QWERTY keyboards have been around for over a century, but a new era in tech needs a new kind of input. WSJ’s David Pierce tries out the keyboards of the future. Photo/Video: James Pace-Cornsilk for The Wall Street Journal
QWERTY keyboards have been around for over a century, but a new era in tech needs a new kind of input. WSJ’s David Pierce tries out the keyboards of the future. Photo/Video: James Pace-Cornsilk for The Wall Street Journal
Source: Youtube/Love and London
Forget London Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square… those areas are super-touristy, crowded, and don't show the character of London. In this video takes you to three areas in London where Londoners enjoy spending time, which shows you the side of the city that is full of character and diverse.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 19th Oct 2018) London, Uk – –
A ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars should be brought forward by eight years to 2032, MPs have said.
The government's current plans to ensure all new cars are “effectively zero emission” by 2040 were “vague and unambitious”, a report by Parliament's business select committee said.
It also criticised cuts to subsidies and the lack of charging points.
The government said it aimed to make the UK “the best place in the world” to own an electric vehicle.
However, the report from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee said the government's deeds did not match the ambitions of its words.
The committee's chairwoman, Rachel Reeves MP, said the government's targets gave “little clarity or incentive to industry or the consumer to invest in electric cars.”
‘Zero means zero'
Earlier this year the prime minister said that all new cars and vans should be “effectively zero emission” by 2040.
The government's Road to Zero Strategy said it wanted “almost every car and van” in the UK to be zero emission by 2050. However it was unclear which, if any, hybrid models were being included.
The committee said “zero should mean zero” and called for the government to bring forward “a clear, precise target for new sales of cars and vans to be truly zero emission by 2032”.
Car industry condemns ‘green' car change
Why you have (probably) already bought your last car
Electric cars: What if you live in a flat?
The UK was among the top 10 countries for electric vehicle sales in 2017, and has around 14,500 public charging points. However, in its report the committee said the country was far from electric vehicle ready.
MPs say the government's targets are “vague and unambitious”; but are they?
Vague may well be a fair criticism. When the 2040 target was first announced, the government was initially unable even to say whether or not hybrid cars would be covered. It later confirmed it had “no plans to ban any particular technology – like hybrids – as part of its strategy” – but insisted it wanted all cars to be “effectively zero emission” by that date. It could certainly have been clearer.
Unambitious? The car industry thinks not – the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders says it would be “nigh on impossible” to bring the ban forward by eight years. Ah, but they would say that wouldn't they?
Nevertheless, it's a fact that electric cars currently make up 0.6% of all cars sold in the UK, and plug-in hybrids just 1.6%. Overall, they make up a tiny proportion of the 31.5 million registered cars on our roads.
Yes, sales are expected to grow rapidly over the next few years, and yes some countries are planning to move more quickly. But with so many unknown factors ahead – such as whether or not enough batteries can be made to support rapid growth of electric vehicles – you could argue that it's already a pretty challenging target.
Subsidy cuts ‘perverse'
The MPs said the UK's charging infrastructure was still inadequate, and gave rise to “range anxiety” – potential buyers of electric vehicles worrying whether they will be able to reach the next charging station.
The report said the government had left delivery of charging points to councils and private companies when a “shared approach” was needed.
In addition, it called plans announced last week to slash subsidies for less-polluting vehicles “perverse”. The government will end grants for new plug-in hybrids in November and the subsidy for cars that are purely electric is being reduced from £4,500 to £3,500.
The purchase costs of electric vehicles remain very high relative to internal combustion engine vehicles, the report said, and therefore “incentives are required to encourage motorists to make the switch”.
Some European countries, including Denmark, Germany and Ireland, plan to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, ten years ahead of the UK.
But Mike Hawes, head of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), said calls to shift to entirely electric-powered cars by 2032 were “unrealistic”.
“Zero emission vehicles make up just 0.6% of the market, meaning consumer appetite would have to grow by some 17,000% in just over a decade,” he said.
Questions about the petrol and diesel car ban
Diesel car ban approved for German cities
Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, said he understood the rationale for wanting to bring forward the end of conventionally-fuelled vehicles, but said to achieve that it “would have to be matched with bold and decisive action from the government”.
The Department for Transport said its green car strategy was one of the most comprehensive in the world. A statement said it was consulting on legislation to make all new homes “electric vehicle ready”.
“We want between 50% and 70% of new car sales to be ultra low emission by 2030, and for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040,” a spokeswoman said.
“And we also outlined measures to bring forward a major uplift in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, paving the way for the widespread adoption of ultra-low emission vehicles.”
(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Fri, 19th Oct 2018) London, Uk – –
Online retailer to expand R&D operations in the city as well as in Edinburgh and Cambridge
Amazon has said the UK will be “taking a leading role in global innovation” as it announced plans to hire 1,000 more technology, research and other skilled workers by next year.
The US online retailer is to open its first office in Manchester, with room for 600 new jobs in the Hanover Building in the city’s Northern Quarter – once the headquarters of the Co-operative Group.
