Friday 11 June 2021 8:02 am

Morning Digest: What's shaping today's business agenda

Here’s City A.M.’s look at what the business world is talking about this morning.

The bounceback begins:Britain’s economy grew by 2.3 per cent in April as the country took the first tentative steps back to normality. Services unsurprisingly saw the biggest boost and the top-line number would have been higher had it not been for some pre-planned slowdowns in mining, in particular. 

But despite that good news: Pubs, bars and restaurants are still trading at levels of around three-quarters of pre-pandemic levels, despite the re-opening of indoor hospitality. Described as a “solid not spectacular” start, pubs in particular are in desperate need of a decent England run in the Euros.

Non: French President Emmanuel Macron last night said the Northern Ireland protocol is not negotiable. He told reporters in Paris that it is not “serious” to want to look again at something agreed in December. Brexit news is back, ladies and gents. 

Deal done: But there was better news on the fishing side of things, with the UK’s 2021 catch limit agreement signed with Brussels yesterday – and it’ll see an increase of 26,000 tonnes compared to 2020.

Sour taste: BrewDog is dealing with the fallout from an open letter to boss class from sixty former employees published yesterday, which alleges they oversaw a culture of fear and were driven by a desire for vanity PR stunts. It’s a damning note and PR experts we spoke to suggested riding out the storm won’t be easy.

Boris Johnson Visits Falmouth Before G7 Summit Begins On Friday
Boris Johnson in Falmouth yesterday ahead of the G7 (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Not just special: Boris Johnson wants to call the UK-US partnership the “indestructible relationship” after his first meeting with Joe Biden. The two countries signed a refreshed Atlantic Charter yesterday which includes a commitment to speed up travel reopening.

Tech: That charter also includes provisions designed to deepen ties in science and tech innovation, as the West looks to stave off growing competition from China. Battery tech and AI are on the list.

Indestructible, but will it survive this? The world’s most powerful leaders will on Saturday night be treated to a beach barbecue and entertainment in the form of sea shanties, which I’d suggest will push diplomatic niceties to the limits. My money’s on Trudeau being the first to join in.

On the block?

Oxford Street sales: The Weston family has lined up advisers at Credit Suisse to flog Selfridges, according to reports. Bids are expected to top £4bn.

Back on the bench: Thousands of BA staff are being put back onto the furlough scheme as the wait for a meaningful return of international travel continues. Fortress Britain shows little sign of being reopened any time soon. 

Naked ambition: Online wine retailer Naked has been one of the pandemic winners, reporting a surge in both customers and sales off the back of a strong performance in the US. Annual sales were just shy of £350m.