Small British businesses struggling to navigate new Brexit VAT rules

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 26th Jan 2021) London, Uk – –

Britain is no longer part of the EU VAT area, leading to extra costs for companies exporting to Europe

Some hauliers have refused contracts with small UK businesses because of the need for VAT guarantees.

Small British businesses exporting to the EU are struggling to navigate a new VAT regime, with one tax advisory firm receiving up to 200 calls a week from worried companies.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said its members are facing “significant issues” as a result of leaving the EU VAT area. “Businesses just did not have enough time to prepare for this,” said Selwyn Stein, managing director of VAT IT, a firm that helps reclaim the sales tax. “They’re being hit by a rulebook from 27 separate countries, when they are used to dealing with the EU as a single bloc.”

“They are calling us in a panic because their goods have been stopped and they don’t know what to do,” he said. “They have become fearful about trading so are stopping shipments until they have a resolution.”Advertisement

The UK is no longer part of the single EU VAT area, which means the sales tax is now collected by each country. Bills must be settled up front by the buyer, with a lack of preparedness on the part of exporters and purchasers resulting in shock demands for payment at the border in recent days.

Many small firms are having to consider registering for VAT in multiple jurisdictions for volumes in sales that are often relatively low, according to the FSB, which said the extra administrative burden could be off-putting.

Phil Ward, managing director of Bristol-based firm Eskimo, which sells designer radiators for up to £4,000, said he is considering moving some of its manufacturing to Poland to stay competitive. Brexit had dealt his business a blow, because the EU accounted for 25%-45% of its sales.

Eskimo has not exported anything so far this year as its main distributor has been unable to find a carrier willing to take the job.“We are the only designer and manufacturer of posh radiators in the UK – everything else is imported from Turkey or Italy,” said Ward, who is concerned it is a “hell of a lot more difficult” for EU buyers to deal with a British company than its main rivals, which are based in Italy.

Leaving the bloc also means UK firms can no longer take advantage of the VAT triangulation scheme, which makes cross-border trade easier between EU countries.

David Lee, managing director of Torqueflow-Sydex, an engineering company, said it is now charged VAT at 22% on goods manufactured by its Italian sister company, which are then sold to another EU country, because it is a UK entity.

“This is adding 22% on to our costs, which in a competitive market is an absolute killer,” said Lee. His company’s options include routeing shipments via the UK or registering as a tax entity in every EU country it trades with.

“I’ve been in the industry for over 30 years, working with Australia, Russia and the Middle East – this just makes everything look a joke,” he said.

By Zoe Wood and Caroline Bannock

Fashion retailer Boohoo buys Debenhams brand and website for £55m

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 25th Jan 2021) London, Uk – –

Fashion retailer Boohoo has bought the Debenhams brand and website for £55m.

However, it will not take on any of the firm's remaining 118 High Street stores or its workforce.

Boohoo said it was a “transformational deal” and a “huge step”. But the deal means that up to 12,000 jobs at the department store chain are set to go.

The 242-year-old Debenhams chain is already in the process of closing down, after administrators failed to secure a rescue deal for the business.

In a separate development, Asos says it is in “exclusive” talks to buy the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands out of administration.

But the online retailer said it only wanted the brands, not their shops, suggesting any deal would cost jobs.

The current owner of the brands, Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group, fell into administration last November putting 13,000 jobs at risk.

‘Best outcome'

A closing-down sale at 124 Debenhams stores began in December, as the administrators continued to seek offers for all or parts of the business.

The company announced recently that six shops would not reopen after lockdown, including its flagship department store on London's Oxford Street.

The administrators of Debenhams UK, FRP Advisory, said they had undertaken a “thorough and robust process” to achieve “the best outcome for Debenhams' stakeholders”.

“This transaction will allow a new Debenhams-branded business to emerge under strong new ownership, including an online operation and the opportunity to secure an international franchise network that will operate under licence using the Debenhams name,” they added.

Boohoo has already bought a number of High Street brands out of administration. It snapped up Oasis, Coast and Karen Millen, but not the associated stores.

Its executive chairman, Mahmud Kamani, said: “This is a transformational deal for the group, which allows us to capture the fantastic opportunity as ecommerce continues to grow. Our ambition is to create the UK's largest marketplace.

“Our acquisition of the Debenhams brand is strategically significant as it represents a huge step which accelerates our ambition to be a leader, not just in fashion ecommerce, but in new categories including beauty, sport and homeware.”

Boohoo said Debenhams was expected to relaunch on Boohoo's web platform later this year.

In the meantime, Debenhams will continue to operate its website for an agreed period.

Ethical questions

Boohoo has recently come under fire over workers' pay and conditions and its ultra-low pricing.

As well as facing questions about the environmental impact of its fast-fashion business model, there have been accusations of widespread abuse of employment law at some of Boohoo's suppliers in Leicester.

Investigations last year suggested workers were being paid below the minimum wage.

