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Last Chance To Read Market Comment

This is the last chance to read  Market Comment.

Market Comment is Court Guinness’ clarksonistic take on what is happening in the market place. In this issue he manages to make jibes about eye tests,  Le Creuset pots and pans, people carriers and the Barclaycard fraud department while commenting on dealmaking. Please do read on below.


 

Market Comment December 2020

Court Guinness takes his regular  opinionated, “clarksonistic” and sometimes irreverent view of what he sees in the market place.

In this issue he looks back at 2020 and tries to look forward to 2021.

Since I last wrote to you all, COVID-19 has still dominated our lives and shows no sign of stopping soon. The economy in general is languishing in a U-bend and a certain blonde haired buffoon in Westminster and his little friends make mistake after mistake that have most of us yearning for extra anti-depressants. Who would have known that having an eye test at Barnard Castle would be a nice bourgeois Islington fashion statement, there hasn’t been one of them since the Blair family tried badly to make people carriers and Le Creuset pans vaguely trendy in the late 1990’s!

Talking of depression let us continue the never ending retail discussion now. The dereliction and the abandonment of the great British high street continues unabated. There are people out there visiting stores and there are signs that people are showing support to retailers where they can. However, this is just not enough. The damage has already been done. The Trade House Magazine already has a number of advertisers looking for freehold retail sites to redevelop.

Offices are coming on to the market thick and fast now and many are pre consented for residential conversion too. It seems like it is an uncanny vendor that is leaving it to the purchaser to gain planning consent! This seems to be helping to keeping values buoyant rather than strong!

We are still in a very uncertain place as regards taxation for the next 2-3 years. The Westminster dunce machine have started to leak their hand slowly and it seems that CGT will be their main target. In this office we cannot really comment but we are not so sure and think VAT, corporation tax and personal tax are more likely targets.

A political analyst that knows this office well has suggested that there will be a general election before Christmas 2021 and that electorate will not be returning a conservative government to Westminster. His hunch is for a Lab-Lib coalition with Prime Minister Starmer at the helm. One thing is clear Bozza the Wozza and his chums and are running low on fuel. They ran out of ability a long time ago and the only thing they can do is try and stem things until a more competent government can be formed.

As we speed towards Crimbo one has to ask the question “what is in it for us?” All the signs are spending will be down and any business relying on a good Christmas is likely to be seriously disappointed. At this time of year I should be out every night with clients enjoying festive drinkies and every morning my secretary should be delivering news that some slut she used to work with had sex on the office photocopier after an office party. Not this year! Nil, Nada, Nothing, Zilch! Barclaycard phoned me up yesterday to ask about abnormal spending on my card – there hasn’t been any spending on that card!

One thing that has become very prevalent is the rise of the chancer. I have heard stories of the sudden drop tactic resurging – This being demanding a massive drop in price at the 11th hour prior to completion and another tactic of requiring expensive lease extensions and other costly works prior to exchange as a condition of offer. Some of these are in poor taste and we are seeing the bedding-in of a particular type of Muppet into the market. The fool who will buy anything he can for peanuts and try in hope to turn it around usually alienating a good few people in the process. This behavior has been on the rise exponentially since March 2020. A low deal has always been a thing and sometimes are excellent reasons for this. There is no excuse for treating the marketplace like dirt though.

There  were some peculiar happenings in the property sector with a large amount of properties at auction achieving unbelievable percentage rates above guide prices and this seems to have settled, though we are seeing a rise in  auctioneers advertising stupidly low guide prices. Provincial residential property was behaving in a funny way as we were seeing some portfolio’s and more interesting residential property seeing funny gains that would not be expected during a pandemic. This has largely stopped now. A dead cat bounce if ever there was one.

Apart from the odd glimmer of light dealmaking is in the doldrums and I can only see this holding. 2020 is completely written off now in a similar way to an anti-vaxxer rejecting scientific reason over anything else.  Business recovery in early 2021 is about as likely as Doncaster Rovers winning the English Premier League. Looking into the future I fear we will have to write off 2021 too in much the same way as Carillion debtors have had to write off sums owing!

The indie and freelance sector is seeing its own doldrums’ with a number of self employed  IT  and engineering contractors wondering what to do next with a combination of new tax laws and a lack of new work.  Other freelancers are finding times hard and the office has seen some interesting side hustles come through the door. We are impressed by the sheer inventiveness and in some cases blind hope of others!

