Retail sales fall as UK hospitality reopening hits food spending – business live

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Tesco has warned that sales are likely to fall in the UK – including online – as customers return to more normal behaviour by eating out and attending the office, my colleague Sarah Butler reports.

The supermarket reported a 0.5% rise in sales in established UK stores in the 13 weeks to 29 May, down from an 8.8% rise in the previous quarter.

Underlying sales across the group, which also operates stores in Europe as well as the Booker grocery wholesaler, rose 1% to £13.4bn.

Tesco’s finance director, Imran Nawaz, said the company anticipated sales would fall by a “few per cent” in the year ahead as restrictions on dining out and travelling were removed.

Ken Murphy, the chief executive, said Tesco had enjoyed a “really strong first quarter” but admitted it was “definitely going to be challenging to stay in positive territory” on sales in the UK.

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British food and drink exports to the EU fell by £2bn in the first three months of 2021, with sales of dairy products plummeting by 90%, according to an analysis of HMRC data.

Brexit checks, stockpiling and Covid have been blamed for much of the downturn, but the sector has said the figures show structural rather than teething problems with the UK’s departure from the EU.

Dominic Goudie, the head of international trade at the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) says:

“The loss of £2bn of exports to the EU is a disaster for our industry, and is a very clear indication of the scale of losses that UK manufacturers face in the longer-term due to new trade barriers with the EU.”

He called on the government to “stop prevaricating” over proposals to help exporters “shut out of trading with the EU”.

ByteDance, the Chinese parent of TikTok, more than doubled its revenues last year as usage of the hugely popular video app boomed.

The company, which last year weathered pressure from Donald Trump to sell its US operation as part of a trade war with China, reported a 111% increase in revenues to $34.3bn (£24.7bn).

ByteDance also reported a 93% increase in gross profit to $19bn, according to an internal memo released to staff.

There has been stratospheric growth in user numbers for ByteDance since TikTok launched worldwide only four years ago, hitting 1.9 billion active monthly users at the end of last year. This includes the Chinese version of TikTok, called Douyin, and products such as the news aggregation app Toutiao.

TikTok has proved to be a social media juggernaut, drawing hundreds of millions of users, most of whom are in the advertiser hotspot of 12 to 24 years old, to short videos from creators including the singer Doja Cat, the social media personality Charli D’Amelio and the illusionist Zach King.

Overall, ByteDance reported a net loss of $45bn last year. The company attributed this to a one-off accounting adjustment, and not operational performance. The operating loss was $2.1bn, compared with $684m in profit in 2019, and was mainly down to the cost of share-based compensation for shareholders…

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