A shipping firm defends ‘no-deal’ Brexit ferry amid criticism it doesn’t currently have any ships

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 31st Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

Politicians raise concerns after a lucrative contract to run extra ferries is handed to a company which has never operated a ship.

A shipping firm handed a £13.8m contract to run extra ferries in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit, has defended itself amid criticism it doesn't currently have any ships.

Questions were raised over the Government's preparations after it emerged Seaborne Freight was one of three companies awarded contracts totalling £108m last week to lay on additional freight crossings to ease the pressure on Dover.

Seaborne said it was on track to start twice-daily sailings by the end of March – when the UK is due to leave the EU – having initially planned to launch Ramsgate-Ostend crossings during February.

The company said in a statement that it had been working since 2017 on plans to reintroduce ferry sailings from Ramsgate starting in early 2019.

It said that a “development phase” included “locating suitable vessels, making arrangements with the ports of Ostend and Ramsgate, building the infrastructure, such as bunkering, as well as crewing the ferries once they start operating”.

The company plans to start with two ships in late March and increase to four by late summer, the statement added.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “This contract was awarded in the full knowledge that Seaborne Freight is a new shipping provider, and that the extra capacity and vessels would be provided as part of its first services.

“As with all contracts, we carefully vetted the company's commercial, technical and financial position in detail before making the award.”

Seaborne said its difficulties included narrow berths at the Kent port.

Its statement also said: “It was intended to start the service in mid-February but this has now been delayed until late March for operational reasons.

“This coincides with the Department for Transport's Freight Capacity Purchase Agreement with Seaborne which is part of their preparations to increase ferry capacity in the unlikely event of a no-deal Brexit.”

Ministers faced questions over the contract from across the political divide.

Paul Messenger, a Conservative county councillor for Ramsgate, questioned in a BBC interview whether the government had carried out sufficient checks on the firm, saying: “It has no ships and no trading history so how can due diligence be done?”

Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi, a campaigner for a second referendum, said: “We know our ports aren't ready for a no-deal disaster, but is hiring a firm that's never dealt with this kind of thing before really going to help?

“This idea should have been sunk before it saw the light of day”, she concluded.

Ramsgate has not had a cross-Channel service since operators TransEuropa collapsed in 2013.

New EU fishing rules could have ‘grave’ impact on UK industry

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 31st Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

New EU rules on fishing quotas could have a “grave” impact on the UK's fishing industry, a House of Lords committee has said – just a day before the new policy is introduced.

Under previous rules, crews often discarded, into the sea, fish that took them over their quota for that species.

But under the new policy, fishers must bring the full haul back to shore. This change is to stop fish being wasted.

The legislation has been called “badly designed” by UK industry bodies.

The House of Lords EU Energy and Environment sub-committee heard evidence that the legislation could mean fishermen hitting their annual quotas much earlier in the year and have to stop fishing.

The committee was told this would be particularly problematic in “mixed fisheries” where it would be hard for boats to avoid catching a fish species for which they have a very low quota.

Once they reached their quota for a particular species, fishers would be forced to choose between halting operations for the rest of the year or breaking the law by continuing to fish for other species and discarding anything over quota.

The committee also said it had worries about how the rules – which come into effect in full after a four-year phasing-in period – would be enforced.

It said patrol vessels would only be able to cover a small percentage of boats, creating a temptation for fishers to break the rules.

Committee member Lord Krebs said: “It is deeply concerning that so many people – fishers, environmental groups, even the enforcement agencies themselves – do not think these new rules can be implemented from January 1.”

He added: “Most people we spoke to thought nothing would change – fishers will continue to discard, knowing the chances of being caught are slim to none and that to comply with the law could bankrupt them.”

Barrie Deas, the chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, said the rules were “badly designed” and would result in boats having to stop fishing for long stretches after reaching quotas on specific species.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was working with the industry to address the challenges posed by the new sustainable fishing policy.

The committee is due to publish its report on the implementation and enforcement of the EU “landing obligation” in February.

