Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:
Hargreaves Lansdown warns on Brexit slowdown
Stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.L) has warned that Brexit uncertainty is affecting new business, despite reporting sold growth in new customers.
The company said on Thursday that new business was “impacted by weak investor sentiment arising from continuing Brexit and political uncertainty in the UK and wider global macro issues such as trade tariffs.” Shares fell 1.2% in early trade.
The warning came despite Hargreaves Lansdown reporting net new business of £1.7bn in the three months to September 30, up from £1.3bn in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 6% to £128.1m.
“I’m pleased to report a solid start to our financial year for client, net new business and revenue growth,” Chris Hill, chief executive of Hargreaves Lansdown, said.
“We continue to focus on our strategy of delivering excellent service, information and value during these continued uncertain times for our clients.”
OnTheMarket hit by Brexit
Property listings portal OnTheMarket (OTMP.L) has blamed Brexit for widening half-year losses.
The group said Brexit uncertainty were “undoubtedly” taking their toll as it reported a pre-tax loss of £7.1m for the six months to July 31, against £5.7 million a year earlier.
Revenues rose by 14% to £8 million but OnTheMarket said tough housing market conditions have held back progress in signing up estate agents since the first half ended. The company issued a surprise profit warning last month and separate data from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) on Thursday pointed to a sharp slowdown in the property market.
“The challenging backdrop of relatively weak and highly uncertain market conditions for agents has undoubtedly slowed our progress,” chief executive Ian Springett said.
“However, the ever-improving performance of the portal and the current level of take-up of both our long-term full-tariff contracts and our revised short-term offers provide grounds for optimism.”
N Brown turns a profit
N Brown (BWNG.L), the fashion retailer behind Simply Be, Jacamo and JD Williams, has returned to profit after a push to move sales online.
Pre-tax profits for the six months to August 31 came in at £18.8m, against losses of £27.1m a year ago. Revenues dropped 5.4% to £432.9m, but the group saw combined online sales grow 5% across womenswear and menswear.
Online now accounts for 84% of its business, up from 80% in the previous financial year.
Steve Johnson, chief executive of N Brown, said: “We announced our new strategy in May to return N Brown to sustainable profit growth and we have made good progress over the first half of the year.
“In particular, we have delivered on our strategy of growing digital revenue across Simply Be, JD Williams, Jacamo and Ambrose Wilson. This has been achieved by taking a more targeted approach to marketing and customer recruitment.
“The retail environment remains heavily promotional, but we are concentrating on continuing to improve our customer proposition and ensuring we operate as efficiently as possible.”
European markets were mixed on Thursday.