This week, many of us will have an anticipated holiday season, as an increase in birthdays means an increase in public rest days across the world.
If you’re reading this in the United States, you’re already deep into the Memorial Day long weekend with tomorrow’s commemoration of those who gave their lives in military service.
In other years, the last Monday in May would also be a UK holiday, linked to the Christian holiday of Pentecost, or Pentecost as the Church of England calls it. But this year the day off was moved to Thursday and Britons were given an extra bank holiday on Friday to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years as head of the UK state – possibly by going to the cinema .
On Thursday, Italians will commemorate the founding of their modern state with fireworks and parades on National Republic Day.
Then there is the Dragon Boat Festival, the traditional Chinese festival that takes place on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese calendar – this year it will be this Friday. However, due to the pandemic, many dragon boat races scheduled around the world will be canceled or subject to restrictions.
Whatever you think of the significance of these holidays, they have added poignancy this year given the debate over working hours. The greater flexibility needed to get things done during the pandemic shutdowns has led many to question the rigidity of working nine to five, five days a week, about whether we should better mix our family and work life or move to four days a week – as the technology company WANdisco has already done.
It’s been a fairly comprehensive week for economic data with inflation and unemployment data for Eurozone countries on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, as well as the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book of US economic conditions on Wednesday and US unemployment data on Friday.
So-called dollar stores in the United States have tended to trade resiliently during economic downturns and that will likely be the message from variety discounter B&M this week.
Analysts expect sales and profits for the year to the end of March to be below last year’s record highs as shopping habits normalize and costs rise. But, as my colleague Jonathan Eley notes, the company’s size and direct sourcing operations in Asia will help it keep prices lower than more conventional rivals as revenues come under pressure.
This will likely be the last set of annual results for chief executive Simon Arora, who, along with his brother Bobby, grew B&M from a small run-down chain of stores in the North West of England to an estate of almost 700 stores in the UK and a place in the FTSE 100. He surprised the market in April by announcing his intention to retire.
Read the full schedule for the coming week here