Facebook to open new UK headquarters in London hiring 500 new staff

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com – – Mon, 21 Nov, 2016) London, UK – –

Facebook (FB.O) said it would expand its presence in Britain by 50 percent in 2017, joining other U.S. technology firms in increasing investment despite the uncertainty sparked by the country's vote to leave the European Union.

The social network firm said it would hire 500 new staff, adding to the 1,000 people it already employs in Britain, as Facebook gears up to open a new UK headquarters in London next year, following other firms drawn by talent and a thriving tech start-up scene.

Before the Brexit referendum in June, campaigners in favour of remaining in the EU had warned that international companies could seek to reduce their presence in Britain as a withdrawal from the bloc would make it a less attractive place to invest.

Some big banks such as Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Citi (C.N), which employ many thousands in London's financial centre, are said to be considering shifting some jobs elsewhere in Europe as a result of Brexit, a worry for the British economy where financial services account for around 10 percent of output and provide some of the best paying jobs.

Facebook's UK expansion comes after Google (GOOGL.O), owned by parent company Alphabet Inc, said earlier in November that it would invest an estimated 1 billion pounds, and make 3,000 new hires in the Britain.

“The UK is definitely one of the very best places to be a technology company,” Facebook vice-president of Europe, Middle East and Africa Nicola Mendelsohn said at a conference run by the CBI, an employers group, adding that it was too early to say what Brexit would mean for the movement of labour.

“The movement of talent is something…that matters to us.” she said, adding that Facebook employs people of 65 different nationalities in Britain.

Facebook opened its first engineering office outside the U.S. in London in 2012 and has been growing rapidly in the UK since. Its main UK operating unit's staffing increased by 90 percent in 2015 from 2014, according to its latest accounts, with more than half of those hired engineers.

It also employs hundreds of sales and marketing staff who tend to focus on larger clients or running regional teams, according to Facebook job ads and linkedIN profiles of staff.

Amazon (AMZN.O), which created 3,500 UK jobs in 2016 at its head office, research and development centres, customer service centres and distribution depots, plans a further 2,300 jobs at three new distribution centres in 2017.

AMAZING ECOSYSTEM

Such investments have helped Britain's tech sector to shine at a time when some other firms are less optimistic.

A recent survey showed that three out of four companies with sales between 100 million pounds and 1 billion pounds have considered moving operations to the European continent in the wake of the vote.

Mendelsohn said that Britain needed to work hard to keep its position as a global hub for technology.

ALSO IN TOP NEWS

“We need to make sure that we continue to look outwards and not inwards; we need to stay competitive, and we need to remain a welcome home to tech,” she said.

London ranked no.1 for start-ups in the 2016 European Digital City Index, and Google said the talent pool, educational institutions, and passion for innovation helped it decide to invest more in Britain, sentiments echoed by Mendelsohn.

“It's a place that our engineers want to come and work at, it's a place that we see this amazing ecosystem, not of just tech companies but also of creative companies coming together inspiring, fuelling one another,” she said.

Facebook has a complex corporate structure for tax purposes and declared Dublin as its European headquarters which means almost no taxable profits are reported in the UK. It also has significant historic tax losses on its books, which means any cut in corporation tax would have little impact on its finances.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is reported to be considering cutting corporation tax from the 20 percent headline rate in a move to attract companies away from other parts of the EU to Britain.

(Additional reporting by Tom Bergin; Editing by Kate Holton and Alexander Smith)

By Sarah Young | LONDON

Theresa May U-Turns on putting workers on company boards

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Mon, 21 Nov, 2016) London, Uk – –

The Prime Minister has ruled out forcing companies to appoint workers to boards or create continental-style dual boards, despite her earlier complaint that too many directors are drawn from the same narrow social and professional circles.

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Annual Conference, Theresa May said that the Government would publish a Green Paper within weeks that will set out reforms to shareholder accountability, executive pay and employee representation.

She told business leaders: “I can categorically tell you that this is not about mandating works councils, or the direct appointment of workers or trade union representatives on boards.

“This is not about creating German-style binary boards which separate the running of the company from the inputs of shareholders, employees, customers or suppliers. Our unitary board system has served us well and will continue to do so.”

The update will please many businesses, who have privately lobbied against direct employee representation, citing fears over confidentiality and diluting boards’ primary responsibility to act in the interests of shareholders.

