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Energy boss does not expect gas and electricity prices to return to pre-Ukrainian invasion levels – business live

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Key events

The FTSE 100 rose slightly this morning by 0.2% – or around 15 points.

It’s a good start to the year for the London benchmark. It has gained 5.5% in 2023 so far.

At 7,858 points on Monday morning, it is within touching distance of its intraday high. This was 7,903 points established in May 2018, before closing at 7,844.07.

It’s not all a happy message: the FTSE 100 benefited from a weaker pound. But the index was helped by slowing inflation, which could mean central banks don’t need to raise interest rates as quickly.

Marks & Spencer will open 20 new stores

Marks & Spencer will open a full new store in the Bullring shopping center in Birmingham.
Marks & Spencer will open a full new store in the Bullring shopping center in Birmingham. Photograph: David Jones/PA

Marks & Spencer said its plan to open 20 new stores across the UK will create 3,400 jobs.

The food and clothing retailer is one of the UK’s best-known names, despite being only a member of the FTSE 250 Index of mid-sized companies. It wants to open eight full-range stores in shopping centers such as the Bullring in Birmingham and the Trafford Center in Manchester, as well as in retail parks and high streets in key cities.

It will also open 12 new food halls, including in Stockport, Barnsley and the seaside town of Largs in North Ayrshire, Scotland.

The new openings will take investment in new stores to £480 million, M&S said, according to the Press Association.

The company is reducing the number of its full-line stores from 67 to 180 over the next five years. However, it also plans to target larger urban areas for its larger stores as part of a strategy that combines online sales with the integrated marketing boost that results from having stores in high-traffic locations.

M&S Managing Director Stuart Machin said:

Stores are at the heart of M&S’ omnichannel future and a competitive advantage for how customers want to shop today.

Our store rotation program is about ensuring we have the right stores, in the right location, with the right space and we aim to grow from the 247 stores we have today to 180 premium full line stores and with higher productivity. who sell our full offering of clothing, home and food while opening more than 100 bigger and better food sites.

The outperformance of our recently relocated and renewed stores gives us the confidence to move faster with our plan.

Household energy bills will remain above pre-Ukrainian invasion levels – oil boss

Hello and welcome to our ongoing, live coverage of business, the economy and the financial markets.

According to the boss of Equinor, one of the world’s largest energy companies, energy prices for households could remain above levels seen before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as countries pay the green transition costs.

Anders Opedalthe general manager of Equinor, said that there will be “more and more normal prices in a few years”.

Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine in early 2022 shook global energy markets, leading to a spike in wholesale energy prices. These higher prices were quickly passed on to consumers around the world, causing inflation to accelerate and reducing the amount available for household spending. However, analysts hope that prices will fall back.

Yet Europe is going through a “rewiring” of its energy system, with a need for massively increased investment in renewable energy, Opedal said in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Monday. The oil and gas company The Norwegian state is a major player in extracting polluting fossil fuels from the North Sea, but it has also invested a relatively small amount in renewable energy.

oppedal said:

We have to do industry in a totally different way, maybe using hydrogen, etc. This will require a lot of investment and those investments need to be paid for, so I suspect energy bills may be slightly higher than in the past, but not as volatile and high as they are today.

We have to treat energy as something that is not abundant. It’s actually a very valuable thing, and we’ve had a lot of cheap energy in the past. We probably wasted some of it.

It’s been a pretty quiet day on the economic data front, but we’ll tell you more about that shortly. Marks & Spencerplans to hire 3,400 more workers and a controversial subprime lender Amigo Holdings‘ is struggling to raise new investments.

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