After an independent review of the claims found a series of failings, Mr Kamani said last month that the firm was working to fix the problems, adding: “We will make a better Boohoo.”

Announcing its latest deal, Boohoo said its plans included “transforming Debenhams through the development of an exciting online marketplace, capitalising on the sector's structural shift to online”.

It added that it intended to expand Debenhams' product categories and its supplier partnerships.

Boohoo said it was funding the deal from its existing cash reserves.

“The group will only be acquiring the brands and associated intellectual property rights – the transaction does not include Debenhams' retail stores, stock or any financial services,” Boohoo added.

Analysis: Dominic O'connnell

While online retailers have been whittling away at their High Street rivals for years, few could have predicted how quickly bricks-and-mortar stalwarts have collapsed. The pandemic has fatally undermined their already parlous finances. Businesses that appeared to have a chance of survival just a year ago have been wiped out and their brands bought by online players.

The scale of the change is profound: when Debenhams listed on the stock exchange in 2011, investors valued it at £1.6bn. Boohoo, which was founded only in 2006, already has a stock market value of £4.4bn. Asos, a bit player two decades ago when Sir Philip Green's Arcadia group was riding high and toying with a bid for Marks & Spencer, is now by valued by the stock market at £5bn.

Neither BooHoo or Asos see any value in the Debenhams or Topshop High Street estates. Instead, they will concentrate on development of the brands and the associated customer data. This is bad news for the 19,000-odd people who work in the branches of Debenhams and Topshop, and will leave councils around the country wondering how they will fill town centres that were based on retail.

But just as canny entrepreneurs and private equity companies are gearing up to buy struggling pub chains, in the hope of a recovery once lockdown restrictions are eased, so will some investors be wondering what next for the High Street. The British love affair with shopping will not end overnight and a well-placed punt now could have big rewards.

Debenhams has struggled for years with falling profits and rising debts, as more shopping has moved online. It called in administrators twice in two years, most recently in April.

However, its position became untenable during the coronavirus pandemic as non-essential retailers were forced to close for prolonged periods.

The firm had already trimmed its store portfolio and cut about 6,500 jobs since May, as it struggled to stay afloat.

Businessman Mike Ashley, who founded Sports Direct and also owns House of Fraser, had already made an offer for Debenhams after it was initially put up for sale in April.

However the takeover offer, thought to be in the region of £125m, was rejected as being too low.

Wolt food delivery platform raises $500m from global investor group

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 25th Jan 2021) London, Uk – –

The Finnish company will announce investment from KKR and Tiger Global as soon as Tuesday, Sky News understands.

Another of Europe’s food delivery giants is raising hundreds of millions of pounds to fund its expansion, underlining the frenzy of global investor interest which has gripped the sector.

Sky News has learnt that Wolt, a Finnish company which operates in about 20 markets including Germany, Greece and Japan, will announce a huge financing round as soon as Tuesday.

According to private equity sources, the investment giants KKR, Tiger Global and DST will all participate in the round as new investors.

The round will be led by ICONIQ Capital, the investment group which manages the fortune of Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, one of the private equity insiders said.

One investor who held talks with Wolt but did not ultimately take part in the latest fundraising said it had been pitched at a substantial premium to its last valuation, potentially making it one of Europe's most valuable food delivery businesses.

Wolt was founded just seven years ago, and now delivers food in 120 cities in 23 countries.

The megaround highlights the scale of investors' determination to capture a slice of one of the sectors benefiting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Doordash recently went public in the US, while Deliveroo, one of Britain's biggest food delivery players, is drawing up plans to float in the coming months.

Deliveroo raised $180m of new capital from existing investors earlier this month, while it has strengthened its board by adding Lord Wolfson, the Next chief executive, as a non-executive director.

A Wolt spokeswoman declined to comment.

By Mark Kleinman

How Covid Derailed The Cheesecake Factory’s Success

Source: CNBC

Americans love The Cheesecake Factory. The restaurant known for its massive 21-page menu, dozens of dessert options and ancient Egypt-inspired decor was ranked as one of the top casual dining restaurants in the U.S. in 2019. But the eatery popular with everyone from NBA stars to cheesecake aficionados has fallen on hard times as the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the restaurant industry. In October, The Cheesecake Factory reported third-quarter sales fell by 12% and same-stores sales were down 23% from a year earlier. So after 40 years in business will The Cheesecake Factory be able to regain its momentum and will the chain's takeout and delivery service be enough to offset the decline of the dine-in restaurant experience?

How This Entrepreneur Grew One Lorry to a Fleet of Over 35 Vehicles & Machines in 7 Years

Source: Ashvill

This is the 2020 Ashville vehicle, plant and machinery fleet tour; all the weapons used by Ashville Waste Management, Aggregates, Concrete and Construction on a daily basis. Take a look at the journey of how Daniel Louisy went from one DAF Grab Lorry (Truck) to a growing fleet of over 35 vehicles and machines in just 7 years!