For advocates of the idea, Mrs May’s comments will represent a U-turn. As she campaigned for the Conservative leadership in July she pledged that “we’re going to have not just consumers represented on company boards, but workers as well”.

Mrs May said at the CBI Conference that the forthcoming Green Paper will be a “genuine consultation” with businesses on “what works” for employee representation.

She signalled a less radical approach but insisted reforms would ensure employees' voices are heard in the boardroom.

Mrs May said: “There are other routes that use existing board structures, complemented or supplemented by advisory councils or panels, to ensure all those with a stake in the company are properly represented.”

Over the summer, business groups lobbied for an existing director to be given responsibility for representing staff interests.

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, welcomed the apparently less interventionist approach, saying that businesses “recognise public concerns” over governance.

She added: “On employee engagement, different approaches will work for different businesses… whether that's employees on boards, employee committees, dedicated representatives, or other models that genuinely address the issue.”

On executive pay and shareholder accountability, there have been calls from the City for companies to use more discretion to curb bosses’ remuneration amid rising criticism.

The Investment Association, which represents most of the City's biggest investors, warned last month that big business needed to “rebuild trust” and called for better justification for executive pay increases.

Investors are split over whether companies should face annual binding votes on executive pay – currently only every three years – amid fears it could encourage short-term thinking.

Mrs May gave nothing away on executive pay but said: “There is nothing anti-business about this agenda.

“Better governance will help companies to take better decisions, for their own long-term benefit and that of the economy overall.”

By Christopher Williams

Fender Musical Instruments Corp challenge customers to commit for life

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bloomberg.com – – Mon, 21 Nov, 2016) London, Uk  – –

Each holiday season, thousands of teenagers tear gift wrap off shiny, new guitars. They giddily pluck at the detuned strings, thinking how cool they'll be once they're rock stars—even if almost all will give up before they ever get to jam out to “Sweet Child o' Mine.”

For them, it's no big deal to relegate the guitar to the back of the closet forever, in favor of the Playstation controller. But it is a big deal for Fender Musical Instruments Corp., the 70-year-old maker of rock ‘n' roll's most iconic electric guitars. Every quitter hurts.

“The industry's challenge—or opportunity—is getting people to commit for life,” said Andy Mooney, Fender's chief executive officer. “A pretty big milestone for someone adopting any form of instrument is getting them through the first song.”

The $6 billion U.S. retail market for musical instruments has been stagnant for five years, according to data compiled by research firm IBISWorld, and would-be guitar buyers have more to distract them than ever. So how do you convince someone to put down the iPhone, pick up a Stratocaster, and keep playing?

Beginning players, whether they're fickle teens or too-busy adults, have always quit the guitar at high rates. Guitar makers have never before made much of a concerted effort to keep them, Mooney said. But Fender estimates that nearly half its customers are first-time players, and it's making an effort to treat them as such.

Fender says it hauls in about a half-billion dollars a year in revenue and is on track to grow in the high single digits this year. That's still down from its $700 million in revenue in 2011, a number revealed when the company filed for an initial public offering in 2012 that was later withdrawn.

The task of keeping kids hooked on playing is a tricky one for a company still crawling back from post-recession struggles. In late 2012, as Fender fought to stay profitable, private equity firms TPG Growth and Servco Pacific took control of it. Last year, they brought on Mooney, a veteran executive who held posts at Disney, Nike, and Quiksilver, to make Fender more digital- and consumer-focused.

That means more apps, more connected devices, and a newfound focus on helping folks learn how to play their guitars. The hope is that players will get hooked early on cheap starter models, then upgrade to fancier guitars as they commit themselves to playing, with the most devoted among them evolving into collectors, their walls hung with high-end instruments. That all means more cash for Fender.

Almost everyone who picks up a guitar, about 90 percent, abandons it within the first year, according to Mooney. Many give up within three months, frustrated or unwilling to commit. Some people bounce to another instrument. And people quit electric guitars more often than acoustic ones, he said, because of the pain factor: Steel strings hurt delicate hands.

Over the next few years, the company will be releasing a suite of digital products to help keep new guitar players strumming along.

The first, a tuning app, teaches players how to change the pitch on their guitars, whereas most of the dozens of existing tuning apps assume some level of guitar proficiency. “When the kid plugs it in for the first time, it doesn't sound like a screaming cat when it comes out of an amp,” said Mooney. “We want to help with a lot of the basic stuff.”