Africa’s Top 10 Most Expensive Homes

Source: Alux

In this video we'll try to answer the following questions: What's the most expensive home in Africa? Which are the most expensive homes in Africa? Which are the top 10 most expensive homes in Africa? How much is the most expensive home in Africa? How much are the top most expensive homes in Africa? How much is Aliko Dangote's home? How much is Mike Adenuga's home? How much is Folorunsho Alakija's home? Where are the most expensive homes in Africa?

HMV music retailer poised to enter second administration in six years

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 28th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

Music retailer HMV is poised to enter administration for the second time in six years, a move that would affect 2,200 staff at more than 120 stores.

HMV's sales have been hit by competition from streaming services and online retailers.

The BBC understands the company could appoint administrators as soon as Friday.

In 2013, HMV was taken over by Hilco, which specialise in restructuring companies.

Hilco bought 141 stores from the chain, in a deal worth about £50m.

The firm saw HMV host live events in store, with musicians including Kylie Minogue, Stormzy and The Darkness.

‘Sand not rocks'

Digital music revenue overtook sales of physical formats like CDs and records for the first time in 2012.

Since then, online shopping and downloads and streaming provided by platforms such as Amazon, Spotify and Netflix, have continued to eat into sales of physical music.

Julie Palmer, partner at business consultancy Begbies Traynor, says the fall of HMV has been “coming for many years”.

She added; “It has been revealed that the business turnaround has been built on a bed of sand rather than rocks.”

Weak retailing

Richard Lim, Chief Executive, Retail Economics, said HMV's situation came amid a weak retailing climate: “Poor Christmas trading has claimed its first victim.”

While Christmas is normally a time of higher revenues for retailers, the number of shoppers hitting the post-Christmas sales dipped this year.

Britain's shops have also faced uncertainty over Brexit, which sparked a fall in the pound and therefore raised the price of imported goods, rising labour costs, higher business property taxes and unseasonably warm weather.

HMV, famous for its iconic logo featuring a dog and trumpet, is Britain's last surviving national music retailer.

It was launched by English composer Edward Elgar in 1921, selling gramophones, radios and popular music hall recordings.

British workers switch to new jobs in record numbers in show of strength for economy

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Fri, 28th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

Britons are switching jobs in record numbers, analysis of official figures shows, as the tight labour market helps workers secure higher pay.

More than one in every 40 workers moved to a new job in the three months to September, amounting to 860,000 people giving up one position to take another role.

The highest number in the Office for National Statistics’ records going back to 2004, it signals how employers are struggling to find and keep staff.

The number of people in work overall has climbed over that period to a record high of more than 32m, but even as a proportion of those in employment the number of job-switchers is at its highest since before the financial crisis.

This is an important indicator of the strength of the economy as it shows workers are prepared to take a risk by moving to a new job.

Such big steps are typically rewarded with a bigger pay packet. Job movers receive an average pay rise of 7pc, which is similar to the amount gained in a promotion. Even those who do not move are starting to see faster pay growth as employers have to offer higher wages to keep them in post.

Unemployment is at just 4.1pc, one of the lowest rates in decades, which is forcing employers to increase pay ­offers. The average pay settlement across a company’s workforce is 2.5pc to 3.5pc, according to the Bank of ­England’s agents around the country, up from 2pc to 3pc in 2017.

It is starting to affect pay across the economy as a whole. Economist George Buckley at Nomura expects average earnings to rise by 3.5pc in 2019, up from 2.9pc in 2018.

At the same time he predicts inflation will fall from 2.5pc to 2pc as oil prices and so fuel and energy costs fall, so real wages will rise by 1.5pc.

“The wage numbers have already been quite strong,” he said, which gave workers a boost in the run-up to ­Christmas.

Falling inflation could knock workers’ ability to ask for more money in cash terms, however, moderating the improvement.

“Inflation is slowing down so there will be less ability for workers to claim for higher wages,” he said. “Even so we have real wages going up quite strongly.”

Employers are also trying to find ways to keep staff without offering more cash.

“Despite the tightening labour market, many contacts managed to contain pay-bill growth by targeting pay awards at key skills or staff,” the Bank of England’s agents found.

Recruiters are reporting a similar pattern. “One of the big shifts is that more employers are making it very, very clear that from day one they are happy to discuss flexible working arrangements,” said Tom Hadley at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation.