Public sector borrowing hit £34.1bn in December

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 22nd Jan 2021) London, Uk – –

The news comes amid fears that some local authorities are taking on risky levels of debt in an effort to stay financially afloat.

Public sector net borrowing reached £34.1bn in December – the third-highest monthly figure since records began in 1993.

The figure from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) means that:

• Borrowing since the start of the financial year in April has reached £270.8bn

• Borrowing in December 2020 was £28.2bn more than in December 2019

• December's figure was also higher than the £31.6bn borrowed in November 2020

• Public sector debt has reached an all-time high of £2.13trn – equivalent to 99.4% of GDP, the most
since the financial year ending 1962

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Since the start of the pandemic we've invested over £280bn to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK, and support our economy and public services.

“This has clearly been the fiscally responsible thing to do. But, as I've said before, once our economy begins to recover, we should look to return the public finances to a more sustainable footing.”

Economists were divided over how soon Britons could see tax rises as part of the government's response.

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said in a note: “Public borrowing will fall sharply from about 20% of GDP this year to between 8% and 10% in 2021/22, if the government stops the furlough and self-employment income support schemes in the spring, and healthcare spending declines. Where have jobs been lost during the pandemic?

“We doubt that the chancellor will go a step further in the Budget on 3 March and push through large immediate tax rises or non-health spending cuts.

“But the Treasury will not tolerate a 10% deficit indefinitely and the timing of the next general election in 2024 suggests that Mr Sunak will not wait until the economy has fully recovered before actively tightening fiscal policy.

“Accordingly, we expect taxes to rise sharply in 2022, in order to attempt to stabilise the debt-to-GDP ratio while at the same time funding big demography-linked increases in health and pensions spending.”

Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said the borrowing figure “underscores the inevitability of tax hikes in the March budget”.

He added: “There is, therefore, the increasing need for a substantial amount of 2020's enforced savings, propelled by pent-up demand, to find its way back into the economy later this year.”

Meanwhile, MPs have warned that some local authorities are taking on risky levels of debt in an effort to stay financially afloat.

Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons public accounts committee, said the Treasury was displaying a “worryingly laissez faire attitude” to the issue.

Ms Hillier said that “some local authorities have taken on extremely risky levels of debt in recent years in an effort to shore up dwindling finances”, particularly in commercial property investments.

“The pandemic has doubly exposed that risk – in the huge extra demands and duties it is placing on local authorities, and in the hit to returns on commercial investments,” the Labour MP added.

By Sharon Marris

Japanese car maker Nissan commits to keep making cars in Sunderland

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 22nd Jan 2021) London, Uk – –

Japanese car maker Nissan has told the BBC its Sunderland plant is secure for the long term as a result of the trade deal reached between the UK and the EU.

It said it will move additional battery production close to the plant where it has 6,000 direct employees and supports nearly 70,000 jobs in the supply chain.

Currently, the batteries in its Leaf electric cars are imported from Japan.

Nissan would not confirm if this would mean additional jobs at Sunderland, which is the UK's largest car plant.

Manufacturing the more powerful batteries in the UK will ensure its cars comply with trade rules agreed with the EU requiring at least 55% of the car's value to be derived from either the UK or the EU to qualify for zero tariffs when exported to the EU.

Some 70% of the cars made in Sunderland are exported and the vast majority of them are sold in the EU.

Nissan had issued stark warnings last year that if the UK left the EU without a trade deal, the resulting tariffs on cars and components would make the Sunderland plant “unsustainable”.

Nissan's chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta told the BBC: “The Brexit deal is positive for Nissan. Being the largest automaker in the UK we are taking this opportunity to redefine auto-making in the UK.

“It has created a competitive environment for Sunderland, not just inside the UK but outside as well.

“We've decided to localise the manufacture of the 62kWh battery in Sunderland so that all our products qualify [for tariff-free export to the EU]. We are committed to Sunderland for the long term under the business conditions that have been agreed.”

It came as Nissan paused one of its two production lines in Sunderland on Friday as disruption at ports caused by the pandemic affected its supply chain.

The company said the move would affect the line which produces the Qashqai and Leaf, but work would resume next week.

‘Belief in Britain'

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng welcomed the firm's endorsement of Sunderland as a manufacturing base.

“Nissan's decision represents a genuine belief in Britain and a huge vote of confidence in our economy thanks to the certainty our trade deal with the EU delivers,” he said.

“For the dedicated and highly-skilled workforce in Sunderland, it means the city will be home to Nissan's latest models for years to come and positions the company to capitalise on the wealth of benefits that will flow from electric vehicle production.”

It's particularly welcome after the more guarded comments from the boss of Vauxhall's parent company last week.

Speaking as the tie-up between Fiat Chrsyler and Peugeot Citroen was christened with new umbrella name Stellantis, boss Carlos Tavares said that the future of its Ellesmere Port plant depended on the support the UK government was prepared to offer after its decision to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars after 2030.