Fender is also looking to release a practice-room app that can teach someone to play any song in their music library, along with a tone app that lets an amp emulate the sounds of famous guitarists. Fender's newest amp model, to be released next year, will be able to connect to apps wirelessly, through Bluetooth, to let players alter and share sound effects.
Fender says about 60 percent of its business is in guitars, both electric and acoustic; the rest is a mix of related products such as amps and picks. (The company acquired Aurisonics, a maker of medical and military-grade in-ear monitors, in January and announced new lines of earbuds.)

When it comes to selling guitars, color palettes have become more crucial than ever, said Mooney. Once, all anybody wanted was black, white, or sunburst. Now fashion is coming into play, and Fender is looking to collaborate with artists to create styles. This spring, its top-selling hue was metallic blue.

Nearly all Fender's business is done through traditional retailers; online sales from its own website make up less than 2 percent of total sales in North America. Mooney doesn't see that as a problem. Players need to touch, feel, and play a guitar before they buy one, he said, and his company prefers to use the internet as a learning tool for shoppers, rather than to drive sales.

Detractors have predicted the death of the electric guitar for years, pointing to the rise of rap and electronic dance music on pop charts.
But Mooney isn't worried. More women are playing guitar these days, he said—something he credits largely to Taylor Swift—and Fender now sees as many women as men playing the acoustic guitar, if not the electric. And although the mix of instruments sold is constantly shifting, guitar sales have actually grown over the past decade, he said. “The pendulum swings back and forth.”

By Kim Bhasin

Google, Facebook aiming to stop spread of fake news

 

People who got election news on Facebook might have been looking at more fake stories than real ones. BuzzFeed reached that surprising conclusion after analyzing the last three months of campaign coverage. The website studied how Facebook users engaged with bogus news stories, as compared to authentic ones. Jericka Duncan reports on what it means for voters.

Office stationery chain Staples shops to close following a £1 deal

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Fri , 18 Nov, 2016) London, Uk – –

Staples Stationary
Mike Mozart/flickr

The UK high street is losing another retail name as office stationery chain Staples shops will close following a £1 deal with a turnaround firm.

The move comes after US parent, Staples Inc, hired KPMG to explore options for its European operations after its attempted $6bn (£4.8bn) merger with US rival Office Depot was blocked by regulators.

Hilco, known for its turnaround of HMV, is buying Staples' UK business and is planning to phase out Staples 106 shops across the country, which employ more than 1,100 staff in total.

Paul McGowan of Hilco Capital said: “We are pleased to have concluded a transaction with Staples, Inc. and look forward to working with the UK team.”

“While retail in the UK has been challenged recently, a team led by retail veteran Alan Gaynor will work alongside the existing management team to build a plan for success for the business.”

Staples has online and business-to-business operations which could continue to trade.

“Agreeing to sell our UK retail business to Hilco aligns with our strategy of focusing on our North American and mid-market business, and is a meaningful step in that process,” said Staples chief executive Shira Goodman. She added that the company is still “evaluating strategic alternatives for the remainder of Staples Europe”.

Last month, the Telegraph reported that investment firm Cerberus, which bought billions of UK and Irish bank assets in the wake of the financial crisis, was in negotiations over a rescue deal for the Staples' European business, which includes 200 stores, for a nominal sum.

Staples has struggled for years as revenue declines and demand wanes for traditional office basics such as folders, ink cartridges and filing cabinets, and as shoppers hunt for bargains online. However, a restructuring plan last year meant that UK sales grew by 7pc to £116m and the business returned to the black with £3.4m of profits.

Staples’ difficulty follows the collapse of high street chains BHS, Austin Reed, American Apparel, My Local and Store 21 this year.

By Ashley Armstrong

Multi-national suppliers warned by Tesco not to raise prices following a drop in the pound

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com – – Thur, 17 Nov, 2016) London, UK – –

Tesco
Clive Darra/flickr

Britain's biggest retailer Tesco has warned its multi-national suppliers against pushing up prices following a drop in the pound just so they can maintain their reported profits.

In his first public comments since last month's “Marmitegate” row between Unilever and Tesco over who should take the hit from the weaker pound, the supermarket's Chief Executive Dave Lewis said that when there is a currency devaluation, multi-national businesses present results in both constant and current exchange rates.

