Ryanair to cut three bases of operations in Germany as pressure on pilots increase to accept new pay deal

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Tue 21st, July 2020) London, Uk – –

The no-frills carrier threatens the futures of three bases in Germany as it piles pressure on pilots to accept a new pay deal.

Ryanair has taken aim at three bases of operation in Germany after pilots based in the country rejected proposed pay cuts.

The Ireland-based carrier, which has agreed new deals with UK-based pilots and cabin crew as it navigates the challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis, said it would shut its base at Frankfurt Hahn Airport from November.

A memo to German pilots also revealed that pilots there would receive details of their notice period this week.

The no-frills airline warned it was “likely” to close two further bases – at Berlin Tegel and Duesseldorf airports – following the summer season.

“We must move on with alternative measures to deliver savings, which regrettably will mean base closures and dismissals,” the email said.

There was no detail on how many jobs were under threat but it would be widely expected that both sides would come to an agreement to avert the closures.

The margin of the German pilots' rejection was small and recent experience, when Ryanair U-turned on plans to close down its Lauda subsidiary in Vienna, shows the airline is willing to back down when it gets what it wants.

The German Vereinigung Cockpit union had said in a statement before the base closure proposals were revealed that it had not given up hope of a deal.

“The employer would be well advised to get back to the negotiating table quickly now”, it said, though it maintained its opposition to the terms offered by Ryanair, saying the duration of the deal offered job security until March 2021 whereas pay cuts were demanded until 2024.

Avon reports the number of people signing up to be sales representatives had more than doubled

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Mon, 20th July2020) London, Uk – –

Number of new reps who sell products to people in their homes has more than doubled

Avon looks set to be calling at many more UK homes after the cosmetics company revealed that the number of people signing up to be sales representatives had more than doubled in the lockdown.

The company, which boasts 5 million “reps” globally, said it had seen a 114% “surge” in the number of new representatives joining its UK businesssince lockdown began.

Founded in 1886, Avon has been struggling to keep pace with changing consumer tastes and habits, and has faced increased competition from new brands backed by online influencers. But the company said the pandemic had prompted many people to look for new ways of earning cash, and that, amid a looming jobs crisis, growing numbers were on the hunt for opportunities to supplement their income.Advertisement

It said the spike in sign-ups came amid predictions that the economic impacts of Covid-19 would be “disproportionately felt by women”.

The company has also changed its commission structure, so that reps can now earn 20% on their sales of £1 and over. Previously sales had to reach £90 before reps qualified for commission.

Sian Erith, who lives in Norfolk,kickstarted her Avon business during lockdown as restrictions forced her to take a break from a career in hairdressing. Using social media to generate online sales at a time when personal selling was not possible, Sian said she earned £600 in her first three weeks.

Avon was founded in 1886 by David McConnell, a travelling book salesman who found that female customers – who often answered the door because their husbands were at work – were more interested in the free perfume samples he offered as an additional perk. McConnell recruited women to act as sales agents for the products he mixed from an office in New York.

Avon’s UK business launched in 1959, and the first “Ding dong, Avon calling” TV adverts aired in 1964, and it soon became a British catchphrase.

The rise of social media has fuelled rapid change in the beauty market, helping to launch brands backed by online influencers, such as Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty and Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics, which are now challenging the big, established names.

However, the company – now owned by the Brazilian beauty group Natura, also the owner of The Body Shop – remains one of the biggest names in the world of “direct selling” – which does not use shops – and claims to have a huge reach in the UK. It claims to be one of the top three beauty brands in the country “with six million women seeing an Avon brochure every three weeks”.

Angela Cretu, Avon’s chief executive, said: “As the recession tightens its grasp on communities in the wake of Covid-19, people are looking for new ways to earn.” She added that the company was preparing for “a tidal wave” of new sign-ups.

Cretu also said that many of the reps played a crucial role within their communities, as they often provided support to vulnerable individuals by picking up prescriptions and helping with shopping.

The 114% increase relates to those signing up between 23 March and 7 June this year compared with the same period in 2019.

By Rupert Jones

Marks & Spencer set to cut hundreds of jobs

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 20th July 2020) London, Uk – –

UK High Street stalwart Marks and Spencer is to cut hundreds of jobs as coronavirus continues to hit trading.

The retailer said 950 store management and head office jobs were at risk because it needed to accelerate its restructuring.

A spokesperson said the move marked “an important step” in it becoming a “stronger, leaner” business.

M&S was already undergoing a transformation that included cutting costs and closing some stores.

The firm said that because of the pandemic, those measures would be accelerated under a programme called Never The Same Again. M&S said it now wanted to “make three years' progress in one”.

M&S said it had started collective consultation with employee representatives and had set out plans to offer voluntary redundancy first to affected staff.

Sacha Berendji, director of retail, operations and property at M&S, said: “Through the crisis, we have seen how we can work faster and more flexibly by empowering store teams and it's essential that we embed that way of working.

“Our priority now is to support all those affected through the consultation process and beyond.”

M&S's food stores were open throughout the coronavirus lockdown, but trading in other parts of the business was severely affected. Clothing sales fell by 84% year-on-year at the lowest point, the firm said in May, warning that some customer habits had “changed forever”.

M&S was already struggling to adapt to the rise of online shopping and changing customer tastes.

The company had been facing increasing competition from fashion giants such as Primark on the High Street and Asos on the internet.

It is also one of the few big food retailers without its own internet-based delivery service. However, the retailer's partnership with Ocado starts in September, replacing the online grocer's existing deal with Waitrose.

