Helen Nugent

Black Friday/Cyber Monday, pensions, rail fares and PPI

Don’t believe the hype. Despite forecasts of record sales for this year’s shopping frenzy, Black Friday appears to have been a bit of damp squib, with online sales growth falling significantly short of predictions. The Times reports that purchasing online was up by only 6.7 per cent against the same day the previous year, compared with forecasts of a 25 per cent leap. This is according to PCA Predict, which tracks online transactions for retailers. Balancing the slowdown in online sales growth was a 2 per cent annual rise in shoppers across high streets, retail parks and shopping centres in the UK, figures from Springboard suggested. However, The Telegraph reports that ‘British shoppers are expected to increase spending by a fifth to £1.9 billion today’, the so-called ‘Cyber Monday’. The paper also says that ‘over the entire weekend, UK consumers are expected to spend £5.76 billion, an increase of 15 per cent on last year’. Pensions The Guardian reports that the Government could be making steps to increase the official state pension age to 70 for millions of people currently in their 20s. Steve Webb, a former minister, said documents produced by the Department for Work and Pensions suggested a ‘more aggressive’ timetable on state pension age increases than previously planned was being prepared. Rail fares Thousands of ticket machines may have to be redesigned as ministers move to stop commuters being ripped off by hugely complex pricing systems, according to The Times. It is likely that rail companies will be forced to highlight the lowest price for any journey. The move, which will be outlined next month by the Department for Transport, will cover tickets sold by office staff as well as those from self-service machines. Energy firm

An energy firm with 160,000 customers has stopped trading. In a statement, GB Energy Supply blamed recent increases in energy prices, saying that, as a small supplier, business had ‘become untenable’, but assured people their supply would not be affected.

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