Doug Gurr, the UK manager for Amazon, said the UK was “taking a leading role in our global innovation”.
“These are Silicon Valley jobs in Britain, and further cement our long-term commitment to the UK,” he said.
Amazon said the new Manchester team would work on research and development, including software development and machine learning.
Gurr said: “Manchester was at the heart of the industrial revolution and has a fantastic history of innovation. The city offers an incredibly talented workforce and a budding tech scene with some of the most exciting, fast-growing tech companies in the UK situated here.”
Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Amazon opening their new office in Manchester is another vote of confidence in our city-region as a global digital leader.”
In the latest phase of Amazon’s UK expansion, the firm said it was also creating space for 250 more high-skilled roles in Edinburgh, where it is taking three floors of the Waverley Gate building.
The company is also expanding its offices in Cambridge, where technicians work on the group’s Alexa digital personal assistant system, drone development and other Amazon devices. Amazon is making room for 180 new roles in Cambridge.
Amazon’s rapid global growth has spurred it to hire thousands of workers in Britain in recent years, most of whom are based at its warehouses.
The company this month responded to criticism of poor pay and conditions for its warehouse workers with the announcement of a pay rise to £10.50 an hour in London and £9.50 across the rest of the country.
However, it later emerged that the company had slashed share bonuses for those workers, offsetting at least half of the pay rise.
By Sarah Butler
(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Thur, 18th Oct 2018) London, Uk – –
Gatwick has set out plans to bring its standby runway into routine use for departing flights by the mid-2020s.
Britain's second busiest airport said the move would meet all international safety requirements and could be delivered without increasing its noise footprint.
Under its current planning agreement, the standby runway can only be used when the main runway is closed for maintenance or emergencies, but the 40-year agreement comes to an end in 2019, Gatwick said.
It said it was exploring the “innovative” scheme as part of its master plan which “sets out how Gatwick can grow and do more for Britain”.
The master plan will be the subject of a 12-week consultation and the airport said it was keen to listen to the views of “local communities and stakeholders”. Local campaigners have already expressed opposition.
Gatwick said the development would help meet future aviation demand and ensure strong connections between Britain and global markets.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Thu, 18th Oct 2018) London, Uk – –
A multibillion-dollar Asian rival to KFC will make its first foray into the UK on Thursday, opening in London’s Earl’s Court.
Jollibee, which offers single plates combining fried chicken, tomato spaghetti, beef with gravy and rice, has plans for rapid expansion across Europe.
Global chief executive Ernesto Tanmantiong told The Daily Telegraph that Jollibee is targeting 25 stores in Britain and 50 across Europe over the next five years.
Jollibee Foods Corporation is a $5.2bn market cap company headquartered in Manila. It operates 14 brands across 4,300 outlets worldwide. It is the sixth biggest food service company in the US by virtue of its controlling stake in the Smashburger chain. In September last year it was reportedly teeing up a $1bn approach for Pret a Manger.
The company’s flagship brand is Jollibee itself, which boasts 1,200 stores and whose eclectic menu has been particularly successful in Vietnam and China.
Mr Tanmantiong explained he started out “with two ice cream parlours in 1975”.
“We see that the UK has a very big fried chicken market,” he said, adding that he expects the company’s trademark Chickenjoy to quickly gain popularity.
Mr Tanmantiong said when Jollibee Foods Corporation launches in a new country ex-pat Filipinos dominate the customer base initially.
However, he insisted that more than half of customers in countries outside of the Philippines are now “locals”.
Considered a national treasure in the Philippines, fans in the US have reportedly waited for hours when new stores have opened. The first Manhattan store was opened earlier this week.
Meanwhile, the Jollibee boss shrugged off growing concerns over healthy eating. “We are looking into that as well,” he said. “But customers come to Jollibee for the Chickenjoy.”
By Oliver Gill
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 17th Oct 2018) London, Uk – –
The first recreational cannabis to be legally bought in Canada was purchased at midnight on Wednesday (02:30 GMT) on the eastern island of Newfoundland amid queues of hundreds of people.
Canada has become the second country after Uruguay to legalise possession and use of recreational cannabis.
Medical marijuana has been legal in the country since 2001.
But concerns remain, including about the readiness for police forces to tackle drug impaired driving.
Information has been sent to 15m households about the new laws and there are public awareness campaigns.
Ian Power, from the town of St John's began queuing at 20:00 local time so he could “make history”. Newfoundland is half an hour ahead of the next province to the west.
“It's been my dream to be the first person to buy the first legal gram of cannabis in Canada, and here I finally am,” he said.
Canadian provinces and municipalities have been preparing for months for the end of cannabis prohibition. They are responsible for setting out where cannabis can be bought and consumed.
This has created a patchwork of more or less restrictive legislation across the country.
Customers queued outside Tweed in St John's in Newfoundland as midnight approached
How ready is Canada for legal cannabis?
There remain unanswered questions on some key issues around how legal cannabis will work in Canada.
A number of analysts are predicting a shortage of recreational marijuana in the first year of legalisation as production and licensing continues to ramp up to meet demand.