In May, M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said that the impact of the virus lockdown had driven “effects and aftershocks” in the retail sector that would “endure for the coming year and beyond”.

Its latest announcement comes after a wave of redundancies on the High Street, with John Lewis, Boots and Debenhams among retailers announcing huge job cuts.

On Monday, Ted Baker confirmed it could cut about a quarter of its UK workforce after the coronavirus pandemic added to its financial difficulties.

The fashion retailer did not confirm the number of redundancies, but there are reports that 500 store and head office jobs will go.

“We have not taken this decision lightly and would like to thank all our colleagues for their hard work,” a spokesperson said. The move is intended to save about £6m by the end of the year.

Both part-time and full-time roles will be affected. About 200 jobs will go at the Ugly Brown Building, its London headquarters, with the rest from its 46 shops across the UK and Europe, as well as many store concessions.

Ted Baker had also been struggling before the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK. The firm reported a pre-tax loss of £79.9m in the year to 25 January, against a £30.7m profit the previous year.

Twitter steps up search for chief information security officer ahead of hack

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 16th July 2020) London, UK —

(Reuters) – Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) had stepped up its search for a chief information security officer in recent weeks, two people familiar with the search told Reuters, before the breach of high-profile accounts on Wednesday raised alarms about the platform’s security.

The FBI’s San Francisco division is leading an inquiry into the Twitter hacking, as more Washington lawmakers called for an accounting of how it happened.

The law enforcement agency said hackers committed cryptocurrency fraud after they seized control of the Twitter accounts of celebrities and political figures including Joe Biden, Kim Kardashian, Barack Obama and Elon Musk.

A day after the breach, it was not clear if the hackers were able to see private messages sent by the account holders. U.S. lawmakers fretted about future attacks.

“While this scheme appears financially motivated…imagine if these bad actors had a different intent to use powerful voices to spread disinformation to potentially interfere with our elections, disrupt the stock market, or upset our international relations,” U.S. Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Echoing a similar sentiment, Representative Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, asked what would happen if Twitter allowed a similar incident to occur on Nov. 2, a day before the U.S. presidential election.

Jordan said he remained locked out of his Twitter account as of Thursday afternoon and said his confidence in how the company operates has been deteriorating.

President Donald Trump, a prolific Twitter user, was planning to continue tweeting and his account was secure during the attack, spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said.

The White House had been in “constant contact with Twitter over the last 18 hours” to keep Trump’s Twitter feed secure, she said.

Twitter said hackers had targeted employees with access to its internal systems and “used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf”.

Other high-profile accounts that were hacked included rapper Kanye West, Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) founder Jeff Bezos, investor Warren Buffett, Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) co-founder Bill Gates, and the corporate accounts for Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O).

The company, which has been without a security chief since December, said hackers conducted a “coordinated social engineering attack” against some of its employees with access to internal systems.

In an extraordinary step, it temporarily prevented many verified accounts from publishing messages as it investigated the breach.

The hijacked accounts tweeted out messages telling users to send bitcoin and their money would be doubled. Publicly available blockchain records show that the apparent scammers received more than $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

Twitter’s shares fell a little over 1% on Thursday afternoon.

CEO Jack Dorsey said in a tweet on Wednesday that it was a “tough day” for everyone at Twitter and pledged to share “everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened”.

Dorsey’s assurances did not assuage Washington’s concerns about social media companies, whose policies have come under scrutiny by critics on both the left and the right.

Democratic Senator Mark Warner called on Twitter and law enforcement to investigate the matter while the U.S. House Intelligence Committee said it was in touch with Twitter regarding the hack, according to a committee official who did not wish to be named.

Republican Senator Josh Hawley wrote a letter to Dorsey within minutes of the hack and asked about potential data theft and whether the breach affected select users or the security of the platform overall.

Frank Pallone, a Democrat who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees a sizeable portion of U.S. tech policy, said in a tweet the company “needs to explain how all of these prominent accounts were hacked.”

The New York State Department of Financial Services also weighed in, saying it will investigate the hack.

Reporting by Joseph Menn; Additional reporting by Ayanti Bera, Aakash Jagadeesh Babu and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Katie Paul and Elizabeth Culliford in San Francisco; and Nandita Bose, David Shepardson, Diane Bartz and Jeff Mason in Washington; Editing by Peter Graff, Carmel Crimmins and Lisa Shumaker.

British Gas-owner Centrica to tell staff accept new contracts or risk jobs

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Thur, 16th July 2020) London, Uk – –

British Gas-owner Centrica will tell thousands of staff to accept new working conditions, including no extra overtime pay, or risk their jobs.

The firm said if employees don't sign the contract, there will be a fresh wave of redundancies, although it insists that is a “last resort”.

Centrica has already outlined 5,000 job cuts as customer numbers tumble.

The firm said it had “been open about the changes” needed to win back customers.

The proposals are all subject to a consultation period with unions, the company stressed.

“Our employees' base pay and pensions will be protected, but simplifying and modernising their terms is essential if we're to become more flexible and price competitive,” said Centrica.

“We have over 80 different employee contracts with 7,000 variations of terms, many of which are outdated and stop us delivering for customers.”

Unions and workers said they were concerned about the move and criticised the timing amid lockdown.

“They are using this as an excuse because they know we can't even have discussions and meetings,” said one British Gas engineer, who has worked for the firm for more than 15 years and spoke to the BBC on condition of anonymity.

“This really is a divide-and-conquer moment.”

The company says it must become more competitive to protect jobs in the long term.