“And the City (investors) completely understands it, they don't devalue a stock because of that, they understand it's part of the volatility of being in many countries,” Lewis told reporters on Thursday during a briefing at Tesco's headquarters at Welwyn Garden City, north of Londo

“The only thing we would ask of companies that are in that position is they don't ask UK customers to pay inflated prices in order that their reporting currency is maintained. They don't do that for countries outside of the UK,” he said.

The pound has fallen around 16 percent against the U.S. dollar since Britons voted on June 23 to leave the European Union, making imports more expensive. It is also down to a lesser extent against the euro.

Tesco scored a public relations coup in October when it briefly halted online sales of goods produced by Unilever after the Anglo-Dutch group sought to lift prices of popular brands such as Marmite. The two quickly reached an agreement, the terms of which have not been disclosed.

Last week, Mike Coupe, CEO of Sainsbury's, Britain's No. 2 supermarket group, said multi-national suppliers should take some of the pain of sterling's fall, arguing their profitability was higher than UK grocers'.

Lewis, who worked for Unilever for 28 years, recognised some suppliers were facing legitimate cost pressures. Under such circumstances, Tesco could try to offset this by, for example, changing recipes or finding cost savings.

“There's (inflationary) pressure. Some of it is justified and if we can't offset it then we work out how it is we can accommodate that between ourselves and indeed our partners,” said Lewis.

Though Britain's grocery market has seen two years of deflation, Lewis noted inflation coming through in some areas, calling out pork as an example.

“It's selective. By no means is it completely flat and across the board, it's very much commodity by commodity, product by product.”

The media briefing was held the day after Tesco hosted a seminar for investors and analysts which detailed the strategic drivers of its recovery.

Shares in Tesco have risen 43 percent this year after three straight quarters of underlying UK sales growth and a rise in market share following five years of losses.

Industry data published on Tuesday showed Tesco's sales rising at the fastest pace for three years.

Last month, the firm reported a 60 percent rise in first half operating profit and raised profitability targets.

By James Davey       (Editing by Mark Potter)

 

Heathrow Christmas Holiday Advert

Throughout their 70 years, Heathrow have specialised in reconnecting people with their loved ones, especially at this time of year, because coming home for Christmas is the best gift of all. Among the millions of seasonal passengers, there are some extra-special arrivals that have made it home in time for the big day…

Middle Class buy-to-let dream hampered by tough new mortgage affordability tests

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Thur, 17 Nov, 2016) London, Uk – –

Buy to let
Mark Moz/flickr

Property investors will face tough new mortgage affordability tests from next year which will herald the “beginning of the end of the middle-class buy-to-let dream”, experts have warned.

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, announced additional rules on buy-to-let which will result in ordinary investors being able to borrow far less towards their purchase.

Mr Hammond indicated he was concerned about “financial stability” following a boom in residential property investment as savers desperately try to find profitable places to put their money.

Many have turned to buy-to-let to fund retirement income after being effectively barred from putting more money in to their pensions by the Government. Low mortgage rates have made the investments attractive.

However, ministers have recently targeted buy-to-let properties with aggressive new taxes, including higher rates of stamp duty and the removal of tax relief on mortgage interest.

Experts fear that the announcement will make the investments unaffordable for many middle class people, closing down another potential saving opportunity.

Mr Hammond and Theresa May, the Prime Minister, are expected to come under pressure to ease the burden on savers with new tax breaks or government help in next week's Autumn Statement.

Under the plans to give the Bank of England extra powers, affordability checks are to be introduced for investors, who will now have to prove they can make a profit of 25 per cent profit from tenants even if large interest rate rises make their mortgage more expensive.

The Chancellor said: “It is crucial that Britain’s independent regulators have the tools they need to keep our financial system as safe as possible.

“Expanding the number of tools at the Financial Policy Committee’s disposal will ensure that the buy-to-let sector can continue to make an important contribution to our economy, while allowing the regulator to address any potential risks to financial stability.”

Ray Boulger, from John Charcol, a mortgage adviser, said: “The rationale for these stress tests are the same as those which were brought into the residential market to avoid people being unable to repay their mortgages if interest rates rise.

“If interest rates were to move up quickly that would cause buy-to-let investors a huge problem as they are too acclimatized to low rates. If rates rose sharply and they were unable to repay their mortgages en masse the market could suddenly be flooded with properties.”