And the marketplace itself is still in its infancy.
Media captionAs Canada makes cannabis legal, what happens to those with past convictions for possession?
Ontario, Canada's most populous province, will only begin opening retail stores next spring, though residents will be able to order cannabis online.
British Columbia, one of the provinces with the highest rates of cannabis use, will only have one legal store open on Wednesday.
Until retail locations are more widely available, some unlicensed cannabis retailers, which have flourished in the years since the law was first proposed, may stay open.
It is unclear if police will crack down on them immediately, or if they will turn a blind eye.
What's at stake?
Jessica Murphy, BBC News, Vancouver
Legal pot has been an inescapable topic for months in Canada, as governments and companies prepared in earnest for 17 October.
That day is finally here, and Canadians will learn just how much – or how little – the new framework will change the country. But this is not just a domestic affair.
With global trends shifting away from a strict prohibition of cannabis, the world will be watching this national experiment in drug liberalisation.
A measure of success – whether legalisation will be a win for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ahead of the 2019 federal election – will depend on whether it meets his stated goals: restricting access of the drug to youth – who are among the heaviest users in Canada – reducing the burden of cannabis laws on the justice system, and undercutting the illicit market for the drug.
And if the outcomes are positive, other countries might just be more willing to follow suit.
Why is Canada legalising cannabis?
Legalisation fulfils a 2015 campaign promise by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the leader of the governing Liberal Party.
The prime minister has argued that Canada's nearly century-old laws criminalising use of the drug have been ineffective, given that Canadians are still among the world's heaviest users.
He said the new law is designed to keep drugs out of the hands of minors and profits out of the hands of criminals.
Who wins and who loses under new law
Canada cannabis legalisation: ‘We know the world is watching'
Canada legalises recreational cannabis use
The federal government also predicts it will raise $400m a year in tax revenues on the sale of cannabis.
Cannabis possession first became a crime in Canada in 1923 but medical use has been legal since 2001.
What is the situation elsewhere?
Canada follows in the footsteps of Uruguay, which became the first country in the world to legalise the sale of cannabis for recreational use in 2013. A number of US states have also voted to end prohibition.
Medical marijuana is also gaining ground in many European countries. Portugal and the Netherlands have decriminalised the drug.
South Africa's highest court legalised the use of cannabis by adults in private places in September, though the sale of the drug remains a crime.
In April, Zimbabwe became the second country in Africa, after Lesotho, to legalise the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Eight US states – Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and California – have legalised recreational and medicinal marijuana.
What are the new rules around cannabis?
Adults will be able buy cannabis oil, seeds and plants and dried cannabis from licensed producers and retailers and to possess up to 30 grams (one ounce) of dried cannabis in public, or its equivalent.
Edibles, or cannabis-infused foods, will not be immediately available for purchase but will be within a year of the bill coming into force. The delay is meant to give the government time to set out regulations specific to those products.
It will be illegal to possess more than 30 grams in public, grow more than four plants per household and to buy from an unlicensed dealer.
Legalising cannabis: What you need to know
Penalties for some infraction will be severe. Someone caught selling the drug to a minor could be jailed for up to 14 years.
Some critics say the penalties are too harsh and not proportional to similar laws like those around selling alcohol to minors.
Unauthorised dispensaries have cropped up in cities across Canada in the run-up to legalisation
On Monday, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published an editorial calling legalisation “a national, uncontrolled experiment in which the profits of cannabis producers and tax revenues are squarely pitched against the health of Canadians”.
There are also still some legal wrinkles to be worked out.
Canada has brought in new drug impaired driving offences, but doubts remain about the reliability of screening technology and the potential for drugged driving cases to clog up the courts.
Federal statistics indicate that about half of all cannabis users do not believe their driving is impaired after taking marijuana.
Government officials told reporters on Tuesday that they are currently considering a fast-track process to allow people who have been convicted of possession to apply for legal pardons. There are currently some 500,000 Canadians with existing criminal records for possession.
The change in national drug policy has also created headaches with the US, where the drug remains federally a controlled substance.
On Tuesday, the US Customs Border Protection Agency said border guards will have “broad latitude” to determine who is admissible to the country.
Border guards may ask Canadians if they smoke cannabis, and deny them entry if they believe they intend to do so in the US.
Canada has also been rolling out signs at all airports and border crossings to warn travellers that crossing international borders with the drug remains illegal.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Wed, 17th Oct 2018) London, Uk – –
New Cheltenham store will offer after-hours service for those willing to spend big
John Lewis is offering big spenders the opportunity to get its new Cheltenham shop all to themselves for the evening – as long as they’re prepared to put £10,000 into the tills.
The “private shopping” service, where staff will be available after normal shopping hours specifically to serve individuals, groups of friends or a family, is a step into the territory of luxury boutiques and Bond Street stores such as Louis Vuitton and Hermès.
It is one of 20 different services being offered at the department store’s latest outlet, which opens on Thursday. Another new service is called the Shopping List, under which a member of John Lewis’s team can be booked free of charge to gather either a specific basket of items or to help pick out gifts for specific people.
