 index listed company Next PLC is a major player in the UK’s retail sector. According to investment bank  RBC Capital Markets, Next could tentatively announce an update on its dividends on 4 August at its Q2 results announcement or when announcing its interim results due on 29 September.

(Image Source: Refinitiv)

Next’s shares were trading at GBX 7,390.00, down by 1.65 per cent on 19 July at 08:23 HRS GMT+1. Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 index was at 6,922.41, down by 1.22 per cent.

The company’s market cap stood at £9.989 billion, and its annual returns were 47.06 per cent.

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