Fire up the Grange Hill theme tune, summer is over, and it is back to school (and work) for the UK population.

Tuesday 7th September was TfL’s busiest day since the pandemic, with commuters pouring onto the tubes heading to their offices and educational establishments.

This bodes well for UK PLC, and many of our additions implemented over the past 12 months in the portfolio are geared towards the revival of the UK consumer and increased domestic spending.

It’s just not cool to start school with last year’s trainers, and judging by the queue at Oxford Street’s JD Sports Fashion over the past week or so, teenagers in their thousands have been queuing up and kitting themselves out for the new school term. JD Sports came to market last week with an announcement that they were going to materially exceed market expectations, with stock jumping over 10% on the day. The UK stores were showing like-for-like sales up 30% versus 2019 (pre-coronavirus comparable) but also the fact that the business was now generating more revenues abroad rather than at home. The UK and Ireland generated EBIT of £171 million, whilst the USA generated EBIT of £245 million. JD Sports is leading the way for the UK High Street globally, with its strong relationships with Nike, Adidas and Reebok guaranteeing their stores have the latest kicks, wheels and creps for their customers. Coupled with their on-trend marketing (the CH office noticed that JD Sports sponsored the Love Island gym) and best-in-class store format and in-store retail experience.

Away from Love Island and sneaks, it is back to school for the adults too. Trainline announced last week that more passengers were using their app to purchase tickets and expects to see a return to profitability in the first half of 2022. As Covid restrictions ease, we expect consumers to return to the app, which is first class and should be the first port of call for the Department of Transport when they come to figure out how to launch and create their Great British Railways ticketing portal.

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