“If you change, brutally, the rules and if you restrict the rules for business then there is at one point in time a problem,” he said.

Looking forward, he said it would make more sense to locate an electric vehicle factory closer to the larger EU market.

Industry voices welcomed the news from Nissan but reinforced the message from Vauxhall's owners that the government needs to do more to secure the future of the car industry as it electrifies.

“This is obviously good news and will help the Nissan Leaf avoid any future tariffs, but we are going to need to see a lot more investment in battery production in the UK if we are to preserve the UK as a car manufacturer and exporter,” said Professor David Bailey of Warwick University.

The head of trade body the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders agreed.

“The battery plant in Sunderland may be enough for Nissan's near-term plans to build tens of thousands of electric cars but the UK made 1.5 million cars last year and all will be partly electric by 2030,” Mike Hawes said.

‘Jobs at risk'

Andy Palmer, former boss of Aston Martin and current chairman of electric bus maker Switch Mobility, has gone further. He says that 800,000 jobs are at risk if the UK government doesn't act now to foster battery investment.

“Without electric vehicle batteries made in the UK, the country's auto industry risks becoming an antiquated relic and overtaken by China, Japan, America and Europe.”

He urged the UK government to use every lever at its disposal to make the UK attractive.

UK car investment has fallen sharply since the UK voted to leave the EU.

In the five years to 2016 it averaged £3.5bn per year. In the four years since it has averaged around £1bn – a fall of 71% at a time when the technology and map of car production are going through their biggest revolution since the car was invented.

The Nissan decision is therefore a very welcome boost to the UK which is in an international scramble for the investment of the future which is happening right now.

By Simon Jack

UK manufacturers’ concern about shortage of materials and workers as COVID and Brexit hit

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 21st Jan 2021) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – British manufacturers’ concerns about shortages of low-wage workers and supplies have risen the most in almost 50 years, a survey showed on Thursday, as they wrestle with COVID-19 disruptions and new customs rules after leaving the European Union.

A measure of how manufacturers feel about their competitiveness relative to EU rivals deteriorated at the fastest pace on record, meanwhile, and companies expected output and orders to decline, the Confederation of British Industry said of its survey results.

“Manufacturers across the board are continuing to battle major headwinds,” CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said.

A monthly index of new orders for January dropped to -38 from -25 in December, and a quarterly measure of optimism sank to -22 from zero in October.

However, export orders bucked the broader trend, with this balance rising to its least negative since March, though it was still below its long-run average.

“(This) suggests that EU firms are not hesitating to source goods from the UK, despite the extra red tape and rise in haulage costs,” Samuel Tombs of Pantheon Macroeconomics said.

The survey adds to signs that Britain’s economy will contract in early 2021, hit by a surge in coronavirus cases and restrictions, and new bureaucracy for trade with the EU.

Manufacturing accounts for about 10% of Britain’s economy.

The much bigger services sector has been hit far harder by social-distancing measures and is also facing new barriers to trade with the EU.

Separately, a new experimental measure of consumer spending indicated that credit and debit card spending in early January slumped to 35% below its level last February, before the pandemic.

The figures – published by the Office for National Statistics using Bank of England data – are not seasonally adjusted, so part of the fall probably reflects a normal drop in spending after Christmas, on top of the impact of new COVID restrictions which closed non-essential retailers this month.

The CBI figures showed many manufacturers reported a rush to build up stocks and complete EU orders in December, before the new customs rules took effect on Jan. 1.

British goods are not subject to tariffs or quotas as they enter the EU, but do face significant new paperwork, adding to costs and delays.

Concern about shortages of materials and components rose by the most since January 1975, which the CBI linked to COVID disruption to international trade and Brexit-linked customs delays.

Concerns about a lack of unskilled workers rose by the most since April 1974. New immigration rules since Jan. 1 limit employers’ ability to hire low-paid workers from the EU, at a time when COVID has led to increased staff absence.

By David Milliken, William Schomberg

Additional reporting by Andy Bruce

Low-deposit mortgages return as markets emerge from Covid-related slowdown

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 20th Jan 2021) London, Uk – –

Low-deposit mortgages have made a return as the market emerges from a Covid-related slowdown.

Mortgage products for homeowners with a deposit of 10% of their property's value have risen more than fourfold compared with last summer's low.

The increase, based on figures from financial information service Moneyfacts, could offer some relief to first-time buyers.

But the cost of mortgages will remain an issue for many.

‘Homeownership dreams'

In early September last year, there were only 44 mortgage products available for those able to offer a 10% deposit. At the same time, first-time buyers putting money aside for a deposit were faced with pressures of poor savings rates and rising house prices.

That choice has now risen to 197 products, according to the Moneyfacts figures, with some big lenders returning in recent weeks.

Mortgage products for those able to offer a 15% deposit have also risen sharply, although the choice was already much greater.