“Candidates are looking for pay, but it is not often top of the list. It is more often about the workplace culture and flexible working which is definitely coming to the fore. It creates a real ‘stickiness’ for people not leaving organisations.”

By  Tim Wallace 

France’s Vinci to pay 2.9 billion pounds for majority stake in Gatwick airport

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 27th Dec, 2018) London, UK —

(Reuters) – France’s Vinci (SGEF.PA) is paying about 2.9 billion pounds for a majority stake in Gatwick, adding the second busiest airport in Britain to its portfolio despite the shadow of Brexit.

Expected to close by June next year, the deal to acquire a 50.01 percent stake would make Gatwick the single largest asset in Vinci’s airport network, which would grow to 46 airports spanning 12 countries, the French company said on Thursday.

“The transaction represents a rare opportunity to acquire an airport of such size and quality,” it said in a statement.

Vinci has been expanding into faster growing and more profitable concessions such as airports and motorways, as well as in engineering projects for the energy industry, to counter signs of weakness elsewhere in the construction sector.

The French group is investing despite short-term uncertainty about the impact on travel of Britain’s departure from the European Union at the end of March.

Gatwick made unwelcome headlines last week after drone sightings caused 36 hours of travel chaos for more than 100,000 Christmas travellers.

Gatwick Chief Executive Stewart Wingate, who will remain in his role, said the airport was learning lessons to avoid a repeat of the disruption.

“While today's announcement marks an exciting moment in Gatwick's future, my team and I remain focused on doing everything we can to help ensure that travel runs as smoothly as possible for everyone over the rest of the festive period,” he said in a statement here.


Vinci is buying the stake in Gatwick from existing shareholders, and the remaining 49.99 percent minority will be managed by investment group Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), Vinci said.

After the deal, GIP will halve its stake to 21 percent and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority will be left with 7.9 percent.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System will retain 6.4 percent, the National Pension Service of Korea 6 percent and Australian sovereign wealth fund the Future Fund Board of Guardians will have 8.6 percent.

In the year to March 2018, Gatwick reported total revenue of 764 million pounds and handles around 46 million passengers annually.

The Gatwick deal follows Vinci’s acquisition earlier this year of the airports management portfolio of Airports Worldwide, which allowed it to enter the United States and expand in Europe.

Between 2014 and 2017, Vinci Airports’ revenue grew 196 percent, driving the concessions business up 19.3 percent, while Vinci Construction fell 9.5 percent in the same period.

Vinci shares were up 0.6 percent by 0945 GMT.

By Zuzanna Szymanska

Boxing Day sales fall flat despite huge discounts by retailers

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Thur, 27th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

The Boxing Day sales fell flat as the number of people heading to the shops dropped for the third year in a row, despite retailers to offer huge discounts. 

Average footfall across the UK fell by 3.1 per cent, experts said, disappointing retailers who had hoped that the festive period would provide a boost at the end of a bad year. 

Despite some queues outside stores in the early hours of the morning, many of those looking for a bargain chose to do so online, where more than half of all products were reduced and the average reduction was at a record high of 43 per cent. 

Poor sales means that retailers are likely to continue slashing prices as low as possible with discounts continuing way into January. 

But the sales could see an increase in the number of profit warnings in the new year issued in the new year, experts warned, as many of the items sold online will be done so at a loss.  

As shops began to close their doors figures from retail intelligence specialists Springboard showed that footfall was down by an average of 3.1 per cent from Boxing Day last year. 

The High Street, which saw a drop of 1.1 per cent by 4pm, was not as badly hit as out of town retail parks and shopping centres, where footfall was down by 5.3 per cent and five per cent on average. 

This is because shoppers are treating it as a leisure activity, and therefore picking a spot where they can also enjoy a coffee or lunch, the analysts believe.

Though the figures represent the third consecutive year-on-year fall, it is more modest than the 5.5 per cent drop between 2016 and 2017. 

Over the last few years, footfall on Boxing Day has consistently been about 10 per cent lower than on Black Friday and Springboard say that the latest figures show that it is losing its importance as a shopping day. 