Peter Cross, director of customer experience, said: “Previously the reserve of exclusive boutiques for the famous few, this autumn in Cheltenham, with the help of our army of expertly trained partners, we are bringing the intimacy, luxury and magic of personal shopping to the high street.”
John Lewis – which is owned by its staff, known as partners – is trying to fight the flight to online shopping by offering a growing array of services that can’t be delivered via the internet.
The managing director, Paula Nickolds, has said its stores needed to sell experiences to fight for a slice of discretionary consumer spending against mini-breaks, gym classes and nights out.
She has brought in experience desks where a concierge helps book appointments for blowdrys, manicures and personal shopping services, which are now hosted in an increasing number of stores.
Cheltenham will also have a personal shopping suite, including the group’s first lounge dedicated to men.
The chain also recently rebranded to add “& Partners” to its name, in a bid to emphasise the importance of the service offered by its staff, who all get a bonus based on profits at the end of the year.
All department stores are under pressure because their large premises and typically lengthy rent deals with landlords have made it difficult to adapt to a fall in the number of shoppers visiting the high street.
House of Fraser is closing stores after being rescued from administration by Sports Direct, while the Debenhams share price has slumped after a string of profit warnings.
John Lewis’s profits have also taken a battering as it has been forced to match its ailing rivals’ discounts under its “never knowingly undersold” policy. It has also spent millions of pounds on improving its home delivery infrastructure and IT systems to cater to demand for online shopping.
By Sarah Butler
(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Tue, 16th Oct 2018) London, Uk – –
The only way the chancellor can end austerity is to borrow substantial sums or raise Britain's tax burden to the highest level for nearly 70 years, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned.
In its closely-watched green budget, a survey of the UK economy and public finances, the IFS said that even the mildest version of “ending austerity” would cost a minimum of £19bn – the equivalent of a penny on income tax, National Insurance and on VAT.
The IFS added that there was effectively no prospect of a “Brexit dividend” for the public finances and warned that UK economic growth would remain weak for another two years.
Its report comes a fortnight ahead of the chancellor's winter budget, in which he will unveil his latest plans for borrowing and spending.
But the IFS said that Philip Hammond can only end austerity – in other words cancel major planned spending cuts – through significant tax rises or by borrowing so much that he breaks his commitment to eliminate the deficit by the middle of next decade.
It added that the sum – which it put at a provisional £19bn – would be bigger still if Mr Hammond abolished the benefits freeze and increased the generosity of other payouts.
Paul Johnson, director of the IFS, said that these decisions, which will form key parts of the budget, will “probably be the biggest non-Brexit related decision this chancellor will make”.
“He has a big choice,” he added. “He could end austerity, as the prime minister has suggested.
“But even on a limited definition of what that might mean would imply spending £19bn a year more than currently planned by the end of the parliament. An increase of that size is highly unlikely to be compatible with his desire to get the deficit down towards zero.
“Alternatively, the chancellor could stick to his guns on the deficit and leave many public services to struggle under the strain of a decade and more of cuts.
“He could reconcile these demands by raising taxes, and in principle there are plenty of good options, but the overall tax burden is already high by UK historical standards and he could be constrained by the lack of a parliamentary majority. This is going to be the toughest of circles to square.”
An increase in the tax burden of that scale would lift it to the highest level since the late 1940s and early 1950s – though it would still leave it in the middle of the pack of other developed economies.
But Mr Johnson said that it was far more likely that the government would simply borrow more. “Increasing borrowing is clearly the line of least resistance,” he said. “If I had to guess I would guess borrowing will be higher than the number in the spring statement.”
The IFS said that the extra money was significantly higher because of the extra commitments the chancellor had already made to spend more on the NHS and on international aid.
And it calculated that even if the UK enjoys an economic bump if it seals a deal to leave the European Union, the scale of the so-called “Brexit dividend” – the money the Treasury might save on contributions to the EU – might only be around £1bn a year by 2022/23 – a rounding error in fiscal terms.
John McDonnell, Labour's shadow chancellor, said: “This heaps yet more pressure on the chancellor to explain how he is going to deliver on the Tory promise of ending austerity.
“With billions of cuts in the form of Universal Credit still to come, and public services at breaking point, tinkering around the edges is not enough. It's time the chancellor finally came clean about where the additional funding for the NHS is coming from.”
A Treasury spokesperson said: “Our balanced approach is getting debt falling and supporting our vital public services, while keeping taxes as low as possible. This year, we have already committed an extra £20.5bn a year to the NHS, scrapped the public sector pay cap, and frozen fuel duty for the ninth year in a row.”
By Ed Conway
(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 16th Oct, 2018) London, UK —
LONDON, Oct 16 (Reuters) – Workers in Britain saw their basic wages rise at the fastest pace in nearly a decade over the summer months, backing up the Bank of England’s view that a long period of weak pay rises is ending.
Earnings, excluding bonuses, rose by an annual 3.1 percent in the three months to August, the Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday.