From Jan 1 the Prudential Regulation Authority, the lending arm of the Bank of England, will impose new minimum affordability thresholds which will reject borrowers who make less than 25 per cent profit from their investment, or would no longer be able to afford mortgage repayments if interest rates rise to 5.5 per cent.

For example, someone with a £200,000 interest-only mortgage borrowing at 1.79 pc would have monthly mortgage payments of £299.

However, as these repayments would rise to £917 if their rate of repayment interest rose to 5.5 per cent, they would need to prove they could charge rent of £1,146 a month to be approved for the mortgage.

As the Bank rate is currently at a record low of 0.25 per cent, mortgage deals are cheaper than ever with many charging less than 2 per cent interest.

Andrew Montlake, director at Coreco, a mortgage broker, said: “Many people will see this as the beginning of the end of the middle class buy-to-let dream which is a big shame. “

Until recently middle-class savers have helped fuel a buy-to-let boom in Britain with more than two million savers funnelling cash into rental properties to help fund their retirement.

The Bank is forcing lenders to “toughen up” over concerns they have relaxed standards for landlords.

Prior to the announcement of the Bank's new rules, some lenders went further and tightened their criteria voluntarily with some, including Nationwide, now refusing to lend to landlords making rental profits of less than 45 per cent of their mortgage repayments.

When the building society announced the change in April this year, Paul Wootton, managing director of its buy-to-let arm, The Mortgage Works, said the move was a response to the change on tax relief.

He said: “This change is a proactive move that recognises the need to help safeguard rental cover for landlords over the coming years, and in advance of the forthcoming changes to mortgage interest tax relief.”

While would-be landlords are being locked out of the market, current landlords are rapidly looking to sell, studies have indicated.

One survey of almost 1,000 experienced private landlords by the Residential Landlords' Association found a quarter of buy-to-let investors are planning to sell their rental properties as a result of the Government tax changes.

By Katie Morley

 

The Latest Episode Of QLM Business Weekly Broadcasted Online On November 16th


QLM Business Weekly
This QLM Business Weekly Episode is going to include several interviews from UK entrepreneurs in different key industries.

QLM Business Weekly is an online show with the latest news and tips for business owners and consumers in the United Kingdom. Their latest episode will be available on November 16th, 2015. This is a 20-30 minute show which is hosted on the Digital Media Channel of QLMBusinessNews.com. This episode will mainly focus on small business owners and entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom.

This episode will interview five small business owners from different industries across the United Kingdom.

. Konstantinos Kapelas of “Total Health Now Clinic.” He will talk about – “Finding the Right Alternative Health Expert.”

. Sarah Cozens of “Nutkin Nannies.” She will talk about – “Finding the Right Nanny Agency.”

. Harrison Architects & Designers Ltd's Andrew Harrison will talk about – “Finding the right Architect and Interior Designer.”

. D H Plumbing & Heating Services' Danny Hensman will talk about – “Finding the Right Plumbing and Heating Company.”

. All Seasons Valeters' Nick Kyprianou is going to talk about – “Finding the Right Car Detailing Company.”

QLM Business News is a part of QLM Business Solutions Group which was founded by Henry Smith. Smith states that QLM Weekly was designed to assist small businesses and consumers in making informed purchasing decisions. The episode features numerous business experts from different industries who will educate the consumers on finding the right professionals in the relevant industries.

The show will teach you what questions to ask and what to look for when picking the right service provider in different industries. “The episode is full of company news, stories, updates, and interesting interviews with business leaders,” Henry added. “Come and learn by watching the show.”

You can watch the episode by clicking this link.

QLM Business Weekly!

The episode offers marketing analysis, interviews, stories, updates, and business news relating to small and medium-sized businesses in the United Kingdom. The episode focuses on a wide variety of industries such as business & finance, technology, trading, health & fitness, property & maintenance, relationships, travel, fashion & beauty, home & gardening, food & entertainment, education, pet care and a lot more.

Britain’s Unemployment Rate Unexpectedly Fell to its Lowest Level in 11 Years

Britain's unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to its lowest level in 11 years in the first three months after the Brexit vote, official data showed on Wednesday, but there were signs that a slowdown in the labour market could be coming.

The jobless rate edged down to 4.8 percent in the July-September period, compared with a median forecast of 4.9 percent in a Reuters poll of economists.