However, online sales were predicted to rise from last year with average discounts of 43 per cent, up six per cent since last year, according to research by LovetheSales.com, a discount aggregator. They also found the more than 53 per cent of all products were discounted. 

Clothing saw the biggest discounts, with an average of 46 per cent off and online retailer Asos, which issues a profit warning earlier this month, offering reductions of up to 89 per cent. 

Liam Solomon, retail analyst at LovetheSales.com said “Since late December discounts have remained uncharacteristically high – we're expecting this trend to continue deep into January with better discounts, as retailers try to shrug off a tough 2018. We expect the best bargains will be predominantly in fashion and in particular warm clothing.”

But Vicky Brock, director of data at ReBOUND returns, warned: “After the trading year that 2018 has been retailers desperately need to get people into the stores. 

“An online sale is more costly than in a physical store because you have a much higher return rate. If shops reduce something by 70 per cent then they might make a little bit of a margin selling it in a store but they are going to lose money or not make anything selling it online.”

She said that retailers are now likely to “discount quite hard” to get rid of left over stock and “draw a line under a horrible year”. 

Richard Perks, Director of Retail Research at Mintel, said that consumers could expect to see bumper discounts this year as “there is probably going to be quite a lot of stock to clear this Christmas” but heavy discounts could lead to a number of profit warnings in the new year. 

Chris Daly, chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Marketing, added: “The quiet high streets across the country confirm that the days of setting the alarm to be first in line for the Boxing Day sales are long gone.

“Today's low footfall figures represent the final chapter in the tale of an exceptionally bleak year for traditional retail, when even high street giants considered ‘too big to fail' stumbled.

“Low consumer confidence has fuelled relentless discounting both online and on the high street, starving high street stalwarts of passing trade.”

It has been a torrid year for retailers with notable high street names such as Poundworld and Maplin falling into administration, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams announcing plans to shutter stores, while Superdry, Carpetright and Card Factory issued profit warnings.

They retailers have been battling higher costs, low consumer confidence and people increasingly shopping online. The trading statements which will show just how hard they have been hit are expected in January. 

 By Hayley Dixon 

Local councils to bid on £675m fund to reinvigorate struggling high streets

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 26th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

The fund comes at the end of a terrible year for high street retailers, with mass store closures, job losses and profit warnings.

Local councils are being invited to bid for a share in a government fund set up to help reinvigorate the country's struggling high streets.

The £675m fund was announced by chancellor Philip Hammond in October's Budget but the bidding process opens today.

It comes after the report of a panel led by Sir John Timpson, which called for a community-driven approach to transforming the high streets into “community hubs”.

Communities minister Jake Berry said: “We all know high streets are changing, we can't hide from this reality.

“But we're determined to ensure they continue to sit at the heart of our communities for generations to come.

“To do this we have to support investment in infrastructure, boosting local economies and ensuring people are able to get the most out of their local high streets.”

One of the main challenges for high streets is online shopping: in 2000, it accounted for less than 1% of retail sales while in August 2018 almost a fifth of all retail sales took place online.

Projects for those using the fund could include supporting regeneration, reconfiguring space, increasing the number of homes for young and old people, more work space and reducing vehicle congestion.

It caps off a terrible year for retailers, with Poundworld and Maplin among those entering administration, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams deciding to close stores and Superdry, Carpetright and Card Factory among those issuing profit warnings.

Nearly 150,000 jobs have been axed from the sector this year and, with shoppers spooked by Brexit uncertainty, there are fears next year may not be much better.

Worried retailers even launched Boxing Day sales early this year, with Debenhams offering up to 50% off some items before its traditional Boxing Day sale and John Lewis starting its clearance online for some products at 5pm on Christmas Eve.

Boxing Day deals at Marks & Spencer were online at midnight on Christmas Day and supermarkets were also in early, with Sainsbury's, for example, reducing electrical items from 23 December.

Figures show footfall was up in the last few days before Christmas, with 27.4% more trips made to non-food stores in the UK on Christmas Eve this year compared to last, according to Ipsos Retail Performance.Dying high street ‘not my fault'Mike Ashley of Sports Direct tells MPs he is not to blame

Sportswear and outdoor leisure stores saw the largest gain on last year, up 44.1%, followed by department and general variety stores, up 30.4%.

Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, said: “The surge in shoppers to stores seen over the final few days before Christmas will give some solace to those in the sector, when they sit down to enjoy their roast turkeys today, after such a torrid year.”

But, of course, an increase in the number of shoppers does not necessarily mean an increase in the amount spent – for those figures, we will have to wait for the various stores' financial results at various times next year.

UK biotech firms thrive despite Brexit threat with £1.6bn from investors in 2018

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Wed, 26th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

Booming sector received nearly £1.6bn from investors in first eight months of 2018

Biotech is one of the most promising parts of the British drug industry, not least according to the investors who continue to pump vast sums into the sector despite the looming shadow of Brexit. In the first eight months of 2018 alone it received nearly £1.6bn, compared with £1.2bn for the entirety of 2017.

An unassuming building in a science park near the Hertfordshire town of Stevenage is hosting four biotech firms that hope to achieve a major breakthrough for the field – and go some way to justifying that faith from investors.

The premise of biotech is radical: it harnesses living organisms to fight diseases. These firms – Adaptimmune, Cell Medica, Autolus and Freeline Therapeutics – are working on so-called living medicines, which use human cells and genes, to treat conditions ranging from hard-to-treat cancers to haemophilia and eye diseases.

They are based at a government-funded cell and gene manufacturing centre, which opened in May and is the largest such collaborative centre in the world. Cell and gene therapies can fix genetic defects and reengineer patients’ cells to recognise and attack tumours and other diseases.

There are more than 60 biotech firms specialising in cell and gene therapy in the UK, making it the second-biggest cluster in the world after the US.

In Stevenage, Adaptimmune, Cell Medica and Autolus all focus on cancer while Freeline is working on therapies for bleeding disorders. Another UK firm, London-based Nightstar Therapeutics, has a gene therapy in late-stage studies to treat a rare retinal disorder that leads to blindness.

Keith Thompson, the CEO of Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT), who set up the Stevenage centre, believes that turning cells and genes into living medicines can offer cures rather than just treating symptoms – and could be exported by Britain around the world. He describes it as “an absolute revolution”.

He is optimistic despite the looming threat of Brexit. “We’re trying to take the UK science into a new industry and not let it bleed offshore.”

Simon Pegg, the director at Adaptimmune, which is developing T-cell therapies for cancer, says the re-engineered cells start working straight away and cancer patients can see benefits within a week. In T-cell therapy, white blood cells called T-cells are taken from a patient. They are refrigerated and shipped to be reprogrammed to combat cancer cells, and then frozen under liquid nitrogen before being transported back to the clinical site for infusion into the patient.

However, there are challenges. Living therapies are expensive to make, resulting in a high price tag, and unlike traditional drugs cannot be stored in blister packs in a pharmacy.

Along with others, CGT is working hard to scale up the new therapies so they become routine treatments in Britain. The Stevenage centre will eventually be able to make 6,000 patient doses a year.

Three new government-funded treatment centres, where patients will receive cell and gene therapies, are also in the works – in the north, Manchester, and the Midlands and Wales.

There has been a string of positive news recently. In October, a stem cell gene therapy for severe inherited blood disorders that is being developed by London-based Orchard Therapeutics, a spinout from University College London, was given priority status by industry regulator the European Medicines Agency.

By Julia Kollewe

Social media craze sparks liqueur sales boom thanks to cocktail

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Tue, 25th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

Instagram appeal of aperitifs helps sell 42m bottles in UK, with summer figures rising by 56%

Liqueurs enjoyed a revival in 2018, with British people consuming 42m bottles at home or in pubs, bars and restaurants in an attempt to keep up with the social media cocktail craze.

UK shops recorded a bumper year for bottle sales over the 12 months to early September, helped by a summer heatwave that boosted the appeal of cocktails such as the Aperol spritz and herbal bitter Campari.

“This summer saw an explosion in popularity of herbal bitter liqueurs and red-orange aperitifs mixed with sparkling wine,” said the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA). “These drinks, served in pretty stem glasses, proved very Instagrammable, and consumers were keen to share their snaps of the vibrant, colourful cocktails on social media.”