“First-time buyers who may have been concerned that with record low savings rates and increasing house prices, their homeownership dreams may have had to be shelved, may have been pleased to note that we are now seeing some providers return products for those with 10% deposits,” said Eleanor Williams, from Moneyfacts.

Lenders had been grappling with the practical effects that the coronavirus pandemic brought to their business.

While some new businesses targeted first-time buyers on social media, many traditional lenders withdrew products from the market.

Staff shortages, and employees working from home, meant they were unable to process applications as fast as they had before the pandemic.

There were also concerns among lenders that, despite strong activity in the housing market, riskier – and younger – first-time buyers could find it difficult to make mortgage repayments during an economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.

Research has shown that younger workers are more at risk of redundancy.

Aaron Strutt, from mortgage broker Trinity Financial, said lenders were now working more efficiently despite staff still being at home.

He said that some of the biggest mortgage lenders had returned to the market. Some of the mortgage rates they were offering were not as attractive as they had been, but competition would help push down costs.

“If you are planning to purchase a property and have a 10% deposit the mortgage rates are not as cheap as they used to be, but they are getting better,” he said.

Many thousands of existing mortgage-holders who had struggled to make their repayments during the pandemic had taken payment “holidays”, which are deferrals on payments.

The latest figures from UK Finance, which represents lenders, show that 130,000 mortgage payment holidays were in place at the end of December 2020, down from a peak of 1.8 million in June last year.

By Kevin Peachey
Personal finance correspondent

HSBC announced plans to shut 82 UK branches as customers shift online

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 20th Jan 2021) London, Uk – –

HSBC has announced plans to shut 82 UK branches this year after a shift towards telephone and internet banking.

The bank said it would “aim to redeploy all customer service colleagues who are impacted… into suitable nearby locations” but did not immediately say how many jobs were affected.

HSBC said the decision reflected “local market trends, customer behaviour and branch usage” and would see the total number of branches reduced to 511.

It said the closures are part of plans to become a market-leading digital bank and an overhaul of how remaining branches will operate.

Of the 82 sites closing, 81 are within a mile of a Post Office, two-thirds are within five miles of another HSBC branch and nine in 10 are within 10 miles, HSBC added.

HSBC said that even before counting the impact of the pandemic, the number of customers using branches has fallen by a third in the last five years.

The bank said 90% of all customer contact with it was over the phone, internet or smartphone and that staff talk with more than 100,000 customers a week on social media.

Jackie Uhi, HSBC UK's head of network, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the need for the changes that we are making.

“This is a strategic direction that we need to take to have a branch network fit for the future.”

The closures follow 164 announced by TSB adding to thousands that have disappeared from Britain's high streets in recent years from across the sector.

A recent report by consumer group Which? found banks and building societies had closed, or scheduled to close, 3,770 branches since January 2015.

HSBC, a global banking giant, revealed last year that it planned to cut 35,000 jobs globally.

The latest UK closures will take place between 23 April and 24 September.

Reporting by John-Paul Ford Rojas

These are the affected sites and their expected closure dates:

April

Edinburgh, Princes Street

May

Brighton, Ditchling Road

Hull, Merit House

Wednesbury

Sutton Coldfield, Four Oaks

Hull, Holderness Road

Pontyclun, Talbot Green

London, Fleet Street

London, Fenchurch Street

London, Old Broad Street

London, Charing Cross

Sheffield, Darnall

Oxford, Summertown

Leeds, Chapel Allerton

Cardiff, Rumney

Torquay, Strand

Staines

June

Plymouth, Forder House

Belper, King Street

Colchester

London, Whitechapel

London, Marylebone

London, Streatham Hill

Falkirk High Street

Fleet, Fleet Road

Reading, Woodley

Oxford, Headington

Swansea, Gorseinon

Wigston, Leicester Road

Tavistock, Bedford Square

Bristol, Nailsea

Leeds, Cross Gates

Yate, North Walk

July

London, Kingsbury Road

Cleckheaton, Bradford Road

Bexleyheath, Broadway

London, South Woodford

Birmingham, Erdington

Goole, Wesley Square

Congleton, High Street

Formby, Chapel Lane

Gillingham, Kent

Dunstable, West Street

Chorley, Market Street

Pontypridd, Taff Street

Felixstowe, Hamilton Road

Godalming, High Street

Prestatyn, High Street

London, Southgate

Tewkesbury, High Street

Maldon, High Street

Hatfield

Huntingdon, High Street

August

Stockport, Bramhall

London, Russell Square

Richmond, Market Place

Loughton, High Road

Rustington, The Street

Exmouth, Chapel Street

Bournemouth, Winton

Liverpool, University

Cleveleys, Victoria Square

Clevedon, Triangle

Northallerton, High Street

Walton-on-Thames, High Street

London, High Holborn

September

Barry, Holton Road

Aldershot, Wellington Street

Eastcote, Field End Road

London, Edgware Road

Ramsgate, High Street

Manchester, Chorlton-cum-Hardy

Letchworth, Station Place

London, Hackney

Barnet, High Street

Deal, High Street

Cheshunt, Turners Hill

Swadlincote, High Street

Dorking, West Street

Welshpool, Broad Street

London, Surrey Quays

Worksop, Bridge Street

Seafood lorries park near Downing Street in protest over EU border Brexit rules

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 18th Jan, 2021) London, Uk – –

Seafood companies have warned they could go under in days as they face long delays getting into the EU, ruining produce.

