Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news

8.43am GMT

Motoring and cycling group Halfords says it enjoyed its “best ever Christmas week”.

“We are pleased to have delivered a strong performance under hugely challenging circumstances, including our best ever Christmas week. Despite a large reduction in traffic on the roads, our strategically important Autocentres business saw significant growth, with particularly strong demand for the services of our growing fleet of Halfords Mobile Expert vans.

We are currently carrying out over half a million services and repair jobs on cars and bikes each month, and therefore continue to play an essential role in keeping the UK moving during this pandemic. Throughout the crisis we are privileged to have been able to offer free checks and discounts to 239,000 NHS workers, teachers and Armed Forces staff to help them keep their vehicles safe and roadworthy.

8.34am GMT

The Covid-19 lockdowns have hurt demand for Tesco’s financial products, though.

Total sales at Tesco Bank fell over a quarter over the last 19 weeks, due to weaker demand for banking and money services (such as loans and foreign currency for a holiday abroad).

Tesco Bank has suffered from the pandemic environment, with a sales decline of 27.7% meaning that the previously guided operational loss for the year of between £175 million and £200 million remains intact.

Although unchanged, it will nonetheless punch a hole in the full-year numbers.

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