But the increase of 49,000 in the number of people in work was the slowest since the three months to March, and the number of people claiming unemployment benefit gathered speed in October, the Office for National Statistics said.

Britain's economy weathered the initial shock of the Brexit vote better than the Bank of England and almost all private-sector economists expected.

However, many firms are expected to act cautiously as they wait for more clarity on what Britain leaving the European Union means for them. The BoE expects the jobless rate to stand at 5.6 percent in two years' time.

“There are now clear signs of softness in the labour market following the vote to leave the EU,” Daniel Vernazza, an economist with Italian bank UniCredit, said, adding he expected a “slow burn” of gradually rising unemployment.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in October rose by 9,800, the biggest rise since May, the ONS said. Changes to the benefit system meant September's claimant count increase was revised up to 5,600 from a previous reading of 700.

“The moderate upward trend in the claimant count now is clear, suggesting that the main unemployment rate will begin to drift up soon,” Samuel Tombs, an economist at consultancy Pantheon Macroeconomics, said.

For people in work, wage growth is holding up. Total earnings including bonuses rose by 2.3 percent, unchanged from their pace in the three months to August, though below a Reuters poll forecast of 2.4 percent.

Excluding bonuses, earnings rose by 2.4 percent year-on-year, the fastest rate in a year and in line with expectations.

A survey of employers published on Monday by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development showed employers expected to make basic pay settlements of just 1.1 percent in 2017, squeezing living standards as inflation is expected to rise to around 3 percent after the recent fall in sterling.

Britain's trade unions said pay growth adjusted for inflation was already the slowest since early 2015. They urged finance minister Philip Hammond to give the economy a boost by investing in rail, roads, new homes and clean energy when he announces his first budget plans next Wednesday.

“And he must give a direct boost to pay by lifting the public sector pay cap and increasing the minimum wage,” Frances O'Grady, the head of the Trades Union Congress, said.

Separately, the ONS said productivity growth slowed in the third quarter. Output per hour rose by 0.2 percent, slowing from growth of 0.6 percent in the second quarter and the weakest quarterly improvement since late 2015.

By William Schomberg and David Milliken

(Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)

Amazon Strengthens Ties With Morrison Presenting Fresh Concerns For Ocado

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bloomberg.com – – Wed, 16 Nov, 2016) London, Uk – –

Amazon Online Retailer
simone.brunozzi/www.flickr.com

 Amazon.com Inc. extended its British tie-up with Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc, presenting a fresh concern for Ocado Group Plc as competition mounts for the U.K. online grocer.

Members of Amazon’s Prime service in parts of London and southeast England will soon be able to order from an expanded range of Morrison grocery products for delivery in as little as an hour. The regions being targeted are right on Ocado’s doorstep and will add to tensions between the supermarket chain and the online grocer only three months after they extended their own partnership. Ocado shares fell as much as 6.8 percent.

“Morrisons is completely cutting out Ocado in this new offer,” Andrew Gwynn, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, said in a note. Products for the new service will be picked from Morrison supermarkets and delivered by Amazon.

By strengthening ties with Amazon, Morrison is straining relations with the company that it partnered with to belatedly enter the online grocery market in 2013. Mounting competition is taking a toll on Ocado, which said in September that profits will likely fall below analysts’ estimates. The online grocer is also struggling in its efforts to license its warehousing technology to international retailers.

Ocado has been assured by Morrison that the supermarket “acknowledges and respects the exclusivity provisions in our agreement,” Ocado said by e-mail. These oblige Morrison to operate its own online grocery service within the confines of the partnership.

Ocado shares fell 6.1 percent to 265 pence at 9:58 a.m. in London. The stock is down 13 percent this year, headed for a third straight annual decline. Morrison shares rose as much as 1.4 percent.

The new agreement between Morrison and Amazon means Prime customers can now choose from a range of several thousand Morrison products compared with less than 1,000 previously. They will pay 6.99 pounds for a one-hour delivery slot and won’t be charged for groceries delivered within a two-hour window. Amazon has full control over the prices it charges for Morrison products.

Amazon’s move further underlines its intention to take on Britain’s supermarkets and the looming threat is causing incumbents to raise their game. J Sainsbury Plc, which is also concentrated in London and the south east of England, began trialing a one-hour delivery service in southwest London in September.