Centrica proposes to fix overtime pay at the same rate as regular hours, according to a presentation seen by the BBC.

Previously, overtime could attract double the hourly rate, depending on a worker's contract.

Engineers who might previously have been asked to work shifts between 08:00 and 20:00 in the busier winter period could be allocated hours any time between 06:00 and 23:00.

Centrica follows British Airways in combining proposed layoffs with new contracts which unions describe as unfavourable. Both companies insist the deal offered is fair.

‘Huge slap in the face'

“What is really painful is that when this coronavirus kicked off, we all rose to the challenge,” said the engineer.

He and other British Gas workers volunteered to deliver meals for vulnerable people for the Trussell Trust.

This gave him and his colleagues a sense of purpose, he said, together with continuing to repair broken heating systems during lockdown.

“We were going into houses. We were feeling proud, as we were key workers,” he said. “It's a huge slap in the face.”

Centrica said a so-called Section 188 notice, which employers are obliged to give to workers' representatives if they are considering large-scale redundancies, was a last resort if workers did not agree the new terms.

“We've been open about the changes we need to make to win back customers, grow our company and protect jobs in the long run,” the company said in a statement.

Winter deadline

The GMB union said it had started talks with the company on planned changes, as Centrica has set a deadline of agreeing a deal with employees before winter.

Assistant general secretary Christina McAnea of the Unison union branded the move “disgraceful behaviour”.

“Employees have worked hard throughout the past few months to ensure customers are well-served, despite the pandemic,” she said. “This is no way for company directors to repay them.”

The company is scrambling to stem the flow of customers from its energy supply business.

Last month, it began trialling a cheaper, digital-only brand under the name British Gas X.

It also already plans job cuts at its head office.

New boss Chris O'Shea said most of the cuts would fall in the UK as the energy giant seeks to slim down its business.

About half of the jobs to go will be among the company's leadership, management and corporate staff. This will include half of the senior leadership team of 40, who will leave by the end of August.

Centrica has about 27,000 employees, with 20,000 of these based in the UK.

By Howard Mustoe

Apple does not need to pay €13bn Irish tax bill, EU court rules

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Wed, 15th July 2020) London, Uk – –

European commission failed to prove Apple had benefited from arrangement, court finds.

The European commission has been dealt a major blow in its battle to stop EU member states granting sweetheart tax deals to multinational corporations after the bloc’s general court ruled that Apple did not need to pay €13bn (£11.7bn) in back taxes to the Irish government.

The Luxembourg-based court found the EU’s executive body had failed to prove that the iPhone maker benefited from an allegedly illegal arrangement with the Irish authorities, in a decision with wide repercussions for the bloc’s plans to clamp down on tax avoidance.

The commission has active cases against Ikea and Nike over alleged sweetheart deals granted by the Dutch government. Brussels also launched an investigation in March into the tax treatment granted by Luxembourg to the Finnish food packaging company Huhtamäki.

The Irish government, which has been seeking to protect its low-tax regime, welcomed the EU court’s ruling.

It said: “Ireland has always been clear that there was no special treatment provided. Ireland appealed the commission decision on the basis that Ireland granted no state aid and the decision today from the court supports that view.”

Four years ago the commission ordered Apple to pay for gross underpayment of tax on profits across the European bloc over an 11-year period between 2003 and 2014.

It said the multinational, whose headquarters are in Cupertino, California, had been able to use two shell companies incorporated in Ireland, with the agreement of the local tax authorities, to report Europe-wide profits at effective rates well under 1% – and as low as 0.005% in 2014.

But the Luxembourg-based general court said on Wednesday: “The commission did not succeed in showing to the requisite legal standard that there was an advantage.”

It said the commission was wrong to declare that Apple “had been granted a selective economic advantage and, by extension, state aid”.

Tove Maria Ryding, a tax justice coordinator at the European Network on Debt and Development, said the decision highlighted the inadequacy of the EU’s tools in fighting corporate tax avoidance.

She said: “Today’s court decision illustrates how difficult it is to use EU state aid rules to collect tax.

“If we had a proper corporate tax system, we wouldn’t need long court cases to find out whether it is legal for multinational corporations to pay less than 1% in taxes.

“This case has been going on for more than six years and if today’s ruling is appealed it’s obviously going to continue even longer. It shouldn’t take over half a decade to decide what a multinational corporation should pay in tax. This case illustrates that our corporate tax system is a mess and not fit for purpose.”

Welcoming the ruling, a spokesman for Apple said: “This case was not about how much tax we pay, but where we are required to pay it. We’re proud to be the largest taxpayer in the world as we know the important role tax payments play in society.

“Apple has paid more than $100bn [£79bn] in corporate income taxes around the world in the last decade and tens of billions more in other taxes. Changes in how a multinational company’s income tax payments are split between different countries require a global solution, and Apple encourages this work to continue.

“We are also proud to be a powerful engine of economic growth in Europe. Last year we spent over €13bn with 4,500 suppliers of all sizes. Our innovation and investment supports more than 1.8m jobs across the EU.”

The ruling is just the latest blow to Margrethe Vestager, who has pioneered crackdowns on tax avoidance by US firms during her time as the EU’s competition commissioner.

The general court overturned the commission’s demand for Starbucks to pay up to €30m in back taxes to the Dutch authorities. In a separate case, the court threw out a commission decision against a Belgian tax scheme for 39 multinationals.

Ireland loses its right to €13bn in back taxes at a time of economic recession but says the decision offers greater long-term opportunities.

