Audi Q4 e-tron, via PAAudi Q4 e-tron, via PA

News Round-Up

Mar 4: Economy ‘to run out of steam’; Shopper footfall decline slows; M&S halts Russia shipments; Audi updates Q4 e-tron

  • Here are the headlines for Friday, March 4

Time 6:37 am, March 4, 2022

UK economy forecast to ‘run out of steam in coming months’

A business group has downgraded its expectations for economic growth this year amid soaring inflation, tax rises and global shocks, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) predicted growth of 3.6 per cent, down from 4.2 per cent in its previous forecast in December, warning the UK economy is forecast to run out of steam in the coming months.

The BCC said the downgrade largely reflects a deteriorating outlook for consumer spending and a weaker-than-expected rebound in business investment.

Shopper footfall improves on average decline

Storm Eunice failed to dampen consumer spirits in February as workers’ steady return to the office set tills ringing across the UK.

Footfall on high streets was down 19.4 per cent on two years ago but it was an improvement on the three-month average decline of 22.4 per cent.

M&S halts shipments to Russian franchise stores

Marks & Spencer has halted shipments to its Russian business run by franchisees.

The retailer said it had stopped sending to stores, which are operated by Turkish franchise partners, ‘given the unfolding humanitarian crisis following the invasion of Ukraine’.

M&S has more than 40 franchise-run stores in Russia, with the majority of them based in Moscow.

‘All of Europe’ threatened by Putin’s shelling of nuclear power station, says PM

Boris Johnson has said Russia’s shelling of a nuclear power station in the south-eastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia could ‘directly threaten the safety of all of Europe’.

The power station – the largest in Europe – caught fire after it was attacked by Russia. While the reactor is under renovation, according to the power plant’s spokesman, it still contains nuclear fuel.

In a statement sent to PA News Agency, a spokeswoman for the PM’s office said: ‘The prime minister said the reckless actions of President Putin could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe.’

Buyer of Three network owner to sell 1,000 mobile towers to allay price fears

Telecoms business Cellnex will have to sell around 1,000 mobile towers to buy the company behind Three’s mobile network in the UK, after the competition watchdog warned it could push up prices for mobile users.

The Competition and Markets Authority said the £8.6bn European deal for CK Hutchison will only be allowed if it sells off parts of the network in the UK.

The sale would have prevented the emergence of an important competitor for supplying this infrastructure, and could have pushed up prices for mobile networks.

Homebuyers ‘have wider choice of properties coming on the market’

The choice of homes on the market is starting to pick up, particularly for buyers looking for family-sized houses, a property website has reported.

Zoopla said the volume of new listings of homes for sale is now running at five per cent above the five-year average.

New supply is up compared with pre-coronavirus pandemic levels for this time of year in Scotland, the East Midlands, the north-east of England and Yorkshire, and is matching its pre-pandemic levels in the north-west of England and West Midlands, Zoopla said.

Audi Q4 e-tron rear view, via PA

Audi reveals updated Q4 e-tron EV

Audi has announced a range of updates for its electric Q4 e-tron model.

One of the most important changes is faster charging, although this only applies to the larger battery sizes with a 76.6kWh capacity, which now charge at up to 135kW.

This is particularly noticeable on the 40 models, with the optimal five to 80 per cent charge time dropping from 38 to 29 minutes, while 50 models see a reduction from 38 to 36. Inside is a new 11.6-inch infotainment display, and Amazon Alexa is included, too. Full story here

Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You copyright row set for High Court trial

Ed Sheeran’s hit song Shape Of You is at the centre of a High Court copyright row.

Sheeran is involved in a legal battle with two songwriters who claim the 2017 hit rips off parts of their song Oh Why, and a three-week trial is due to start in London today.

Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue allege that Shape Of You infringes ‘particular lines and phrases’ of their composition.

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Market movements

The FTSE closed at 7,238.85 yesterday, down 190.71 points. Meanwhile, the Cac 40 lost 119.65 points, finishing on 6,378.37, the Dax dropped by 301.71 to 13,698.40, and the Dow Jones fell by 96.69 to 33,794.66.

Weather outlook

It’ll be cloudy in the east today, with Scotland and a great deal of England experiencing rain, says BBC Weather. Drier and sunny in the west, with some isolated showers in the south-west, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Saturday will see Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales enjoying the sunshine, while England on the whole will be rainy and cloudy.

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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