Lorries used to transport British seafood have parked on the roads near Downing Street in protest over delays getting into the EU due to new Brexit rules.

More than 20 large lorries from seafood companies across the UK were parked up, with one carrying the slogan “Brexit Carnage” while another said: “Incompetent Government Destroying Shellfish Industry!”

Over the past few days there has been a suggestion that drivers will dump their wasted stock outside Downing Street, but so far this has not happened.

Many British fishermen have been unable to export their stocks to Europe since the start of the year after the introduction of catch certificates, health checks and customs declarations have meant lengthy delays getting into the EU.

European buyers have been rejecting their catches as they are taking too long to get to them, costing producers tens of thousands of pounds per lorry in some cases.

Britain exports vast quantities of scallops, oysters, lobsters, mussels, langoustine and crab to the EU, which were previously rushed straight to the continent after being harvested.

A spokesman for DR Collin and Son, which had several lorries at the protest, said the industry is “being tied in knots with paperwork requirements which would be easy enough to navigate” as companies have been preparing for some time for leaving the EU.

“However, all the training is going to waste as the technology is outdated and cannot cope with the demands being placed on it – which in turn is resulting in no produce being able to leave the UK,” he said.

“These are not ‘teething issues' as reported by the government, and the consequences of these problems will be catastrophic on the lives of fishermen, fishing towns and the shellfish industry as a whole.

“Action needs to be taken urgently to allow the procedures to be realigned in a manner which reflects the time restraints faced in the export of live shellfish to Europe.”Seafood firms ‘only have weeks to survive' – as environment secretary admits ‘teething problems'

Gary Hodgson, a director of Venture Seafoods, which exports live and processed crabs and lobsters to the EU, said he had cancelled several lorries since December due to the arduous red tape now involved with exporting to the EU.

He said one operator needed 400 pages of export documentation last week to board a ferry to the EU.

Those at the protest said the government needed to understand the severity of the problems they face and the impact on coastal communities, many who rely on seafood sales to the EU to survive.

They want a more workable system and say there is a shortage of custom agents on both sides of the Channel.

Jimmy Buchan, chief executive of the Scottish Seafood Association, said they had seen little improvement in the fortnight since the new rules were in place.

He said: “There has been a lot of direct engagement between the industry and ministers and civil servants in recent days, and plenty of soothing words about resolving ‘teething troubles'.

“But these are not minor impediments to trade. The industry in Scotland has basically ground to a halt and businesses that employ hundreds of people in communities around our coastline are losing money.

“In some cases they are close to going under.

“It is time for our government to get a grip of what is now a full-blown crisis, and fast, before severe and lasting damage is done to the sector.”

The seafood industry has warned fishing businesses could collapse within days, but Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Sunday said the delays were just “teething problems”.

He told the BBC he was “not convinced” the delays were because of the government's trade deal with the EU and argued it will “create huge, sustainable opportunities” for the sector.

Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a committee of MPs that fishing businesses would be compensated for what he described as “temporary frustrations”.

By Alix Culbertson

Next Fashion chain reported to be the frontrunner to buy Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 18th Jan 2021) London, Uk – –

Fashion chain Next is reported to be the frontrunner to buy Sir Philip Green's Arcadia retail empire out of administration as a deadline for bids comes due on Monday.

The Sunday Times said a consortium including the chain and US hedge fund Davidson Kempner has overtaken Mike Ashley's Frasers Group among others to buy the company, which owns Topshop.

Some 13,000 jobs were put at risk when Arcadia went bust in November.

Next declined to comment on the claims.

The retailer, which has 550 UK stores, has weathered the pandemic well, with its Christmas sales matching last year's figures despite temporary store closures.

By contrast, sales at Acadia, which also owns Burton and Dorothy Perkins, slumped during the crisis triggering its collapse.

Since November, administrators Deloitte have been looking for buyers for some or all of the group, which had 444 stores in the UK and 22 overseas at the time.

Frasers Group, which owns House of Fraser and Sports Direct, and has a track record of buying up failed brands, has expressed an interest.

According to reports, Authentic Brands, the US owner of the Barneys department store, and JD Sports have tabled a joint offer, while online retailer Boohoo is also said to be circling.

Deloitte and Arcadia declined to comment on the reports.

Experts expect Arcadia to be broken up, with bidders taking on different parts of the business, and brands potentially hived off from their stores.

In December, Australian collective City Chic said it would buy Arcadia's Evans brand, commerce and wholesale business for £23m but not its store network.