Multinationals such as Facebook and Google account for one in 10 jobs in Ireland, with 13,867 net roles being added in 2019, just short of the record 14,000 job gains from such firms in 2018.

The commission has the right to appeal on the points of law of the court’s ruling but a spokesman declined to comment.

By Daniel Boffey

Huawei out of UK’s 5G network by 2027, Dowden confirms

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 14th July 2020) London, Uk – –

U-turn puts Boris Johnson on collision course with Tory rebels on timing of ban

Huawei is to be stripped out of Britain’s 5G phone networks by 2027, a date that puts Boris Johnson on collision course with a group of Conservative rebels who want the Chinese company eliminated quicker and more comprehensively.

Oliver Dowden, the UK culture secretary, also announced that no new Huawei 5G kit can be bought after 31 December this year – but disappointed the rebels by saying that older 2G, 3G and 4G kit can remain until it is no longer needed.

The minister declared that the UK will be on an “irreversible path” to eliminating “high-risk vendors” such as Huawei in 5G by the time of the next general election in 2024, in attempt to placate some MPs.

But rebel leader Iain Duncan Smith, said there were contradictions in Dowden’s statement. “So if there are risks in 5G why are they not a risk to us generally,” the former party leader said, and called on the minister “to ban Huawei altogether”.

In reply, the culture secretary said that “the reality of the 5G network is that it is fundamentally different” and added that “in turn 5G will be replaced by 6G and in all of that Huawei will be absent”.

The minister also told MPs that the changes he was announcing would mean “a cumulative delay to 5G roll out of two to three years and costs of up to £2bn” – costs that could in theory be passed on in bills to consumers.

The decision represents an enforced U-turn on a previous decision to allow Huawei to supply 35% of the UK’s 5G equipment, and a compromise with BT and Vodafone, who warned there could be phone “outages” if they were forced to act sooner.

It follows the announcement in May of further US sanctions against Huawei, preventing it from using microchips from American suppliers.

Downing Street then asked the National Cyber Security Centre, part of the spy agency GCHQ, to review Huawei’s security and said its equipment could not be considered safe if it had to rely on non-US components.

“The sanctions were a gamechanger,” a Whitehall official said.

Despite the retreat, the Conservative rebels believe Huawei still represents an immediate national security risk and want the UK to follow the US and Australia, which have implemented more complete bans.

The rebel MPs say they number about 60, theoretically enough to defeat the government, if the opposition parties join forces with them. They want Huawei removed from existing 3G and 4G networks as well as 5G by 2026 at the latest.

A rebel source said: “The fight is back on. The telecoms infrastructure bill will face amendments to ban 3G and 4G on the same basis as 5G and to bring forward the end date for equipment. We are confident that they will be successful.”

If Johnson does not go further, their plan is amend the telecoms security bill intended to legislate for the two-part ban on Huawei. That was due to emerge before the summer recess but has been pushed back until the autumn.

Huawei UK urged the government to reconsider, and said the UK would be economically damaged if it pressed ahead.

Ed Brewster, a spokesperson for the company, said: “This disappointing decision is bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone. It threatens to move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide.”

The prime minister has become embroiled in an intense geopolitical row over Huawei, in which the US president, Donald Trump, has demanded the Chinese company be kicked out of the UK, claiming it poses a long-term security risk.

Huawei denies it has ever been asked to engage in any spying on behalf of the Chinese state, while Beijing itself says Johnson’s decision will be an acid test of the Sino-British relationship that had developed under David Cameron.

Officials also want Huawei to be removed from high-speed, full-fibre connections following a two-year transition period, working with companies to find a way of eliminating the Chinese company’s equipment.

No compensation is expected to be paid to BT or Vodafone or Huawei. BT’s chief executive had said on Monday it would be possible to remove Huawei from 5G in five years – but warned that it would be impossible to remove older equipment entirely within 10 years.

A few minutes before the announcement was made on Tuesday, Huawei said former BP boss Lord Browne would be stepping down as chairman of its board of directors from September. Browne, who had held the post for five years, did not say he was quitting but the company thanked him for “his valuable contribution”

By Dan Sabbagh Defence and security editor

Virgin Atlantic close to securing a £1.2 billion rescue deal

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 14th 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – British airline Virgin Atlantic is close to securing a 1.2 billion pound ($1.5 billion) rescue deal, Sky News reported on Tuesday, removing the medium-term chance of administration as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The deal, which will involve backing from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and hedge fund Davidson Kempner, could be confirmed later on Tuesday, Sky News said. A spokeswoman for Virgin Atlantic declined to comment on the report.

Reporting by Alistair Smout

PM: Boris Johnson the government will make a further announcement on face coverings “in the next few days”

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 13th July 2020) London, Uk – –

The prime minister says the government will make a further announcement on face coverings “in the next few days”.

Britons should be wearing masks in shops, with face coverings offering a “great deal of value” in controlling the spread of coronavirus, Boris Johnson has said.

The government has been criticised for offering mixed messages on face coverings, with it mandatory to wear one on public transport in England but not in shops.

But the prime minister on Monday signalled the guidance could change this week after he admitted there had been “growing” evidence of their importance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: “What we've said for a while now is that we do think masks have a great deal of value – obviously they're mandatory on public transport, on the Tube – but they have a great deal of value in confined spaces, where you're coming into contact with people you don't normally meet.

“What's been interesting on the face coverings issue in the last few months is the scientific evaluation of face coverings and their importance in stopping aerosol droplets, that's been growing.

