In the latest edition of our weekly finance and investment roundup, we look at news of flat quarterly revenue for Royal Mail, plans for changes to UK banknotes, British summer spending trends and the latest news from Greece.
Royal Mail reports flat revenues as letter volumes decline
Royal Mail has posted flat quarterly revenue, with a drop in letter volumes cited as a main reason for the lack of growth. The postal company revealed in its latest trading update that UK letter volumes decreased by 5% in the three months to June 28th, with letter revenue falling by 4%.
However, the firm did report a UK parcel volume increase of 3% in this time, resulting in a 2% rise in parcel revenue. In Europe, a 9% climb in parcel volume and 8% jump in parcel revenue was recorded. Shares in Royal Mail remained flat at 511 pence in early trading on Tuesday, but stand 9% up on a year earlier.
Moya Greene, Chief Executive of the 500-year-old company, said: "Our trading environment remains challenging and we are stepping up the pace of change to drive efficiency, growth and innovation, while maintaining a tight focus on costs."
All UK nations to appear on future banknotes
Future banknotes will include images from all four UK nations, it has been announced. The Bank of England (BoE), which has been holding talks with the First Ministers of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on the matter, said it has repeatedly been told about how banknotes should serve as symbol for the UK as a whole.
As a result, imagery taken from the Royal Coat of Arms and the Royal Badge of Wales will be used, and will be first seen on the new £5 note, which is to be introduced next year. It will also be the first plastic banknote and is to feature Sir Winston Churchill.
The BoE is also currently reviewing nominations for who should appear on the next £20 note, which will go into circulation in 2020. It is encouraging the public to vote from a selection of 592 visual artists, including the likes of fashion designer Alexander McQueen and author Beatrix Potter.
New figures reveal British summer spending trends
UK consumer spending in the summer is reflecting the public's desire to celebrate and make the most of the good weather, new figures have suggested. Published by the Office for National Statistics, the research revealed significant sales increases for UK-made sparkling wine, camping equipment and bicycles.
It was shown that in the four years from 2010 to 2014, domestic sparkling wine sales more than doubled from £2.9 million to £6m, while sales of craft beer and fruit cider have also rocketed. Sales of fresh cuts of meat - a barbecue necessity - were also shown to have jumped by 51% between 2008 and 2014.
The figures also revealed significant rises for camping equipment, caravans and sleeping bags, with many people eager to explore the great outdoors.
Greece submits legislation to start rescue package discussion
Talks over a multi-billion rescue package for Greece look set to begin shortly after the beleaguered nation's government submitted to parliament the necessary legislation to enable discussions to start. The submission was required by Greece's international lenders, and the government must now ensure these measures are put into place in the assembly by tonight (July 22nd).
Among the requirements of this bill are that new European Union rules regarding assistance of failed banks - introduced to prevent taxpayers from bearing the brunt of bailing out banks - be written into Greek law.