After buying drinks at the almost 74% of UK bars that now serve cocktails across the country, consumers were increasingly keen to copy drinks enjoyed on a night out.

The latest figures released by the trade body show that shoppers expanded their drinks cabinet, resulting in a 56% rise in non-cream liqueur sales at UK shops and supermarkets over the 12 weeks to 8 September.

It means shoppers bought 4m bottles over the period, up 1.4m from a year earlier. The trend will have been welcomed by shops across the country, which sell a bottle for Aperol for about £10-£12. Campari’s range, meanwhile, can run up to £16 a bottle.

Cream liqueurs such as Baileys and Kahlua have also grown in popularity, with sales in shops and supermarkets jumping 33% over the 12-week period to early September, to about 1.7m bottles.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the trade association, said: “In the past liqueurs have often been overlooked in the spirits category, but the WSTA market report shows a surge in sales in the UK’s shops and supermarkets in 2018.

“This is partly down to Britain’s long, hot summer, when tall cocktails over ice were a welcome relief in the heatwave. But the liqueur boom has also been influenced by people sharing cocktail creation trends on social media, with consumers keen to recreate these drinks at home.”

By Kalyeena Makortoff

Huawei’s kit removed from UK’s police force and other emergency services

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Tue, 25th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

BT has confirmed that equipment made by Huawei is being removed from the heart of a communication system being developed for the UK's police forces and other emergency services.

It follows a statement from BT earlier this month that it was swapping out the Chinese firm's kit from the “core” of its 3G and 4G mobile networks.

The Sunday Telegraph was first to report the latest development.

It said the move could extend work on the late-running £2.3bn project.

BT is covering the cost of the switch. It does not believe the changeover will lead to a further delay.

Priority access

The Emergency Services Network (ESN) was originally due to be completed by the end of 2019.

At that point it was meant to replace an existing Motorola-owned radio system called Airwave, which is used by the police, fire and rescue, and ambulance services.

The ESN is intended to give its users “secure” priority access to EE's 4G network, which is being extended via additional radio frequencies in rural areas and new mast sites. It should be cheaper to run than Airwave while also providing superior voice and data capabilities.

But the effort is overrunning, and in September the Home Office announced that it would pay for use of Airwave until the end of 2022 with scope for a further extension if required.

EE won the contract to roll out the ESN in 2015, a year before the network provider was acquired by BT.

Since then, it has become subject to a BT policy that Huawei's kit should not be used at the core of its mobile networks to push customers' data about.

Instead, BT limits the equipment to periphery parts such as phone mast antennas.

“We have ongoing plans to swap to a new core network vendor for ESN, in line with BT's network architecture principles established in 2006,” a spokesman for EE told the BBC.

“This will be managed with no disruption to the ESN service.”

He added that it was still EE's intention to offer “full capability” of the system by 2020.

BT has not been explicit about the reasons behind its policy.

But security concerns have been raised about the use of Huawei's network infrastructure products, with the chief of MI6 Alex Younger recently saying Britain needed to decide how comfortable it was “with Chinese ownership of these technologies”.

Even so, the Financial Times reported last week that telecoms executives are opposed to an outright ban, warning that such a move would set back deployment of 5G in the UK by up to a year.

Huawei has repeatedly rejected suggestions that it poses a risk and denies having ties to the Chinese government beyond those of being a law-abiding taxpayer.

‘Super Saturday’ fails to boost retailers as xmas shoppers hold out for last minute bargains

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 24th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

The so-called “Super Saturday” before Christmas saw an incremental boost in shoppers, according to latest data from retail experts Springboard.

High Street footfall rose by 1% on last year, and was up 6.9% on the previous Saturday, figures show.

However, overall footfall still declined by 0.7% on last year.

“It was a bit of a last-minute burst, but it's not good,” Springboard's insight director Diane Wehrle told the BBC.

The reason for the incremental rise is that Christmas shoppers have been holding out until the last minute for bargains, but aggressive discounting has not drawn the crowds of consumers it might once have done.