“So, I do think that in shops it is very important to wear a face covering, if you're going to be in a confined space and you want to protect other people and to receive protection in turn.

“Yes, face coverings, I think, people should be wearing in shops.

“And, in terms of how we do that, whether we make it mandatory or not, we will be looking at the guidance, we'll be saying a little bit more in the next few days.”

Mr Johnson added that the government would be looking at “what tools of enforcement” might be introduced to “make progress” on the wearing of face masks.

He described the wearing of a face covering as an “extra insurance that we can all use to stop it [coronavirus] coming back and stop it getting out of control again”.

Currently, official UK government guidance states that evidence around wearing a face covering suggests it “does not protect you” from coronavirus.

But the guidance adds: “If you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with.”

In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, face coverings are mandatory when travelling on public transport.

Face coverings are also mandatory in Scottish shops, although that is not the case in England.

People in Wales will have to wear a face covering on public transport – as well as taxis – from 27 July, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Monday.

Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth wrote to Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Monday to call for urgent clarity on the wearing of face masks in public places.

“The confusion around the use of face coverings and whether they will become mandatory needs to be addressed through a statement from ministers as a matter of priority,” he wrote.

Mr Ashworth added: “Conflicting advice and conflicting statements from the government only hinder our fight against the virus.

“Clear communication is vital in combating the spread of COVID-19.

“For the public to know that they are doing the right thing in shops, restaurants and other crowded places, I am asking that you urgently set out the position on face coverings.”How many cases of COVID-19 where I live?

Meanwhile, former Conservative chancellor George Osborne used a column in his Evening Standard newspaper to highlight the low levels of face mask-wearing in the UK compared with other countries.

“That's not because we're more stupid or more libertarian,” Mr Osborne wrote.

“On the contrary, we were all paying attention and doing what we were told – by ministers and scientific advisers, who said in March that wearing a mask made no difference.

“Four months later we're being told that we should wear a mask. But there's been no attempt to explain why the instructions have changed.

“No minister or scientist has had the courtesy to say ‘we got that one wrong'.”

By Greg Heffer

Johnnie Walker whisky to be sold in paper bottles as the firm looks for ways of using less plastic across its brands

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 13th July 2020) London, Uk – –

Johnnie Walker, the whisky which traces its roots back 200 years, will soon be available in paper bottles.

Diageo, the drinks giant that owns the brand, said it plans to run a trial of the new environmentally-friendly packaging from next year.

While most Johnnie Walker is sold in glass bottles, the firm is looking for ways of using less plastic across its brands.

Making bottles from glass also consumes energy and creates carbon emissions.

To make the bottles, Diageo will co-launch a firm called Pulpex, which will also produce packaging for the likes of Unilever and PepsiCo.

Diageo's paper whisky bottle, which will be trialled in spring 2021, will be made from wood pulp and will be fully recyclable, the company said.

The idea is that customers would be able to drop them straight into the recycling.

Drinks companies have been developing paper bottles to try to cut down on pollution and make products more sustainable.

Carlsberg in the process of developing a paper beer bottle.

UK firm Frugalpac produces paper wine bottles which it says are made from recycled paper with a “food grade liner”.

However, drinks giant Coca-Cola in January said it would not ditch single-use plastic bottles because consumers still want them.


Diageo said its bottles will be made by pressurising pulp in moulds which will then be cured in microwave ovens.

The bottles will be sprayed internally with coatings that are designed not to interact with the drinks they will contain.

Many cartons made out of paper have a plastic coating inside to stop the drinks leaking out. Diageo, however, said its drinks bottles will not have that plastic coating.

Companies are coming under increasing pressure to reduce the amount of plastic in packaging as consumers increasingly focus on damage to ecosystems.

In Europe, 8.2 million tonnes of plastic were used to package food and drink in 2018, according to ING analysts.

Diageo, which also makes Guinness and Smirnoff vodka, said it uses less than 5% of plastic in its total packaging.

However, while glass bottle manufacturers are striving to make production more efficient, they still have a significant carbon footprint.

It takes a lot of energy to power glass furnaces, many of which use natural gas to melt raw materials such as sand and limestone.

How Timberland Embraced Their Consumer Hip-Hop Base to Become a Billion Dollar Brand

Source: CNBC

In the U.S.,the Timberland boot is widely recognized as a fashion staple. But that wasn’t always the case. Throughout the ‘90s, the Timberland brand went through a massive expansion, seeing revenue climb over $1 billion in 2000. Timberland’s rise was not without controversy. In the early ‘90s, hip-hop stars on the East Coast adopted the boot, and sales began to climb. At the time, hip-hop wasn’t mainstream and the strength of black spending was often overlooked by marketers. Throughout Timberland's rise, its executives would learn to both respect and embrace their evolving consumer base, which would change the trajectory of the brand forever. Here’s how hip-hop helped make Timberland a billion-dollar brand.