That was higher than all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.
Including bonuses, total earnings rose by 2.7 percent in the period, slightly above the poll’s median forecast of 2.6 percent.
The Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, said last week that he saw signs of a “new dawn” for British wage growth.
Economists have been puzzled why wages were growing so slowly even as unemployment fell sharply.
Pay growth for Britain’s workers slowed to as low as 0.5 percent in 2014. Despite the recent improvement it remains stuck below the 4 percent increases that were the norm before the global financial crisis.
The unemployment rate held at its four-decade low of 4.0 percent in the three months to August, the ONS said.
But the number of people in work fell by 5,000, the first fall in nearly a year. The Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a rise of 11,000.
British households – whose spending is the main driver of the country’s economy – have struggled for much of the past decade as their wages grew more slowly than inflation.
Data due on Wednesday is expected to show Britain’s consumer price inflation stood at 2.6 percent in September, below a peak of 3.1 percent in November last year but still offering only modest improvement in spending power for workers.
The BoE said in August that it expected growth in total pay of 2.5 percent a year by the end of 2018, rising to 3.5 percent by the end of 2020, enough to justify the central bank’s plan to gradually raise interest rates over the period.
Reporting by William Schomberg and David Milliken
British entertainment start-up Bombay Sour will launch a new video streaming platform this week on which subscribers will be able to buy shares in upcoming content.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Mon, 15th Oct 2018) London, Uk – –
The platform, which Bombay Sour describes as “crowdfunded Netflix”, uses blockchain technology to allow subscribers to take a stake in pilot content before it breaks onto TV, film or streaming services.
Since being founded in May, Bombay Sour already has a slate of more than 200 TV pilots and short films from directors including Eric Kissack, who directed The Dictator and Phil Sheerin, who won Best UK Short at the Raindance Film Festival in 2015. The company said it would be ramping up production operations through to the end of the year.
At the MIPCOM trade show in Cannes this week, Bombay Sour will also reveal it is bolstering its management team, adding Simon Egan, the producer of The King's Speech, and the co-founder of Jukin Media, Josh Entman, to its advisory board.
The launch of Bombay Sour's service, which will focus on mobile viewing and be called Zest, comes as more consumers shift away from traditional TV and watch content online instead.
Just under a third of people in the UK said they had used Netflix in the last month, and a recent survey revealed that, among 12 to 15-year-olds in Britain, Netflix was better known than BBC One.
With growing viewer numbers, streaming services, which also include Amazon Prime Video and Now TV, have been allocating increasing amounts of cash to original content in recent years.
Netflix is planning to spend between $7bn and $8bn on content next year while analysts estimate Amazon's budget for Prime Video is around $4.5bn and new entrant Apple's is thought to be around $1bn.
However, Bombay Sour's founder and chief executive Piotr Kocel said his company believes that premium entertainment has “a decentralized future where content is democratically co-created with audiences and value is fairly distributed through private smart contracts”.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 15th Oct 2018) London, Uk – –
Sears, the US retailer that that once dominated America's shopping malls, has filed for bankruptcy.
Sears Holdings – which also owns Kmart – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday.
The company has suffered, along with many other traditional retailers, from rising online competition from firms such as Amazon.
Sears has been closing stores and selling properties as it grapples with debts of more than $5bn.
The company employs nearly 90,000 people in the US, although that is down from 246,000 five years ago, and in its heyday it had more than 3,000 stores.
It became America's largest retailer before being overtaken by Walmart in the 1980s.
Who will the ‘retail apocalypse' claim in 2018?
The firm filed for bankruptcy petition after it reportedly could not meet a $134m repayment due on Monday.
Chapter 11 protection postpones a US company's obligations to its creditors, giving it time to reorganise its debts or sell parts of the business.
Eddie Lampert – who is the company's chief executive, biggest investor and landlord – had attempted to restructure its debts to avoid bankruptcy.
In a statement, he said: “Over the last several years, we have worked hard to transform our business and unlock the value of our assets.
“While we have made progress, the plan has yet to deliver the results we have desired.”
Announcing its bankruptcy filing, Sears also said it would close 142 unprofitable stores by the end of the year, on top of the previously announced closure of 46 stores by November.
Sears was founded by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck in 1886 as a mail order catalogue company, and opened its first retail locations in 1925.
It was America's largest retailer by revenue until 1989, when Walmart overtook it, but remains one of America's biggest department store groups.
The company also owns Kmart as well as a range of other brands.
Its revenues were $16.7bn in 2017, almost half the $31.2bn posted in 2014.
Some analysts say Sears' problems were exacerbated by a lack of investment in stores.
Neil Saunders of GlobalData Retail said Sears' troubles began in the 1980s when it became “too diversified and lost the deftness that had once made it the world's largest and most innovative retailer”.
“That a storied retailer, once at the pinnacle of the industry, should collapse in such a shabby state of disarray is both terrible and scandalous,” he said.
“The brand is now tarnished just as the economics of its model are firmly stacked against its future success.”
