Department store Debenhams has announced that another five of its UK branches will not re-open following the easing of lockdown. The retailer said that it had been unable to agree terms with shopping center owner Hammerson to re-open the branches after falling into administration last month.
Britain’s construction sector suffered by far its biggest contraction since the launch of widely followed survey of the industry 23 years ago as the coronavirus lockdown shuttered building sites and suppliers. The construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), published by data firm IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), slumped to 8.2 in April from 39.3 in March.
Small businesses have secured more than 69,000 government-backed loans worth in excess of £2bn in the first 24 hours of the scheme’s launch. The number represents 53% of the 130,000 applications lodged by businesses trying to access cheap funding through the bounce-back loan scheme (BBLS), which launched on Monday morning as part of the government’s response to the Covid-19 lockdown.
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