15 Best Luxury ACCESSORIES to Own and Why

Source: Alux

This Alux video we'll try to answer the following questions: Which are the best luxury accessories to own? Which brands have the best accessories? What fashion accessories should I get? What's a good fashion style? What makes a brand luxury? What are the top 10 designer brands? Is Tommy Hilfiger a luxury brand? What brands are better than Gucci? What should every woman own? What should I own by 30? What every classy woman should have? What a girl should have in her bag? What every 40 year old woman should own? What every girl needs from Amazon? What is the cheapest luxury brand? Is Zara a luxury brand? Is Fendi better than Gucci? Is Calvin Klein a luxury brand? What's the most expensive brand? What should every man carry? What every 40 year old man should have? What every home needs? What's the most expensive luxury brand? Is Kate Spade a luxury brand? What brands do the rich wear? Which is more expensive Gucci or Louis Vuitton? What's the most expensive brand in the world? What's the most expensive brand? Is Proenza Schouler a luxury brand? What is true luxury? Is Tommy Hilfiger high quality? Why is Tommy Hilfiger so expensive? Is coach a high end brand? Where are luxury brands made? What are the top luxury brands? What is the new luxury? What is the most popular fashion accessory? What are the top trends for 2020? What accessories are trending 2019? Are headbands in style for 2020? What shoes will be popular in 2020? Are scarves out of style 2020? What are the new colors for 2020? Are skinny jeans still in style 2020? What is the color for spring 2020? What crafts are trending for 2020? What fashion trends are out for 2020? What is the hottest trend right now? Are leggings Still in Style 2020? What should you not wear after 50? Is Boho Still in Style 2020?

Royal Mail fined £1.6m by communications regulator Ofcom

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 10th July 2020) London, Uk – –

Royal Mail has been fined £1.5m by the regulator for being late with first class deliveries and overcharging customers for second class stamps.

Ofcom said Royal Mail missed its target of delivering 93% of first class post within a day of collection.

It also overcharged people £60,000 after raising the cost of a second class stamp before a price cap was officially lifted.

Royal Mail admitted it was “disappointed” with its performance.

In the 2019 financial year, Ofcom found that only 91.5% of first class post was on time.

“Royal Mail let its customers down, and these fines should serve as a reminder that we'll take action when companies fall short,” said Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom's director of investigations and enforcement.

The watchdog also found that the company increased its price for second class stamps by 1p to 61p seven days ahead of the official cap being lifted.

Royal Mail estimates it overcharged people by £60,000 “which it is unable to refund”.

Royal Mail admitted it had made a mistake and donated the sum to the charity Action for Children.

“We worked with Ofcom throughout this investigation and lessons have been learned by us during this process,” it said.

Earlier this year, Royal Mail lifted the price of a first class stamp which now costs 11p more than second class postage.

The price of a first class stamp for regular letters rose 6p to 76p and second-class went up by 4p to 65p.

The 65p second-class stamp is the maximum under an Ofcom price cap.

Commenting in the current financial year, Royal Mail said it would be on course to hit the 93% first class delivery target if it hadn't been for the coronavirus outbreak.

“Despite our best endeavours, some areas of the UK experienced a reduction in service levels during March,” it said.

“Relevant factors included high levels of coronavirus-related absences and necessary social distancing measures.”

Last month Royal Mail said it will cut 2,000 management jobs as it struggles to deal with the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

The cuts, equal to around a fifth of the company's management roles, aim to save about £130m in costs from next year.

Royal Mail said the pandemic accelerated the trend of more parcels and fewer letters being sent, and it had not adapted quickly enough to that.

Hospitality chain The Restaurant Group expect one in 10 of their outlets will not reopen this year

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Fri , 10th July 2020) London, Uk – –

Owner of chains including Frankie & Benny’s hopes to open most by end of September

The hospitality chain the Restaurant Group (TRG) has said that one in 10 of its restaurants and pubs will not reopen this year, with the sector struggling to recover after the coronavirus lockdown.

The owner of chains including Wagamama, Frankie & Benny’s, and Garfunkel’s has reduced its overall business to about 400 locations, down from more than 600 at the start of 2020.

The group said it had secured additional funds and would prolong executive pay cuts to weather the crisis. TRG said it had taken £50m from the government’s coronavirus large business interruption loan scheme, allowing it to extend its credit facilities. Directors will take a 33% pay rise this month from their reduced lockdown levels, but still receive 20% below their normal basic salary while some of TRG’s 15,000 staff remain furloughed.

It said one in four restaurants would reopen by the end of the month, after the UK government revised its lockdown rules to open up dining from last weekend. About 60% would be open by the end of August, with most of the remainder reopened by the end of September, TRG said.

However, it said the last 10% were not expected to reopen in 2020 at all because of “considerably weak” footfall – particularly in its airport locations.

The pandemic has hastened plans by TRG to reduce its restaurant portfolio, with the casual dining sector already feeling the chill winds across empty tables in recent years. While Wagamama, which TRG bought in 2018 for £559m and has been operating for delivery during the lockdown, appears to be relatively secure, other brands in the group have been harder hit.

In March, as virtually all restaurants were closed because of the Covid-19 outbreak, TRG issued a profit warning and said that 61 – more than three in four – branches of its Tex-Mex Chiquito restaurants would stay closed, along with its 11 Food & Fuel pubs in London, with the loss of 1,500 jobs.

Last month it announced 3,000 more jobs would go with another 120 permanent restaurant closures, primarily hitting its Frankie & Benny’s Italian-American outlets.

TRG had signalled last September it would be trimming its leisure division by closing some Frankie & Benny’s, Garfunkel’s and Chiquito branches over a six-year period. However, it told managers this year that the branches were no longer viable, once coronavirus had joined the headwinds of rising costs and changing consumer habits fuelled by companies such as Deliveroo.Advertisement

Last week TRG’s rival Casual Dining Group, which owns Café Rouge and Las Iguanas, went into administration, closing 91 restaurants and making 1,900 staff redundant.

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, this week launched a meal-deal voucher scheme to whet public appetite to return to restaurants, with up to £10 per head off for diners from Monday to Wednesday during August.