We note that several umbrella companies are reported in various places to be in difficulty, I have a hard time finding any love for these organisations but the sector appears to be in deep trouble. In the 20 years I have known of umbrella companies they have been nothing but trouble. I suspect that the white collar contracting marketplace will be a shadow of its former self come 2022.

There are rumours abound that more banks will seek to shrink their commercial loans books in 2021 and we have heard some rumours that we maybe heading back to the heady days of the GRG style operations of Royal Bank of Scotland fame. Every bank has or had such an operation and these seem to be coming back into vogue! God help us!

We have noticed a trend for an incident to surround the production of Market Comment and apart from me oversleeping yesterday this issue is the exception to the recent rule!

I wish I could say that it has been a pleasure to share 2020 with you all but 2020 for itself has been anything but a pleasure and more of a pile of steaming poo! In spite of all the signs pointing to things being rather poor  I want to wish you all a good Christmas and wish you and your families the very best for a prosperous 2021.

Happy dealmaking!

Regards

Court

 



Market Comment October 2020

I am delighted to publish Market Comment for October 2020.

Market Comment is a bit of an opionated. some irreverent and “clarksonistic” viw of the current market place.

An interactive version is below.


If you have any queries about Market Comment, please use the form below to contact me.

    Market Comment July 2020

    Court Guinness resurrects an old column he used to write in which he takes an opinionated and sometimes irreverent view of what he sees in the market place.

    In this issue he looks back at the past few months and tries to looks forward to the rest of the year.

    Since the last Market Comment Zoom and Teams have taken over from early morning motorway dashes and it is clear that people are getting very inventive in their use of these tools to keep business and dealmaking going. I do miss early morning motorway runs though. Lockdown is easing and we are all slowly rising from the abyss. The pub trade I am sure will enjoy a wondrous return in terms of their tills this coming weekend but in some cases this will not be enough to balance the books. I am certainly looking forward to a proper pint of Abbott!

    I have taken in a further £2.5 million since the deadline passed and these will on the website shortly. The September issue looks like it will be very full indeed!

    The recent news from the retail sector is very chilling 12,000 jobs have been lost in the sector this week alone. I keep harping on about this but I wish the whole sector would wake up and smell the coffee! This applies to the likes of INTU and Hammerson too! We are still waiting to hear more about INTU’s fate. Let us be clear the physical retail sector is most definitely in intensive care and is headed for the mortuary.

    The big thing to watch out for will the government’s Autumn Statement. The view here is that the tax bands will be contracted. It is thought that the 0% band will reduce to £10,000 and the 40% band will reduce to 45,000 amongst other things. Be clear the government cannot afford its spending on COVID-19 initiatives and will need to bring more money in to pay for it. I have heard rumours from political analysts that a huge VAT rise might also be on the cards.

    What these changes might mean yet nobody knows. The government have treated the self-employed and small business owners in a fairly shabby fashion whereas full time PAYE staff can be furloughed. Quite a few businesses in this issue have had their prices reduced. There has been a lot of advertising in this issue and a large number who have missed the deadline.  I think values will reduce further but it is too early to say.

    Property values will slide and it depends who you listen to as to what answer you get. This office has heard anything from 4-40% drop. One nutter has predicted a 10% rise! It is also important that EU negotiations are not complete so one knows the state of import and export yet and the effect it could have on the types of businesses that are advertised in here.

    One thing that has become very prevalent is the rise of the chancer. I have heard stories of the sudden drop tactic resurging – This being demanding a massive drop in price at the 11th hour prior to completion and another tactic of requiring expensive lease extensions and other costly works prior to exchange as a condition of offer. Only 2 days ago I had to rush to the aid of an old and good friend who nearly had to kiss goodbye to nearly £50k because of this second tactic.

    There have been some peculiar happenings in the property sector with a large amount of properties at auction achieving unbelievable percentage rates above guide prices.

    In the darkness there has been a little glimmer of light for the freelance and independent sector. A light from a pen torch as opposed to the big xenon headlamps the sector really needs. IR35 in the private sector has been delayed for 12 months. The sector is in a bad way. Many independent contractors are “benched” at moment and there is very little new work out there. In addition to this we have heard a rumour that one of the largest umbrella company/payroll services providers is likely to have to call in either additional support or the administrators. This should be a wakeup call to all freelancers and independent contractors:  You have until next April to sort your s*** out unless you want to be hit by IR35 and there is no use complaining ad no excuses now! There are plenty of other opportunities available out there! There does not seem to be an appetite to change ways and some parts of the sector are dangerously burying heads in the sand. I have said for years that this change will mean the end of some parts of the recruitment sector and I can foresee a number of recruitment agencies on the market in the next 12 months.