Sears was founded in 1886 as a mail order catalogue business and later expanded into bricks-and-mortar stores to become a fixture in shopping malls across the US.
But its fortunes took a turn for the worse in the 1990s amid competition from low-cost chains such as Walmart.
Mr Lampert's hedge fund, ESL Investments, took a stake in Sears in 2004, later combining it with Kmart with the aim of restoring its profitability.
He and his affiliates now own about 49% of Sears.
Despite the investment, Sears never regained its footing. It wracked up more than $6bn in losses between 2013 and 2017, while annual revenues more than halved.
As of August, the retailer had more than 860 stores in the US, down from 1,700 at the end of 2014.
Sears Canada, which was spun-off from the main company in 2012, filed for bankruptcy last year, with the loss of thousands of jobs.
Some Fortune 500 companies are using tools that deploy artificial intelligence to weed out job applicants. But is this practice fair? WSJ's Jason Bellini investigates.
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As it redesigns its stores, Target is getting back to offering fashion-forward merchandise at decent prices. If it can keep that momentum going, it will help set the company apart from its peers including Walmart, Amazon and Kroger.
Nestled inside Target's Minneapolis headquarters, racks of unfinished clothes line the walls. In another area, sketches and splotches of color are hung up for inspiration. Walk down the hallway, and it looks like you've arrived at an HGTV set with bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens on display. This is the creative hub of Target's in-house brands — a key part of the retailer's turnaround.
An amazing day at the Sustainable City, a housing development in Dubai with 3,500 people already living there and it's still not quite finished.This truly is a remarkable achievement, a stark lesson to building contractors the world over. It's not more expensive to build and it's hugely cheaper and more efficient to live in.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Fri, 12th Oct, 2018) London, UK —
Lloyds said the money awarded to BlackRock would be invested in index strategies and, in addition, it would look to agree a strategic partnership to collaborate in alternative asset classes, risk management and investment technology.
The assets form part of a 110 billion pounds mandate that is currently managed by Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) (SLA.L) and subject to arbitration after Lloyds said in February it would terminate the deal.
Lloyds said the BlackRock deal would begin after the arbitration process concludes or when the existing contract expires, and it was confident in its right to end the deal with SLA.
The group said, after a review by Scottish Widows and Lloyds’ wealth unit of their asset management arrangements, that it was near to announcing plans for a further 80 billion pounds in assets and would update the market in due co
By Simon Jessop
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, Oct 2018) London, Uk –
The has left Singapore for New York, beginning a journey scheduled to cover more than 15,000km in almost 19 hours.
Singapore Airlines is relaunching the service five years after it was cut because it had become too expensive.
Flight SQ22 departed at 15:37GMT with 150 passengers and 17 crew.
The inaugural flight from Changi Airport to Newark's international airport, which services New York, took off amid much fanfare.
However, Singapore Airlines told passengers before take off that their flight to Newark, while still the world's longest flight by distance, could only take some 17 hours.
Qantas launched a 17-hour non-stop service from Perth to London earlier this year, while Qatar runs a 17.5-hour service between Auckland and Doha.
Have passengers been snapping up the tickets?
Singapore Airlines (SIA) said there was demand for customers for non-stop services which help cut travelling times compared with flights which have a stopover.
Ahead of the take-off, the airline told the BBC that business class seats for the flight were fully booked, and there were “a very limited number” of premium economy seats left.
The airline is not planning to offer any economy bookings on the route.
A business class ticket will entitle passengers to two meals, and the choice of when they are served, plus refreshments in between. They will also have a bed to sleep in.
Premium economy fares will get three meals at fixed times, with refreshments in between.
Do people want to fly for 19 hours?
The brand new Airbus plane that SIA is using has been configured to seat 161 passengers in all – 67 business passengers and 94 premium economy passengers.
“The thinking behind that is that they are selling a premium product – it's for the top end of town,” says aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas, who was booked on to Thursday's flight.
“This is a route between two massive financial hubs, and so they will fill this plane up with business people, or well-heeled travellers who want the convenience of a non stop flight.
“It's also been proven that when carriers introduce a new non-stop route, the traffic on that route increases threefold.”
Mr Thomas, the editor-in-chief of airline rating site Airlineratings.com, has been on several such inaugural flights, including Qantas' new long-haul from Perth to London, inaugurated earlier this year.
He said: “The Qantas flight to London was a huge event. We were basically on our feet for the entire flight, it was incredibly exciting. There's almost a party atmosphere on board.”
Qantas meanwhile is in advanced discussions with Airbus and Boeing over an aircraft capable of making a 20-hour flight between London and Sydney.
The Australian national flag carrier also plans to fly non-stop from Australia to North America – slightly shorter than the London-Sydney non-stop flight.
But Max Kingsley-Jones, group editor of Flight Global, warned that plans for new non-stop routes had a habit of changing in line with the economics of the world.
“In the boom times you get a lot of what we call direct-connect flights between smaller cities… [then] each time there's a downturn you see all those tail off, and then we go back to people flying over hubs,” he told the BBC's Today programme.
