19 August, 2022 in Industry News

NI Business News Round-Up - Week ending 19th August

Our team has summarised the key developments for NI businesses in the news this week.

The Economy

The UK’s rate of inflation has surged to 10.1%, heaping more pressure on households struggling with the cost of living crisis. (Source - Belfast Telegraph)

Average Northern Ireland home £30,000 more expensive since start of lockdown - The latest official Northern Ireland House Price Index put the average house price at £169,063 for the April to June period, the highest for 14 years and 5.3 times the annual gross full time salary. (Source - The Irish News)

Spending on credit cards up a third amid cost-of-living crunch - UK credit card holders spent just under £20 billion in May, a 33 per cent jump in the total spend compared to the same month last year, according to official figures from trade body UK Finance. Debt was also on the up, with outstanding balances on credit card accounts growing nearly 10 per cent in the year to May. (Source - The Irish News)

More than 3,000 Northern Ireland small firms who took out Bounce Back Loans during the pandemic to keep their business afloat are now in arrears - Following a Freedom of Information request from Business Telegraph, the British Business Bank said that out nearly 42,000 borrowers in NI, 3,177 were in arrears and owed £5.72m on August 11.  (Source - The Belfast Telegraph)

The average increase in wages in the north is falling well below the rate of inflation, new official data shows - The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) estimated wages have increased by 4.7 per cent over the past year, equivalent to an extra £89 a month. While the median monthly wage has exceeded pre-pandemic levels, the annual increase is less than half the rate of inflation. (Source - The Irish News)

Cross-border trade continues to soar in both directions, new figures show - According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), imports from Northern Ireland for January to June 2022 increased by 413 million euro to 2.3 billion euro when compared with the same time period of 2021. Meanwhile, exports to Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland from January to June 2022 increased by 662 million euro to 2.4 billion euro when compared with the same time period in 2021. (Source - The Irish News)

NI unemployment benefit count up for first time in 18 months, new labour market figures show. (Source - Belfast Telegraph)

The rapid decline in the use of cash during the pandemic has eased as consumers return to their preferred method of paying for things, a report suggests. (Source - BBC News)



New owners of Arnotts and Brown Thomas complete takeover deal - Irish department stores Brown Thomas and Arnotts officially have new owners after the takeover of the Selfridges Group was completed by the Thai based Central Group and Swiss headquartered SIGNA Holding on Thursday. (Source - The Irish News)

Ted Baker has agreed to a takeover by the US company that owns Reebok, Juicy Couture and the image rights to Elvis Presley - Authentic Brands Group has offered to buy Ted Baker for £211m, ending months of speculation over the firm's fate. (Source- BBC News)

Northern Ireland firm Martin Property Group buys six UK shopping centres - Martin Property Group, which has offices in Derry, Belfast, Dublin and Manchester, is acquiring several major centres across the UK, along with a student accommodation portfolio. The firm has acquired the significant commercial assets from Dutch pension fund Stichting Mars Pensioenfonds (SMP).  The entire deal includes around 1.2 million sq ft of retail space. (Source - Ulster Business)


Business News

A government grant scheme offering up to £75,000 per company for those seeking to make the switch to electric vehicles (EVs) is a “game changer” for local businesses, Belfast-based EV infrastructure company Weev has said. (Source - The News Letter)

Royal Mail workers have voted massively in favour of strikes in a dispute over pay and conditions, increasing the threat of disruption to postal deliveries.  (Source - The Irish News)

SDC Trailers has reported an improved financial picture for the business after shedding around 150 jobs in 2020 - The Toomebridge-based company, which was acquired by CIMC Vehicles of China in 2016, is the largest manufacturer of semi-trailers in Britain and Ireland. (Source - The Irish News)

Ormeau residents' victory as Belfast City Council rejects 1am license for new hotel. (Source - The Irish News)

The owner of Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyard has said the company is unlikely to break even this year.     (Source - The Irish News)

ONE of the world's biggest packaging companies can now start work on a new £150 million factory at Invest NI’s Global Point Business Park in Newtownabbey after securing full planning permission on Monday night.     (Source - The Irish News)


Workplace & Employment

Seating Matters founder, Martina Tierney, has been named the first ever winner of the Catalyst Impact Award. (Source - The Irish News)

PwC’s move to drop 2:1 degree requirement ‘could entice NI students in GB to return home (Source - The Belfast Telegraph)



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