    Let us now move on to the concept of the side hustle. This is now a serious thing, so much so that I have decided that side hustlers should have their own dedicated section in this magazine.  This will grow in future issues. On a serious the concept of the side hustle is one to be commended and one that is showcasing the creativity and ability of side hustle owners and operators and this is to be commended. I often bang the drum on small business marketing and how poor some of it is but I do have to credit some of the side hustles I have seen for the effort they have put I to marketing. I do honestly believe that this sector will start to change the rest of the small business sector in terms of marketing. There has been lots of lovely new stuff coming through in lockdown on the side hustle front. I am quite impressed with some of these and they do show real flair.

    A number of other issues have reached the office recently. Firstly, is the state of the British expatriate business market in Spain, we are starting to see a number of businesses being advertised for sale or closed and values and advertised asking prices are contracting sharply. This is the second period on the bounce where this has happened.

    Concerns have been raised about the state of the personal and domestic care market especially in the area of financial management and delayed receivables. Budget holders are apparently holding onto payments, be warned! Some domestic care providers might be forced to close.

    We have also heard that a bank favoured by the business and property communities are tightening their lending criteria and planning to shrink their loan book.  We have also heard a rumour that a major pub operator is planning to shrink their estate by 30% imminently.

    The more unusual enquiries keep coming in and I am proud to be advertising two Embraer jets in this issue. We also get a number of crank calls. In the past I have been asked to advertise the England football team, Heathrow Airport and an investment company owned by a conservative MP! However, the prize must go to the Irishman who telephoned wanting an advertising slot a few weeks ago. He said: “I can’t tell you the name of the business or what the business does I just want you to sell it for €10 Million!” Yes, he really said that!

    Market comment is written only a few days before publication of The Trade House Magazine. A slightly worrying theme is starting to develop. The January issue was written 2 days before a general election, the March issue was written when I was at the Accident and Emergency department at Warwick hospital and this issue has been written in lockdown and unfortunately from my sick bed – thankfully it is not Covid but a resurgence of a long standing issue. I wonder what will happen for the next issue!

    When this current situation is all over I shall be running some “meet the readers’ events” and I would be delighted to meet as many of you as possible at these events. I should like to run these vents in London, Birmingham and Manchester to start with.

    I am still publishing The Trade House Magazine every other month and this will continue for the foreseeable future. I will however publish a Market Comment on a monthly basis on this website.

    Please note that I am always delighted to hear reader’s views about this column or any other aspect of the work of The Trade House.

    I look forward to speaking with you all again on a regular basis between now and the end of the year.

    Happy dealmaking!

    Regards

    Court

    The Trade House Magazine is below.

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      Market Comment March 2020

      Court Guinness resurrects an old column he used to write in which he takes an opinionated and sometimes irreverent view of what he sees in the market place.

      In this issue he looks back at the start of 2020 and looks forward too.

      We are now out of the EU. The big issues and potential disruption is to follow. I still think this is the most helm-less project I have ever seen and I have seen so many badly run projects in my time.

      The last edition of Market Comment was written 2 days before a general election, well this edition did not want to be outdone so comes to you written from a cubicle in  the Accident and Emergency department at Warwick Hospital in the UK! I wonder what will be managed for next edition, the back of a nuclear tank or hopefully somewhere more relaxing like the beach or more likely my desk, we can hope!

      We have seen some softening of property and business values this year and I think this may continue. Market Comment is always one of the last things to be written in this magazine. I always try and make sure it is as up to date as possible and that I can try and predict things going forward.

      Continued on next page

      The smaller end of the deals market is strengthening and I am seeing a growing number of possible sales for the following 12 months in the sub £100k bracket.

      The other thing that has amazed me is the number of the more unusual and exotic deals that are doing the rounds. I was a bit too late or a £14 million pharma company but both an oil rig and a car ferry have crossed my desk and there was a possibility of a requirement or professional footballers to be advertised on these pages!

      It has come to the point in retail where I am now so appalled at the state of the sector and its knock on effects that it has almost become comedic. Physical retail needs change and I do not see many people interested in effecting this change and keeping the high street as a vibrant, busy place.

      Now on to the death of the independent contractor from the 1st of April owing to the stringent reintroduction of IR35. Clients are dumping contractors unless they go on payroll or to umbrella companies and contractors are hanging up their boots and saying “I quit!” The Trade House is receiving about 100 enquiries a month from independent contractors leaving the sector. Government’s interference in enterprise is to blame. They are interfering in much the same way with private residential landlords but that is a another story for another day. The removal of Sajid Javid as chancellor means things will probably get even worse for every business in the country.