“Even though it costs more for an airline to fly over a hub, they'll always charge you less because of the disadvantage of going via somewhere else.”
Which route will the flight take?
Of two possible routes that SIA could take to Newark, SIA has told passengers it will take the North Pacific route.
Mr Thomas says it will cover a distance of some 15,341km, but reminds non-aviation experts that while the distance between destinations remains constant, the distance flown and flight times can vary because of tailwinds, headwinds and any need for weather-related diversions.
“When you've got some good strong jet streams going in an easterly direction, which is the way we'll go, then we will fly over Japan, then over the North Pacific, possibly touching into Alaska, then down through Canada into Newark.”
Is this the future of long-haul travel?
The A350-900 ULR (ultra-long-range) that set off on Thursday from Singapore to Newark belongs to Airbus' family of long-range, twin-engine aircraft.
The planes have been designed to replace Boeing's older 777 series and use between 20% and 30% less fuel than the 777s did – which is a good thing amid rising oil prices.
Singapore Airlines launched the same non-stop route between Changi and Newark in 2004, but by 2013 the carrier was forced to cancel it. The A340-500 it was using at the time used a lot of fuel and eventually the route became too expensive to run.
Several carriers already use the newer A350-900s on their long-haul routes. They have higher ceilings, larger windows and lighting designed to reduce jetlag – all good things for busy business travellers.
But the ultra-long-range version that SIA has bought from Airbus has the longest capability of any aircraft flying today, thanks in part to a slightly modified fuel system.
It can fly for 20 hours non-stop, which most aviation experts will tell you is the future of very long-haul travel for business and pleasure.
Mr Thomas says it's been proven over and over again that people want to fly non-stop, “so these sorts of aeroplanes are set to gain terrific momentum”.
“Qantas' flight from Perth to London is seeing a load factor in economy of 92% – and in premium it's 94%. So from an airline perspective, these routes are money-making.
“We really are entering a new era of travel.”
By Sarah Porter
(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Thur, 11th Oct 2018) London, Uk – –
An audit last year showed significant differences in pay and promotion opportunities between white Britons and ethnic groups.
Businesses could be forced to reveal their ethnicity pay gap after an audit last year showed significant disparities in pay and promotion opportunities of different ethnic groups .
Announcing a consultation on mandatory pay reporting, Theresa May said: “Every employee deserves the opportunity to progress and fulfil their potential in their chosen field, regardless of which background they are from, but too often ethnic minority employees feel they're hitting a brick wall when it comes to career progression.”
The consultation will run until January to allow businesses to share views on what information should be published.
Mys May also unveiled a Race at Work Charter aimed at increasing recruitment and career progression of ethnic minority employees.
Among those to have already signed up are some of the UK's best known companies including accountancy firm KPMG and advertising company Saatchi & Saatchi as well as NHS England and the Civil Service.
Public sector bodies such as the the NHS, armed forces and police will also explain how they intend to increase ethnic minority staff in senior roles.
Mrs May said: “Our focus is now on making sure the UK's organisations, boardrooms and senior management teams are truly reflective of the workplaces they manage, and the measures we are taking today will help employers identify the actions needed to create a fairer and more diverse workforce.”
A year ago the Race Disparity Audit exposed the differences between ethnic groups in educational attainment, health, employment and treatment by police and courts.
At the time Mrs May promised to confront the “uncomfortable truths” it revealed. A key finding was that unemployment among black, Asian and minority ethnic people was nearly double that of white Britons.
Welcoming today's consultation Matthew Fell, chief UK policy director at the CBI, said: “Transparency can be a catalyst for action in tackling the ethnicity pay gap, in the same way that it has been so successful for gender.
“Reporting must be done in a way that is supported by both businesses and employees, to recognise the wide range of ethnic groups and legitimate staff concerns about intrusiveness where sample sizes are small.
“Companies want to work with the Government to achieve their goal of becoming more inclusive employers.”
(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Thur, 11th Oct 2018) London, Uk – –
At first glance, you’d think Risto Siilasmaa was an excitable man. “I thought I’d just grab a quick cappuccino. I didn’t realise they’d do this,” the Nokia chairman enthuses, signalling to his coffee where an image of a horse has been created out of the foam.
Yet, excitable is the last word you’d use to describe Risto when he launches into a brief summary of Nokia’s 150-year history, his voice calm and measured as he thinks carefully before speaking.
Risto took the reins of Nokia as chairman in 2012, when the firm was still reeling from the launch of Apple’s iPhone in 2007. Up until that point, Nokia had held 40pc of the global handset market, had achieved a market capitalisation of more than $290bn (£220bn) and accounted for around 4pc of Finland’s GDP.
However, Apple’s bet on smartphones sent shockwaves through the market. It caused Nokia’s share of the global handset market to plunge to 3pc over the next six years and, eventually, led to the sale of its mobile business to Microsoft in late 2013. Nokia's demise was spectacular and sudden.