Next boss Simon Wolfson has said it will take a minority stake in Arcadia, with Davidson Kempner holding the majority, if the consortium's bid succeeds.

‘More pain to come'

Last year was the worst for the High Street in more than 25 years as the coronavirus accelerated the move towards online shopping, according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).

Nearly 180,000 retail jobs were lost in the UK, up by almost a quarter on the previous year, as shops faced strict curbs and prolonged closures.

CRR warned there will be more pain for the sector in 2021 as retailers face a cash flow crisis and rent payments.

It has predicted up to 200,000 more retail jobs will be at risk in 2021.

The Electric Pickup Truck War Is Here

Source: Bloomberg

The electrification of the pickup truck, America's most beloved automobile, could finally jolt EVs fully into the U.S. mainstream. It also promises a huge payday for the companies that can make them affordable. The players in this potentially lucrative market aren't just the traditional, deep-pocketed automakers, mind you: there's a batch of well-funded startups going head-to-head in the coming fight

15 Powerful Goals to Set for 2021

Source: Alux

This Alux.com video we will be answering the following questions: What are you plans for 2021? What are your goals for 2021? What should you achieve in 2021? What are the best goals for 2021? What are the best new year's resolutions for 2021? How should you set up your goals? How to plan for your goals? How to make this year better? How to set personal goals? What are the best personal goals? What are the most powerful personal goals for 2021? How to make the most out of 2021?

Lidl and food courier Just Eat sales surged by lockdown living

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Thur, 14th Jan 2021) London, Uk – –

Restaurant and pub closures fuel trading boom over Christmas period

Lockdown living has driven a surge in demand at Lidl and the food courier Just Eat, with both companies posting strong sales for the final weeks of 2020.

With restaurants and cafes closed to diners, the boom in home eating led Just Eat Takeaway.com to report a 57% spike in orders across Europe during the final three months of last year, compared with a year earlier.

The leap in trade reported by the continent’s biggest food delivery service was a further acceleration in growth from the 46% jump in the third quarter.

In the UK, delivery orders surged by almost 400% in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared with the same period of 2019, as many consumers were once again asked by the government to stay indoors.

Just Eat Takeaway, based in the Netherlands and one of the world’s largest online food delivery firms, said it had put “tremendous effort” into improving its British business, including a doubling of its UK sales force.

In 2021, we will continue to invest in price leadership, improving our service levels and expanding our offering to restaurants and consumers,” said Jitse Groen, the chief executive.

Lidl also reported a record Christmas, as customers celebrated with panettone and pink prosecco.

Sales at the chain rose by 17.9% in the four weeks to 27 December, compared with the same period a year earlier. The increase was larger than those at the UK’s four biggest supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons – and Aldi.

British supermarkets notched up their biggest month on record in December, with consumers spending £11.7bn on take-home groceries, according to analysts at the research group Kantar, as coronavirus restrictions led to the closure of many restaurants, pubs and cafes during the key trading period.

Lidl said shoppers bought more goods – with basket size increasing by almost 25% year on year – and British households switched £34.7m of spend to Lidl from other supermarkets.

Customers’ taste for premium food and drink over the Christmas period boosted their spend, and sales of Lidl’s Deluxe range climbed by 22%.

Lidl shoppers bought more than 1m bottles of pink prosecco during the festive period, as well as 2.7m panettones. An average of 17,000 Deluxe mince pies an hour were sold during December.

Christian Härtnagel, chief executive of Lidl GB, said its record sales and basket size growth demonstrated the strength of the chain’s appeal.

And the store’s first branded Christmas jumper, featuring the logo as part of a festive design, appears to have topped the charts, with one sold every minute in the month to 27 December.

“Despite this Christmas being a difficult time for many across the country, we are pleased to have been able to help our customers enjoy themselves by offering high-quality food at the lowest prices on the market,” he said.

Trump dropped by Deutsche Bank for future business – NYT

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 12th Jan 2021) London, UK —

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Deutsche Bank will not do business in the future with U.S. President Donald Trump or his companies in the wake of his supporters’ assault on the U.S. Capitol, the New York Times reported.

Deutsche Bank is Trump’s biggest lender, with about $340 million in loans outstanding to the Trump Organization, the president’s umbrella group that is currently overseen by his two sons, according to Trump’s disclosures with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics dated July 31 last year, plus banking sources.

The move, reported by the NYT and citing a person familiar with the bank’s thinking, comes as Signature Bank – where Trump’s ethics disclosures show he has checking and money-market accounts – called for him to step down.

“The resignation of the president … is in the best interests of our nation and the American people,” Signature Bank said on its website.

A spokesman for Deutsche Bank declined to comment on Tuesday on the NYT report.

The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment outside normal business hours, and the White House press office did not answer the phone.

Christiana Riley, the head of Deutsche Bank’s U.S. operations, condemned the Jan. 6 violence in Washington in a post on LinkedIn last week.