By Gwyn Topham

Boots and John Lewis to cut 5,300 jobs

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Thur, 9th July 2020) London, Uk – –

The cuts are the latest to hit the retail sector and come a day after Rishi Sunak announced a “plan for jobs” to spur recovery.

High street chain Boots and department store chain John Lewis are cutting a total of more than 5,000 jobs – blamed on the impact of COVID-19.

Boots plans to axe 4,000 workers in a major shake-up while John Lewis said that eight of its shops were set to remain closed after the lockdown, putting 1,300 workers at risk.

The Boots restructuring will affect around 7% of the its workforce, in particular at its Nottingham support office.

Store deputy and assistant manager and customer adviser roles across the country are also facing the axe, while 48 Boots Opticians sites will close.

The John Lewis closures, which include two full-size department stores in Birmingham and Watford plus six smaller shops, were blamed on the impact of the pandemic in accelerating the shift from in-store shopping to online.

Boots pointed to a similar trend.

The cuts add to thousands already announced this week – with logistics firm DHL cutting 2,200 roles at Jaguar Land Rover sites, newspaper publisher Reach axing 550 workers and Pret A Manger closing 30 shops, putting at least 1,000 jobs at risk.

Meanwhile, the UK boss of Burger King warned in a BBC interview that as many as 10% of its 530 stores may not be able to survive – threatening up to 1,600 jobs.

The announcements from Boots and John Lewis come a day after a “plan for jobs” announced by Rishi Sunak which offered measures including a VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sector.

It was criticised by the retail industry which was not given similar help.

Boots stores were among “essential” retailers allowed to stay open during the lockdown but still saw sales fall 48% over the last three months.

The business, owned by US-listed Walgreens Boots Alliance, said that the cuts represented an “acceleration” of its transformation plans to improve profitability across the business.

Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK, said: “The proposals announced today are decisive actions to accelerate our transformation plan, allow Boots to continue its vital role as part of the UK health system, and ensure profitable long-term growth.

“I am so very grateful to all our colleagues for their dedication during the last few challenging months.

“They have stepped forward to support their communities, our customers and the NHS during this time, and I am extremely proud to be serving alongside them.”

“In doing this, we are building a stronger and more modern Boots for our customers, patients and colleagues.

“We recognise that today's proposals will be very difficult for the remarkable people who make up the heart of our business, and we will do everything in our power to provide the fullest support during this time.”

Walgreens said in a quarterly update to investors that the impact of COVID-19 on sales in the latest quarter was up to $750m (£584m), mainly reflecting its international division which includes Boots.

It said that footfall was down 85% in April, with customers advised to leave home only for food and medicine.

“While most Boots stores remained open throughout the UK lockdown to provide communities with pharmacy and essential healthcare, our largest premium beauty and fragrance counters were effectively closed,” Walgreens said.

It said the performance of the UK business, together with ongoing uncertainty related to the pandemic, would mean a write-down of $2bn (£1.6bn) on its value – sending the wider group to a $1.7bn (£1.3bn) loss for the third quarter.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said: “Even before this crisis, Boots had issues.

“Many of its stores need investment, its proposition lacks clarity, and it faces growing competition from both specialist and generalist beauty players alike.

“The pandemic and its aftermath will simply exacerbate these problems and have a materially negative impact on the business – which is one of the reasons why Walgreens has been quick to write down the intrinsic value of the division.”

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

Aerospace engineer Rolls-Royce burns through 3 billion pounds, expects more cash outflows

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 9th July 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Aerospace engineer Rolls-Royce (RR.L) burned through 3 billion pounds ($3.8 billion) in the first half as the hours flown by its engines halved due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and said it expected a further 1 billion pound outflow in the second half.

The British company, which makes engines for the Boeing 787 and Airbus 350, said flying hours fell 75% in April, May and June, and it had only seen a marginal improvement since.

Chief Executive Warren East said Rolls had started reviewing options for strengthening its balance sheet, and it had 8.1 billion pounds at hand even after the first-half outflow.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a shock across the entire civil aviation industry,” East told reporters on Thursday.

“Across the first half of this year, widebody engine flying hours, which we get paid for under our servicing contract, were half of what they were last year.”

Rolls has announced at least 9,000 job cuts, mainly in its civil aviation business, which has born the brunt of the coronavirus impact. Its defence business had been resilient, East said, while power systems had been impacted in part.

East said sites could be cut as well as jobs.

He said the restructuring would drive a recovery in free cash inflow to at least 750 million pounds in 2022.

Its shares, which are down 58% since the start of the year, were down 8% at 265 pence at 0821 GMT.

Analysts at JP Morgan, who have argued that Rolls needs to issue 6 billion pounds of equity to ensure its future, said the trading update was “materially worse” than its expectations.

“If there is a second wave of COVID-19 or a slower than hoped for recovery then it is very possible, in our view, that the UK government will need to step in to save Rolls-Royce,” they said.

The first-half outflow included a 1.1 billion pound fall in engine flying hours receipts and deliveries and a 1.1 billion pound hit from the voluntary end of invoice factoring, which it used to align cash receipts with deliveries, Rolls said.

($1 = 0.7911 pounds)

Reporting by Paul Sandle

Chancellor Sunak unveils diners 50% “eat out to help out” discount

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 8th July 2020) London, Uk – –

Diners will get a 50% discount off their restaurant bill during August under government plans to bolster the embattled hospitality sector.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the “eat out to help out” discount as part of a series of measures to restart the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The deal means people can get up to £10 off per head if they eat out between Monday and Wednesday.