      Let us now move on to the concept of the side hustle. This is now a serious thing, so much so that I have decided that side hustlers should have their own dedicated section in this magazine.  This will grow in future issues. On a serious the concept of the side hustle is one to be commended and one that is showcasing the creativity and ability of side hustle owners and operators and this is to be commended. I often bang the drum on small business marketing and how poor some of it is but I do have to credit some of the side hustles I have seen for the effort they have put I to marketing. I do honestly believe that this sector will start to change the rest of the small business sector in terms of marketing.

      Lastly on a housekeeping note I shall be running some “meet the readers events” in 2020 and I would be delighted to see as many of you as possible at these events.

      You will also note that I brought forward the publishing o this issue from March to February 2020. We will publish every other month now until the end of the year. I am recruiting for staff to help me return to a monthly schedule.

      Please note that I am delighted to  hear readers views about this column or any other aspect of this magazine.

      I look forward to speaking with you all again on a regular basis between now and the end of the year.

      Happy dealmaking !

      Regards

      Court

      Market Comment December 2019

      Court Guinness resurrects an old column he used to write in which he takes an opinionated and sometimes irreverent view of what he sees in the market place.

      Continued on next page

      In this issue he looks back 2019 as a whole and looks forward to 2020.

      So lets looks back on 2019. Retail, Property prices lowering, politics and the lovely Brexit. Add in to that mix other matters close to many our readers hearts and it has been a bit of a turbulent year.

      We have seen some softening of property and business values this year and I think this may continue. Market Comment is always one of the last things to be written in this magazine. I always try and make sure it is as up to date as possible and that I can try and predict things going forward. As I write we are two days from a general election in the UK. This makes 2020 very, very hard to predict indeed. I think that rent values will soften especially in retail—there is too much vacant stock. The Trade House does not take political sides even if I would like it to. I will however stick my neck out and suggest an 8% drop in value across the board using  this editions adverts in this magazine as my baseline, regardless of sector or deal type.

      When the retail rot ever stop? We are getting to the stage of at least one major retailer a month causing attention grabbing headlines. This is becoming an international issue that impacts on so many. All parties need to come together now to ensure that retail led public realm does not get lost forever

      Let us now move on to the concept of the side hustle. This is now a serious thing, so much so that I have decided that side hustlers should have their own dedicated section in this magazine.  This will grow in future issues. On a serious the concept of the side hustle is one to be commended and one that is showcasing the creativity and ability of side hustle owners and operators and this is to be commended. I often bang the drum on small business marketing and how poor some of it is but I do have to credit some of the side hustles I have seen for the effort they have put I to marketing. I do honestly believe that this sector will start to change the rest of the small business sector in terms of marketing.

      Lastly on a housekeeping note I shall be running some “meet the readers events” in 2020 and I would be delighted to see as many of you as possible at these events.

      Please note that I am delighted to  hear readers views about this column or any other aspect of this magazine.

      I look forward to speaking with you all again on a regular basis in 2019

      I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2020.

      Happy dealmaking !

      Regards

      Court

      Market Comment April 2019

      Market Comment

      Court Guinness resurrects an old column he used to write in which he takes an opinionated and sometimes irreverent view of what he sees in the market place.

      In this issue he looks back on February and March 2019 and looks forwards to the rest of the year  as a whole and shares his thoughts with us.

      February and March have been exceptionally busy months and a lot has happened. I wish I could say thee same for the dealmaking markets where progress has been as slow as a channel tunnel boring machine! Brexit of course is to  blame and values have been slipping because of the inexcusably poor political situation that we have all been dropped into. Property prices especially have slipped and I have no reason to believe that this will not continue. Will this lead to another recession? Well, I do not hope not but early indicators of an issue are there. When will the sweet spot for deals be? I am not sure but the end of this year looks promising. Also there is not as  high a number of deals available  as there usually are at this time of year.

      When the retail rot ever stop? We are getting to the stage of at least one major retailer a month causing attention grabbing headlines. This is becoming an international issue that impacts on so many. All parties need to come together now to ensure that retail led public realm does not get lost forever

      Let us now move on to the concept of the side hustle. This is now a serious thing, so much so that I have decided that side hustlers should have their own dedicated section in this magazine.  This will grow in future issues. On a serious the concept of the side hustle is one to be commended and one that is showcasing the creativity and ability of side hustle owners and operators and this is to be commended. I often bang the drum on small business marketing and how poor some of it is but I do have to credit some of the side hustles I have seen for the effort they have put I to marketing. I do honestly beleieeve that this sector will start to change the rest of the small business sector in terms of marketing.

