Consumer, Retail & Leisure Leadership Event with Panmure Gordon

6th March 2024
Simon Walton
Partner & Head of Practice

At the end of last week, Berwick Partners and co-hosts Panmure Gordon were delighted to hold our latest Consumer, Retail & Leisure Leaders event in London.

We were thrilled to be joined by Simon French, Chief Economist and Head of Research at the UK investment bank, Panmure Gordon as our guest speaker. Simon was the top-ranked economist in the 2023 Institutional Investor survey, he writes a regular column for The Times newspaper, and is often a guest host on BBC TV/Radio, CNBC and Bloomberg. Prior to joining Panmure Gordon he was a Senior Civil Servant in the Cabinet Office. He holds degrees in both Economics and Finance from Durham University and is a member of the Government Economic Service and the Society of Professional Economists.

Simon shared his thoughts and insights on the state of UK and global economies. He then took questions on the positive opportunities and challenges to businesses in the current, fast-paced and ever-changing environment; relating his answers to what this means for the Consumer, Retail & Leisure industries and what actions Boards should take both short and long term.

In summary, Simon highlighted that 2023 was a year when many individuals were still living off previously accumulated wealth. However, 2024 would be slightly different. This year would see a continued fall in inflation and a forecast that the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will probably make two interest rate cuts this year, one around August and another in November. The challenges to business will be a significant rise in the National Living Wage, State Pension and Universal Credit. Changes that will also affect government fiscal policy and the overall costs to the UK in general.

On Wednesday 6 March, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will deliver his 2024 Budget and with a pending general election, Simon anticipated some creative economics from the Chancellor.

Simon also remind the audience that the UK accounts for 3% of global GDP and does not exist and operate in a vacuum. Slowly, many parts of the global economy are recovering, such as the US. Although other large economies do still have their challenges, China for instance remains in a property crisis and Germany and Russia show no signs of positive growth and recovery. Presenting us with a two-speed world and global economy and overall outlook.

Nevertheless, both Simon and the attending audience were cautiously optimistic regarding the outlook for the UK in 2024 and beyond. Yes, there will undoubtedly be challenges, but slowly the UK is heading in the right direction, and although growth will be modest this year, we will see growth. Also, along with falling inflation, we could expect a cut in interest rates and a rise in cautious investment and consumer income.

Simon’s speech and subsequent Q&A and discussion were certainly thought provoking, insightful and engaging. We are already looking forward to the next of these events.

If you interested in attending future events hosted by our Consumer Retail & Leisure Practice, please contact Simon Walton.

Categories: Consumer