BUSINESS LIVE: Retail sales bounce back; NatWest profits soar to £4bn

BUSINESS LIVE: Retail sales bounce back; NatWest profits soar to £4bn; MPs up pressure on Arm listing

British retail sales grew faster than expected in January, recovering about half the losses suffered when a wave of coronavirus cases caused many shoppers to stay at home during December.

Retail sales volumes rose by 1.9 per cent in January after a 4 per cent decline in December, the largest rise since lockdown rules for non-essential stores in England were relaxed last April.

NatWest reported a leap in annual profit on Friday on the back of the country’s economic recovery, but said rising prices would make it harder to cut overheads, lowering its cost-cutting target.

The bank reported statutory pre-tax profits of £4billion for the 2021 calendar year, in line with an average of analyst estimates compiled by the bank and up from £351million in the previous year.

The Daily Mail has launched a campaign to Back British Tech and for Arm to return to the London stock market, following the group’s billionaire owner plans to float the company in New York in a blockbuster listing.

But demands are mounting for the chip designer – one of the most successful ever tech companies to be founded in the UK – to have its shares listed in the City.

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NatWest announced it would pay a 7.5p per share dividend and an on-market share buyback of £750million