      Lastly on a housekeeping note I shall be running some “meet the readers events” in 2019 and I would be delighted to see as many of you as possible at these events.

      Please note that I am delighted to  hear readers views about this column or any other aspect of this magazine.

      I look forward to speaking with you all again on a regular basis in 2019

      Happy dealmaking !

      Please use the form below is you wish to comment.


        Market Comment December 2018

        Court Guinness resurrects an old column he used to write in which he takes an opinionated and sometimes irreverent view of what he sees in the market place.

        In this issue he looks back on 2018  and looks forwards to 2019 as a whole and shares his thoughts with us.

        To say that 2018 has been a challenging year is one big understatement, many readers of Market Comment and other writings oof mine will know of the wholesale changes I have made in 2018 including a number of changes to this magazine. I know that many readers do appecreciate them though.

        2018 has however been an excellent year for our business and generally speaking our businesses what 2019 will bring especially with regards to Brexit is anyone’s guess

        The first thing to talk about this month is retail. Physical retail is going so badly wrong on so many levels. I blame some  landlords for intransigent and not helping their tenants by sticking to the letter of the contract, some flexibility will go along a way. I blame some landlords for being too quick to go for a residential conversation. At the end of the day if a high street goes so does a community. Now that is a shame. I have written elsewhere about making retail an experience. I think retail  as a business wants to do this however I do not believe they have buy in from the property people or the finance people! If retail can change for the better then it is better for everyone. I do see interesting opportunities for forward thinking retailers in 2019. 2018 has been a torrid time for retail and I year I think the sector would like to forget. Onwards and upwards!

        While we talk about getting people through doors, pub landlords must stand up and take some stick from me this month. News has been reaching me of some hideous and in some cases unjustifiable rent increases recently. Again  a pub is a part of a community as much as a retail unit. Pubs have had a tough time in recent years we can see this by the number of closures of pubs. Give your tenants a break! It will be worth it in the long run! The odd percentage point here or there, yes but 20% +? Computer says no!

        I now move on to freelancers and independent contractors who are foaming at the mouth after the budget announcement that the tax system of off payroll working (IR35) will not be extended to the private sector just yet.

        For many years IT contracting was my trade. That aside this industry has had since 1999 to clean up its act, to change its modus operandi and to move with the times. Writing this one day after the Autumn 2018 budget I have already seen so many contractors bleating on email and social media about this. The problem is that the industry does not want to change. This is a bad thing for projects up and down the country and some need to shape up or ship out!

        Businesses have started to be affected by Brexit already and not just the headline grabbers that are prevalent especially in the automotive sector in the West Midlands but  smaller businesses too. The Trade House had its own run in with Brexit and new rules in august that meant a complete technology migration on an exceedingly time frame!  Examples of these events I predict will pick up pace and all businesses I believe will be affected. I have seen a drop in values of small foreign businesses owned by British ex-patriates large enough to make  Manchester United football club’s fall from grace seem like a minor glitch! I predict  that business values and deal values will soften in the next 12 months, especially if inward investment chains and supply chains are unduly compromised.

        All however will not be lost if a keen marketplace with a can-do attitude to deal making emerges from Brexit. I look forward to seeing the application of intelligence and ingenuity assisting this. There is more than enough oof both qualities out there in the market place to make this feasible.

        Aside of this negativity this September has been a lovely month aside of the negativity above. Its lovely to see the property development guys being so active in the run up to the festive season, deals regularly being struck and plans made revitalise properties previously unusable. I note a great deal valour going into these projects too with some developers clearly unafraid to push the boundaries—in a good way!  I hope we see more this sense of adventure in years to come. It is actually a good thing for business as a whole and an excellent thing for the sector itself.

        In spite of daylight hours drawing in November does look like it will be an excellent month for dealmaking with many people looking to get a large number of deal before  the Christmas party and festive season starts with aplomb.

        Please note that I am delighted to  hear readers views about this column or any other aspect of this magazine.

        I look forward to speaking with you all again on a regular basis in 2019

        I should like to close by taking this opportunity to wish all our readers a very happy Christmas and a very happy and prosperous 2019.

        Happy dealmaking !

        Warmest regards

        Court