More people lost their jobs in the UK manufacturing sector in November than any other month for more than seven years, as the industry continued a months-long losing streak.

The pace of job losses hit its steepest level since September 2012, according to new data from the closely watched IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) survey.

It found that uncertainty around Brexit, attempts to slash costs, and redundancies had all played roles in the process.

"The pace of job losses also hit a seven-year high as firms sought to reduce overheads in the face of falling sales," said Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit.

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Meanwhile, the sector scored 48.9 in November, lower than its 49.6 score in October. Anything below 50 means the sector is contracting. However, market watchers might take some relief from the fact that it beat preliminary figures of 48.3, released for the first time ever two weeks ago.

The sector was hit as companies continued to eat up the stockpiles they had built up in anticipation of a no-deal Brexit.

Online supermarket and tech firm Ocado has launched a £500 million bond to fund new warehouses and expansion into global markets, the company has announced.

The firm said bondholders will receive between 0.75% and 1.25% interest per year and are set to be repaid in full in 2025.

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Ocado said: "The net proceeds of the issue of the bonds will be used to fund capital expenditure in relation to Ocado Solutions' commitments and general corporate purposes."

In launching the bond, the company added that sales in the 13 weeks to December 1 are expected to grow between 10% and 11%.

But investors appeared uneasy at the plans to burden Ocado with debt, sending stock down more than 6% in early trading. Shares fell 80.5p to 1244.5p.

One in five smaller businesses say they will close in the next 12 months if Christmas is below average, a new survey suggests.

A poll of senior decision makers at small and medium-sized businesses showed that 22% of them thought they would close within a year of a poor Christmas. About 8% said this could happen within a matter of weeks.

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The vital Christmas period is seen as a bellwether of performance on the high street, with several larger chains also relying heavily on sales over the holiday period to prop up their top and bottom lines.

The survey from Notonthehighstreet raises the possibility of more bankruptcies in 2020, after several well-known high street brands closed their doors this year.