By Paul Jarvis and Sam Chambers

Carney face political heat in Britain for BoE’s low interest rates

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com – – Tue, 15 Nov, 2016) London, UK – –

Bank Of England
James Stringer/flickr

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said verbal attacks by politicians on central banks, such as criticism by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump of the U.S. Federal Reserve, were a “massive blame-deflection exercise”.

Carney has faced political heat in Britain for the BoE's low interest rates while Trump, during the U.S. presidential election campaign, accused the Federal Reserve of keeping rates low due to pressure from the Obama administration.

“The President-elect has voiced some views on the Fed and the stance of monetary policy,” Carney said in response to questions from members of Britain's parliament on Tuesday.

Carney said it was “very important” to explain that the causes of ultra-low interest rates in Britain and other rich countries went far beyond decisions made by central bankers

“An excessive focus on monetary policy in many respects is a massive blame-deflection exercise,” he told a committee in parliament.

Carney has previously said interest rates are low because they reflect weaker demand and investment, a trend that has been developing worldwide since the 1980s due to factors such as globalization, the impact of technology and aging populations.

Reversing this long-run trend was not in the BoE's power, Carney said on Tuesday, and he called on governments to step up.

“We could be stuck in this trap, and I use that word advisedly, for decades … if we don't see major structural reforms,” he told lawmakers.

The BoE cut interest rates to a record low of 0.25 percent in August to help the British economy cope with the impact of the decision by voters to leave the European Union in June.

“I WILL LEAVE JUNE 30, 2019”

Carney reiterated on Tuesday that the central bank had a neutral stance on future interest rate moves.

Weak October inflation figures were a blip and the BoE intended to tolerate an overshoot of its 2 percent inflation target as the economy digested sterling's sharp fall since June's Brexit vote, he said.

Carney also said he would not consider a further extension of his time in charge of the British central bank, which is now due to end in June 2019.

“I will leave June 30, 2019,” Carney said in response to a question during a regular meeting with lawmakers in parliament.
The Canadian said on Oct. 31 that he will stay in his job for an extra year, on top of the five he originally planned to stay in London, to help smooth Britain's departure from the EU, but he will depart two years short of a full term.

Carney came under heavy criticism from pro-Brexit politicians for warning before June's EU membership referendum of the economic risks of voting to leave the bloc.

Some British media have speculated that Carney might stay on beyond June 2019 if the government fails to conclude its exit from the EU by that date.

Carney said his decision to extend his time at the BoE by only one year had nothing to do with criticisms made by Prime Minister Theresa May of the “bad side effects” of low rates.

Asked about the impact of Brexit on Britain's banking sector, he said banks may start to relocate operations from Britain 18 months before it leaves the EU if a ‘hard Brexit' with poor access to EU markets looked likely.

(Additional reporting by Costas Pitas, Kate Holton, Estelle Shirbon and Adela Suliman; Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Stephen Addison and Hugh Lawson)

British government will be “unashamedly pro-business” to forge role outside the EU

 

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com – – Mon, 14 Nov, 2016) London, Uk – –

Union Jack
Mikey/flickr.com

The British government will be “unashamedly pro-business” as it seeks to forge the country's future role outside the European Union, but business must also act responsibly, Prime Minister Theresa May will say on Monday.

In a speech at Mansion House in the City of London financial district, May will say Britain must be the strongest advocate for free trade, but also manage the forces of globalisation so that everyone benefits from them.

Discontent among those seen as “left behind” by globalisation was considered a key driver of Britain's June 23 vote to leave the European Union.

“The government I lead is unequivocally and unashamedly pro-business … We will do everything we can to make the UK outside the EU the most attractive place for businesses to invest and grow,” May will say, according to extracts of the speech released in advance by her office.

“But in return, it is right to ask business to play its part in ensuring we build a country that works for everyone. And that British business, which is so often on the frontline of our engagement with the world … is seen not just to do business but to do that business in the right way.”

May will say that while businesses play a key role in creating jobs, generating wealth and supporting the economy, Britain must also recognise that the reputation of business can be undermined by those who “appear to game the system and work to a different set of rules”.

The government is due to put forward proposals later this year aimed at improving corporate behaviour, including tackling excessive executive pay. May has also previously talked about the responsibility of companies to pay their taxes.

The government will seek to use its new industrial strategy to help ensure that families and communities who may lose out from global trade can actually benefit from it, May will say.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Tom Heneghan)