“We were for a brief period of time a company basically without a business,” Risto explains. “We had to decide what our business should be, and we chose to be a major player in digital communications infrastructure for both tele-operators as well as enterprises.
“There were lots of heroic deeds done by many people, and obviously it was a very emotional journey because Nokia has a special place in Finland and also worldwide. Many people think of Nokia very warmly as they started their journey in the mobile world with a Nokia handset, so we felt we needed to make sure that Nokia continued.”
The company’s transformation under Risto has been significant. Since selling its mobile phone business, Nokia is now a smaller beast, with a market capitalisation of around $29bn. But, even at that size, it is one of the largest telecoms equipment companies in the world, propelled by its €16bn (£14bn) takeover of French rival Alcatel Lucent in 2016 which saw it enter into the domain of fibre-optic connectivity and routers.
Nokia has been seen as the dominant player in the West in this space for years, gaining a reputation for being better managed than its Baltic rival Ericsson. But with a new chief executive installed at the helm of Ericsson last year, its standing as the European market leader has been thrown into doubt.
“Two years ago if you asked people like me Ericsson versus Nokia, I would have said Ericsson is a dog of a company,” Liberum’s Janardan Menon says. “I would have said they were bloated and didn’t know how to do anything, and that Nokia was a lean mean fighting machine, but the last few quarters have proved that that is not correct.”
In the three months to the end of June, Nokia posted a 42pc fall in operating profit, missing market expectations, in a set of results made even more disappointing by the fact they came just one week after Ericsson announced it had swung to profit in the same period.
To add insult to injury, recent months have seen Nokia lose a number of high-profile contracts, including with Deutsche Telecom in Germany and with Vodafone in the UK.
However, Risto is confident that by spending more on research and development, Nokia can bat off competition and expand its business, especially as the 5G roll-out takes hold.
“We need to be successful in the business we are in and 5G is a major investment cycle,” he says.
“It is now starting and it will last many years, and keep growing on an annual basis for many years. It starts low and then it keeps on climbing up, so we have our hands full of work at the moment.”
In 2017, Nokia did spend more than Ericsson on R&D – around $5.2bn compared to the Swedish company’s $4.5bn.
However, even if both start ramping up spending dramatically, their budgets will still likely pale in comparison to those of Chinese companies. Earlier this year Huawei pledged to spend between $10bn and $20bn annually on R&D, and around 45pc of its employees are engaged in R&D-related activities.
Huawei is now one of the world’s biggest R&D spenders, alongside Amazon and Apple, and has won major contracts in Germany, Canada and the UK.
Given the vast resources of Huawei in the industry, it is fair to assume that Nokia and Ericsson are more than a little relieved that the US has essentially banned Huawei from doing business in the country amid concerns over security.
Recent reports which allege China planted microchips in equipment destined for the US to hack their systems are likely to add fuel to the fire, causing more regulatory barriers to be introduced against Chinese vendors.
Risto admits that, when it comes to reports such as these, Nokia benefits from the fact it is European.
“It is something all companies have to be aware of and prepare for, but we, being a Finnish company, feel we’re outside of all those ambitions of needing access to other people’s information. Our advantage is that we come from a country that is outside that activity.”
But even if this gives Nokia an edge over Chinese companies, this does not put it in the clear.
Ericsson also has this same advantage, and Liberum’s Menon says Nokia really has to “either bring what they have up to a much higher level of performance, or do something else to make their business more exciting”.
To be fair, there have been tentative steps by Nokia to enter into new markets in the past. It bought health tech business Withings two years ago and also previously owned HERE, a digital mapping business.
However, it sold HERE to German carmakers Audi, BMW and Daimler in 2015, and gave up on the health tech company after two years, selling it back to its founders at a substantial loss, and leading to some criticism that Nokia chokes whenever it has to make big moves.
In fact, the timing of the deal to sell Withings has caused some to question whether Nokia really knows the value of some of its businesses, coming just months before Apple unveiled its latest iteration of the Apple Watch which focuses exactly on health monitoring.
“It’s a good thing to experiment and try out new things,” Risto counters. “If you never try new things, you never have to withdraw, and then you can say that you never withdraw, but we would rather try out things in multiple domains. If we don’t feel that they are for us, then we’d rather pull the trigger quickly than let things drag for many years.”
And Nokia is always on the lookout for new opportunities, keeping tabs on companies across different spaces which are working on novel technology.
“It’s one reason we have our venture capital arm, so we can first invest in companies, and then partner with those companies if they do something that may be useful for us. Then we can decide to buy some of them, if they develop into something that is truly important and attractive.
“We have a list of 1,200 companies that we are tracking for intelligence purposes because we can’t do everything internally. Nobody can predict which companies will come up the winning solution so you have to hedge your bets.
“It might be that we pick the wrong horse,” he says, pointing again to his now-empty cup. “Nokia is over 150 years old and we have been in many many industries. We have been really big in many of them and then we have pivoted after 30 years in a single business towards something else and again become quite successful in that. Yes, in some of them we never really became successful, but then we changed course, and I’m sure we will pivot again one day.”
By Hannah Boland