Catering giant Compass is offering home deliveries as it shifts towards a future where more of its tech office staff work remotely.
Boss Dominic Blakemore expects widespread home working to continue after the pandemic, with white collar employees likely to do so for two and a half days per week.
It has prompted the company, which provides catering services to businesses, hospitals, universities, schools and sports venues, to offer digital apps to clients so workers can order free or subsidised meals to their homes.
Compass, which provides catering services to businesses, hospitals, universities, schools and sports venues,is to start offering apps so workers can order meals to their homes
Compass has also added technology such as wireless payments, to let staff order and collect meals at work and even reserve a seat in the canteen.
It potentially puts Compass in competition with the likes of food delivery start-ups Deliveroo and Uber Eats, which have seen sales boom during the pandemic.
The push came as profits crashed from £1.5billion to just £210million in the year to September 30, after the Covid crisis sent revenues falling from £24.9billion to £19.9billion.
Compass closed about half of its operations as lockdowns were announced around the world earlier this year, and became profitable again in the fourth quarter as venues reopened.
Stock Watch – Tharisa
Platinum miner Tharisa surged higher after the firm revealed booming profits.
The Cyprus-based company said its earnings per share for 2020 were set to be between 300 per cent and 325 per cent higher than the previous year.
Tharisa’s revenues have been boosted this year by higher platinum prices after supplies in South Africa, where its main mine is based, were squeezed.
It is preparing its annual results, which are expected on Monday. Shares rose 6 per cent, or 7.6p, to 85.5p.
The company insists the £220billion food catering market remains attractive however.
It is also working to trim costs, for instance by setting up centralised kitchens in some areas to cater to multiple clients instead of having individual kitchens for each one. Shares rose 2.5 per cent, or 33.5p, to 1377p.
JD Sports was in the red after reports that the sportswear retailer is in exclusive rescue talks with the department store chain Debenhams.
Struggling Debs was put into administration this year and in August told advisers to draw up plans to liquidate the business if a buyer cannot be found.
It has announced 2,500 job cuts but JD boss Peter Cowgill is interested in the whole business, a development that is sure to enrage his arch-rival, Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley, who has for years been trying to snap up Debs himself.
But investors didn’t seem keen yesterday, with shares falling 6.5 per cent, or 52.8p, to 760p.
They didn’t make much of an update from South West Water owner Pennon Group either, despite a dividend on the way.
Profits plummeted from £119.4million to £61.9million during the six months to September 30, after revenues fell from £325.8million to £299.2million.
It also made a £1.7billion profit from selling waste disposal firm Viridor. The group has around £3.5billion in cash and has not needed government support, it said, and so the board is recommending an interim dividend of 6.77p.
But this was still below last year’s payout of 13.66p. Shares fell 4 per cent, or 39.8p, to 964.2p yesterday.
Elsewhere, while its rival Countrywide struggled, London-focused estate agent Foxtons rose 1.7 per cent, or 0.7p, to 41.5p after it revealed it was buying a smaller competitor, paying £2.2million for west London-based Aston Rowe.
Listed law firm Knights Group rose 1.9 per cent, or 8p, to 433p as it made an acquisition and updated investors on trading.
Half-year revenues grew by 44 per cent to £46million and it said that trading had nearly returned to pre-Covid levels, with employees who took temporary pay cuts going back on full pay this month. It is acquiring OTB Eveling LLP, an Exeter-based law firm, for £2.1million.
Overall it was a good day for the FTSE 100, which rose 1.6 per cent, or 98.33 points, to 6432.17 as markets cheered the start of the presidential transition in the US.
The FTSE 250 rose 1.1 per cent, or 207.21 points, to 19,789.56.
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