Deliveroo saw orders bounce to the top of its forecasts as it received a demand boost from the UK’s Plan B lockdown restrictions.
The food delivery firm’s shares rose 1.4 per cent, or 2.4p, to 172p after it flagged a 42 per cent rise in orders to 80.8m in the fourth quarter of 2021. The value of the transactions also jumped 36 per cent year-on-year to £1.7billion.
For the year as a whole, orders surged 73 per cent to 300.6m, while their value climbed 70 per cent to £6.6billion.
Deliveroo’s shares rose 1.4%, or 2.4p, to 172p after it flagged a 42% rise in orders to 80.8m in the fourth quarter of 2021
Demand for food delivery boomed during the pandemic as the closure of pubs and restaurants left customers relying on takeaways.
Deliveroo also managed to grow its UK market share in the fourth quarter as it battled against rivals Uber Eats and Just Eat (up 3.4 per cent, or 132.5p, at 4052p).
But the average value of each order fell 5 per cent to £21.40 in the final three months of the year, marking a return to pre-pandemic levels.
As a result of the order surge, Deliveroo hit the very top of its guidance for 2021, which had predicted an increase in transaction values of between 60 per cent and 70 per cent.
Stock Watch – Emis
Emis, a provider of computer software for hospitals and GP surgeries, climbed as its performance for 2021 came in slightly ahead of expectations.
The group is also supporting the NHS Covid-19 vaccine programme through its Pinnacle software, which helps doctors monitor patient data and referrals.
As a result, the firm’s results are expected to be higher than the £164.8million in revenues and £41.1million profit predicted by analysts. EMIS shares rose 5.23 per cent, or 66p, to 1330p.
The firm also noted growth in its newer on-demand grocery arm, which allows customers to order supermarket items for delivery through its mobile phone app.
Grocery orders made up 8 per cent of the firm’s total transactions in the second half of 2021, up from 6 per cent in the same period a year ago.
Despite the solid numbers, IG Group’s chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp noted that many in the market would worry whether the pace of growth would continue following the end of pandemic restrictions.
He added that the ‘growing squeeze’ on the cost of living in the UK may mean consumers ‘aren’t quite so keen on making too many orders through the app’.
The FTSE 100 inched down 0.06 per cent, or 4.65 points, to 7585.01 while the FTSE 250 went the other way, up 0.3 per cent, or 59.96 points, to 22714.98. Traders in London were unnerved by the steep losses suffered on Wall Street on Wednesday, which saw the Nasdaq index slip into correction territory after slumping 1.15 per cent.
The phase-out of the UK’s Plan B lockdown restrictions helped lift the mid-cap index, which is dominated by domestically-focused British firms.
Companies with heavy exposure to China got a boost after the country’s central bank cut mortgage rates in a bid to shore up its struggling property sector.
The loosening of monetary policy helped shares in miner BHP gain 1.2 per cent, or 29p, to 2502.5p while luxury goods firm Burberry, which relies heavily on Chinese shoppers for revenues, rose 2.4 per cent, or 44p, to 1910.5p.
It also lifted Asia-focused insurer Prudential, which was up 2.6 per cent, or 33.5p, at 1320p.
Oil stocks weighed on the blue-chip index as crude prices slipped from seven-year highs reached earlier this week. Shell was down 1.7 per cent, or 32.2p, to 1839.2p while BP dropped 1.3 per cent, or 4.95p, to 389.5p.
Telecoms giant BT was also on the slide, dipping 0.2 per cent, or 0.4p to 189.5p after unveiling plans to hike prices by 9.3 per cent from the end of March as inflation pushes up costs.
On average, it means the firm’s BT, EE and Plusnet customers will see their bills rise by £42 per year or £3.50 per month.
Yesterday Nick Lane, BT’s managing director for consumer customer services, blogged: ‘Price rises are never popular, but are sometimes a necessary part of business, if we’re to keep up with the rising costs we face.’
Customers’ data usage had ‘increased dramatically’ with a 90pc increase on broadband usage since 2018, and a 79 per cent increase on mobile phones since 2019.
Working from home, online education and streaming has led to more demands on BT’s network, he added.
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