Mr Sunak also said VAT on hospitality and tourism would drop to 5%.

The reduction, from 20%, will be in place for the next six months.

As he announced the discount, the chancellor said the UK was facing a “unique moment” because of Covid-19, adding: “We need to be creative.”

Pubs and restaurants reopened on Saturday after more than three months in lockdown, with safety measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Mr Sunak sought to reassure the public that it was safe to dine out. “I know people are cautious about going out. But we wouldn't have lifted the restrictions if we didn't think we could do so, safely,” he said.

The discount will not apply to alcohol, but to food and soft drinks up to £10 per person.

The Treasury said the 50% discount can be used unlimited times during August and applies to participating restaurants, cafés, and pubs across the UK.

Mr Sunak said the plan was aimed at getting “customers back into restaurants, cafes and pubs” and protecting “the 1.8 million people who work in them”.

Businesses that want to take part in the scheme will have to register through a website that opens on Monday 13 July.

Mr Sunak said: “Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within five working days.”

He added that the cut in VAT, from 20% to 5%, would apply to “eat-in or hot takeaway food from restaurants, cafes and pubs; accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites [and] attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos”.

The lower tax rate will be implemented next Wednesday, 15 July, and will remain in place until 12 January 2021.

Caroline Roylance, owner of The George pub at Fordingbridge, Hampshire, said she would be applying for the “eat out to help out” scheme.

The pub reopened on Wednesday after being closed since 23 March, when the coronavirus lockdown was implemented.

She said the discount and the VAT cut “will help us make it through the next few months, because trade is unlikely to return to pre-Covid levels for some time”.

“Saying that, it's been surprisingly busy today, which is encouraging, but it's still not July busy,” said Mrs Roylance. “It's a start though.”

‘Challenges ahead'

UK Hospitality, the trade body which represents the industry, “warmly” welcomed the moves, as well as Mr Sunak's plans to stem unemployment through schemes such as creating thousands of job placements for young people.

However, UK Hospitality's chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “This doesn't mean we are out of the woods and there are still significant challenges ahead.

“The biggest of these is the spectre of rent liabilities, which many businesses are still facing from their closure period. We are going to need government support on this before too long.”

Meanwhile, the exclusion of alcohol from the “eat out to help out” discount hit some pub groups' share prices.

Mitchells & Butler's share price jumped by 7.3% to 175p towards the end of Mr Sunak's statement, when he revealed the VAT cut for the hospitality and leisure industries, as well as the dining out discount.

But once it became clear it did not include alcohol, Mitchell & Butler's share price fell “just as quickly as it spiked up”, said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

Marston's share price also dropped 6.1% to 48.98p. JD Wetherspoon's share price fell 2% to 986p.

Uber join forces with Thames Clippers London to launch commuter boat service

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Wed, 8th July 2020) London, Uk – –

US firm will buy naming rights for fleet and piers, and users can book journeys on its app

Uber is to extend its reach in London by taking to the water, with the Thames Clippers commuter service to be rebranded Uber Boat and bookable through the US company’s app.

A formal partnership will be launched this summer, allowing Uber users to book a Thames river journey through the app, and board using a QR code on their phone. Uber will buy the naming rights for the 20-strong fleet of river boats and Thames Clipper’s piers from Putney to Woolwich, in a rolling contract expected to last for at least three years.

A move into fix-scheduled commuter boats is a first for Uber. Users will still pay the same price and although there are hopes for an integrated service, for now they will not be able to book an end-to-end journey with a connecting car. Thames Clippers tickets will still be available to buy elsewhere and the boats remain part of the Oyster network.

Sean Collins, Thames Clippers’ co-founder and chief executive, said: “In our 22nd year of operation it is key that we continue to support London and its commuters with the ease of lockdown and return to work. The new partnership will allow us to link the two travel modes of river and road, providing Londoners and visitors with even more options to commute, visit, explore and enjoy our city by river.”

Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood, said: “Many Londoners are looking for new ways to travel around the city, particularly when they start commuting back to work.”

The boat service resumed on 15 June after being closed when the coronavirus outbreak took hold. It has reduced capacity and passengers must wear face masks, in line with Transport for London (TfL) guidance. Last year 4.3m passengers used the Thames Clippers service, which remains majority-owned by AEG, the owner-operators of the O2entertainment venue.

TfL has yet to renew Uber’s licence to operate private hire cars in London. Uber’s application for a new licence was rejected in November because of safety fears after some drivers were found to have faked their identity. It has been allowed to continue operating pending an appeal – which was originally due to have been heard in a magistrate’s court this week. However, because of the impact of the pandemic on TfL’s resources, the hearing has been postponed until September.

TfL said it granted licences to river operators such as Thames Clippers “who comply with our high safety standards” but played no role in any partnerships with other businesses and organisations.

By Gwyn Topham

Britains government coronavirus lending rises to £45 billion

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com –Tue, 7th July 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s government has underwritten £45 billion of borrowing by businesses hit by the coronavirus and spent more than £27 billion so far to support jobs, finance ministry figures showed on Tuesday.

Total spending under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which supports 9.4 million jobs and is the costliest government coronavirus measure, rose to £27.4 billion as of July 5 from £25.5 billion a week earlier.

State-backed lending to small businesses – which receives a 100% government guarantee – rose to £30.93 billion. Lending to medium-sized and large firms increased to £11.49 billion and £2.58 billion respectively in two programmes which offer an 80% guarantee to lenders.

Reporting by David Milliken