U.K. government paints nightmare scenario of food, fuel shortages under no-deal Brexit

John Lewis warns of no-deal Brexit impact

John Lewis has warned that a no-deal Brexit would have a significant impact on its business as it slumped to its first-ever half-year loss.

The group, which owns Waitrose as well as the John Lewis department stores, dived £25.9m into the red in the six months to 27 July after making an underlying pretax profit of £0.8m in the same period a year before.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the staff-owned retailer, said the loss reflected lower sales in some categories, including homewares, cost inflation and IT costs.

He said he expected retail conditions to “remain challenging” and warned: “Should the UK leave the EU without a deal, we expect the effect to be significant and it will not be possible to mitigate that impact.”

He said the group had tried to bolster its financial resilience by reducing debt, hoarding cash and increasing foreign currency hedging as well as stockpiling some goods.

But Mayfield said: “Brexit continues to weigh on consumer sentiment at a crucial time for the sector as we enter the peak trading period.”

Profits at Waitrose rose by £14.1m to £110.1m, partly boosted by one-off profits from the sale of properties, but the John Lewis department stores slid to an underlying loss of £61.8m, more than triple the £19.3m loss made in the same period a year before. Both chains recorded a fall in sales, with Waitrose down 0.8% and John Lewis down 1.8%.

More details to follow …

Wm Morrison H1 Pretax Profit Rises; Announces Special Dividend – Quick Facts

Morrison(Wm.)Supermarkets plc (MRW.L) reported first-half statutory profit before tax of 202 million pounds compared to 136 million pounds, previous year. Earnings per share was 6.47 pence compared to 3.73 pence. Profit before tax and exceptionals increased to 198 million pounds from 188 million pounds. EPS before exceptionals was 6.29 pence compared to 6.01 pence, a year ago.

First-half total revenue was up 0.4% to 8.83 billion pounds from 8.80 billion pounds, last year. Total revenue growth was 0.3% (excluding fuel). Group like-for-like sales-ex-fuel/ex-VAT were up 0.2%, for the period.

The proposed interim ordinary dividend is up 4.3% to 1.93 pence. The Group also proposed a special dividend of 2.00 pence per share, which will take the total interim dividend up 2.1% to 3.93 pence.

Samantha Bee Rips Rudy Giuliani’s ‘Fascist Fever Dream’ Tribute On 9/11

Samantha Bee ended Wednesday’s broadcast of “Full Frontal” with a swipe at Rudy Giuliani and the way in which President Donald Trump’s attorney marked the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Giuliani, who was the mayor of New York on 9/11, posted (among a series of tweets) part of a commercial for clothing company Grunt Style which showed a riot police officer about to beat up protestors. “GOD BLESS AMERICA!” Giuliani captioned the clip.

Bee described the video, above, as a “fascist fever dream.”

“What the hell is that authoritarian porn video? Kendall Jenner, get in there and hand that guy a soda,” she joked. “Look, I know Giuliani is known as ‘America’s Mayor,’ but does anyone else want him?”

Check out the video here:


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Wm. Morrison profit jumps 49%, expands Amazon partnership

Wm. Morrison Supermarkets PLC (MRW.LN) said Thursday that pretax profit rose 49% in the first half of fiscal 2020 and announced an extension of its relationship with Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) .

For the 26 weeks ended Aug. 4, the British grocer MRW, +3.45% made a pretax profit of 202 million pounds ($249.3 million) compared with GBP136 million during the same period in fiscal 2019.

Revenue for the period rose 0.4% to GBP8.83 billion. On a like-for-like basis, group sales, excluding fuel and VAT, rose 0.2% in the period.

The board has declared an interim dividend of 1.93 pence a share, which compares with last year’s 1.85 pence. Additionally, the company said it would issue a special dividend of 2.0 pence a share, taking the total half-year payout to 3.93 pence.

Wm. Morrison, the fourth largest grocer by market share, said it has extended the agreement to expand its Amazon AMZN, +0.13% Prime Now to more cities across the U.K.

The grocer said that in the second half, it is planning for retail like-for-like sales to improve, and for various cost savings opportunities.

The company said it remains on track for its medium-term target of GBP75 million to GBP125 million incremental profit from wholesale, services, interest and its online segment.

U.K. government paints nightmare scenario of food, fuel shortages under no-deal Brexit

LONDON—The British government described potential shortages of fuel and medicines, long traffic jams at ports and rising food prices in a report outlining its “reasonable worst-case scenario” if the U.K. left the European Union without a deal to smooth its exit.

The report, which the government was compelled to publish on Wednesday after opposition lawmakers voted for its release in Parliament, paints a bleak picture of fuel shortages in London and worries over access to medicines caught up in a traffic snarl at ports in France as customs and other checks are implemented for the first time in more than four decades.

“Protests and counter protests will take place across the U.K. and may absorb significant police resource,” the document said.

In a letter to opposition lawmakers, Michael Gove, the government minister who oversees the no-deal planning, said the document wasn’t a prediction of what would happen but rather provided a “deliberately stretching context for government planning to ensure that we are prepared.”

An expanded version of this report can be found at WSJ.com

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