“The discounting is a real issue. People are buying less and what they're buying is at a lower price, so this is bad for retailers as they're left with more stock and they're selling it at a lower profit,” said Ms Wehrle.

Springboard noted that footfall has fallen on the last Saturday before Christmas every year consecutively for the last decade.

This phenomenon has also been observed with Boxing Day sales.

Ms Wehrle thinks one reason for the drop in footfall is that people avoid shops when they do not have the money to spend, and this year consumers are definitely spending less on Christmas.

“In the past year, wages didn't increase with price rises,” she said.

“Now that has changed a bit, wage inflation is above price inflation, but the problem is consumers have had to spend a year funding that through savings, wages, loans or credit cards, so now they're conscious they don't want to spend too much as they have to pay back some of those loans.”

RBS applies for a German banking licence to maintain access to European- FT

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Mon, 24th Dec 2018) London, UK —

(Reuters) – Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS.L) has applied for a German banking licence to help maintain access to European markets after Britain’s exit from the European Union, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

The bank has plans to replace its current Frankfurt branch with a newly licensed unit, according to the report. RBS already has one licence in continental Europe due to its takeover of Dutch bank ABN Amro in 2007.

The new unit will have the responsibility of processing and settling euro-denominated payments, managing euro liquidity and offering loans to large German clients along with attracting their deposits, the FT reported.

RBS did not respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.

In October, the company said it had set an extra 100 million pounds aside to account for possible bad loans as a result of Brexit uncertainty.

By Kanishka Singh 

Jim Rohn – “True Happiness is not contained in what you get, happiness is contained in what you become”

Source: Habits of the wealthy

About Jim Rohn : Emanuel James Jim Rohn (September 17, 1930 – December 5, 2009) was an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. Jim Rohn's rags to riches story played a large part in Jim Rohn's work, which influenced others in the personal development industry. Emanuel James Jim Rohn was born in Yakima, Washington, to Emanuel and Clara Rohn. Jim Rohn's owned and worked a farm in Caldwell, Idaho, where Jim Rohn grew up as an only child. Jim Rohn started Jim Rohn's professional life by working as a stock clerk for department store Sears. Around this time, a friend invited Jim Rohn's to a lecture given by entrepreneur John Earl Shoaff. In 1955, Jim Rohn joined Shoaff's direct selling business AbundaVita as a distributor. In 1957, Jim Rohn resigned Jim Rohn's distributorship with AbundaVita and joined Nutri-Bio, another direct selling company. It was at this point that the company's founders, including Shoaff, started to mentor Jim Rohn. After this mentorship, Jim Rohn built one of the largest organizations in the company. In 1960 when Nutri-Bio expanded into Canada, Shoaff and the other founders selected Jim Rohn as a vice president for the organization.

Why competition and the current U.S. economic climate is forcing Disney Parks to expand and raise prices

Source: Business Insider

Competition and the current U.S. economic situation are forcing Disney Parks to expand and raise prices. In 2018 Disney World raised its prices twice and switched to a dynamic pricing model. The new model prices out its early adopters in the middle class from peak park months.

The billionaire who turned a small business in a shed into the biggest electronics operation on the planet

Source: Bloomberg

Foxconn is known for being the biggest assembler of iPhones. Terry Gou is the chairman and largest shareholder of Foxconn. He's also one of Taiwan's richest men. This is the story of how Gou turned a small operation in a shed into the biggest electronics operation on the planet. Now he's building a $14.5 billion factory in Wisconsin.

The rise and fall of Barnes & Noble the brick-and-mortar bookseller

Source: CNBC

Before Amazon challenged Barnes & Noble the brick-and-mortar bookseller was one of the most prolific American chains during the twentieth century. This holiday season could be the most crucial one of Barnes & Noble's history. Its sales have been in a decline for six years as the bookseller cedes market share to Amazon and consumers turn to their phones or portable tablets instead of books. There's been a revolving door in the retailer's C-suite, and activist investors have piled on. Now, Barnes & Noble is considering a sale of its business after receiving interest from a handful of parties, including its so-called modern-day founder and executive chairman, Leonard Riggio, and reportedly, U.K. retailer W.H. Smith.