“We are proud of our Constitution and stand by those who seek to uphold it to ensure that the will of the people is upheld and a peaceful transition of power takes place,” she wrote.

Reuters reported in November that Deutsche Bank was looking for ways to end its relationship with Trump after the U.S. elections, as it tires of the negative publicity stemming from the ties.

Trump’s loans with Deutsche are for a golf course in Miami and hotels in Washington and Chicago.

The president was handed a rebuke by the world of professional golf this week, with the PGA of America and the R&A both announcing they would shun two courses owned by the President in the wake of the Capitol storming.

Twitter and Facebook have shut down Trump’s social-media feeds.

Reporting by Tom Sims

Dr Martens UK footwear brand planning £3bn stock market debut in London

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 12th Jan 2021) London, Uk – –

Footwear brand expected to float at least 25% of business as sales surge during pandemic

First popularised by the skinheads in the 1960s, Dr Martens later becoming fashion staples among punks, goths and schoolgirls.

The British footwear brand Dr Martens is planning a £3bn flotation, more than 60 years after its first pair of boots were stitched together in Northamptonshire.

Best known for its 1460 boot featuring its trademark yellow stitching and chunky soles, the company expects to float at least 25% of the business on the London stock market.

It comes nearly seven years after Dr Martens was bought for £300m by the private equity group Permira. Sales under its ownership have surged, rising from £160m in 2013 to £672m in the year to March 2020. Sources close to the plans said the shoe company expects to seek a valuation of about £3bn.

The brand, which sells 11m pairs of shoes and boots a year across more than 60 countries, managed to grow throughout the pandemic, despite lockdowns that forced its 130 high street stores to close. Dr Martens reported an 18% rise in sales to £318m in the six months to September, while profits grew by a third to £86.3m. The majority of sales come from the wholesale business, which sells to third-party retailers.

The first pair of Dr Martens made in the UK was in 1960 at its original factory in Northamptonshire, where one of its two main offices is still based. The boots grew in popularity over the following decades, first adopted by skinheads in the 1960s, and later becoming fashion staples among punks, goths and schoolgirls.

However, Russ Mould, the investment director at broker AJ Bell, said there were some “red flags”, including consumer complaints over the quality of Dr Martens footwear.

“Could it be that the business has suffered under private equity ownership? Many investors are sceptical about backing companies that are being sold by private equity, for fear they might have suffered from underinvestment and subjected to a ‘quantity over quality’ approach for production,” Mould said.

However, some critics have said the alleged deterioration came after it shifted the bulk of its production from the UK to Asia nearly 20 years ago, he said.

Dr Martens said it rejected allegations of declining standards, and said Permira had continued to invest in the business since its takeover.

The footwear firm also said on Monday it had diversified its supply chain, and reduced the proportion of shoes made in China from 46% to 32% between 2019 and 2020, but did not link the changes to quality concerns.

Mould said Dr Martens’ IPO was coming at an interesting time for UK markets, hot on the heels of a Brexit deal and the best-ever start to a calendar year for the FTSE 100. “If ever there was a good time to market a well-known British name to investors, it is now,” he said.

By Kalyeena Makortoff

How Self-Storage Industry Continues to Outperform During The Pandemic to Make Billions

Source: CNBC

Americans collectively have more than five billion items sitting at home that they no longer use, according to a 2019 survey by online marketplace Mercari. One-click shopping and the globalization of overseas manufacturing has made it easier than ever for consumers to acquire goods. According to the Self Storage Association, an industry trade group, more than 10% of households in the U.S. rented a self-storage unit in 2020, 18% more than in 2005. The self-storage industry has continued to outperform during the pandemic, with several companies reporting strong occupancy and healthy demand, according to the research site Yardi Matrix. But with headwinds threatening the economy will self-storage companies like Public Storage and Extra Space Storage be able to maintain their momentum? And what will new disruptors like Neighbor and Clutter mean for the future of the industry?

ASOS new fulfilment centre to employ 2,000 people

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 8th Jan 2021) London, Uk – –

The news comes a few months after ASOS reported a 329% rise in annual profits thanks to demand for casual clothing in lockdown.

Online fashion retailer ASOS will invest £90m in a new fulfilment centre in Staffordshire.

The 437,000sqft centre just outside Lichfield will employ 2,000 people over the next three years, the business said.

It will open within the next 12 months and is expected to reach peak trade by 2023.

The Lichfield fulfilment centre will be the company's fourth. It already has sites in Barnsley, Berlin and Atlanta.

In October, ASOS reported a 329% rise in annual profits after sales held up thanks to demand for casual clothing and sportswear during lockdown.Advertisement

Revenues rose 19% for the year to the end of August – a slight slowdown compared to the 21% growth in the first half of the year, with smart and “going out” clothes becoming harder to shift.

The group faced higher costs to implement safety measures at warehouses but saved money as “more deliberate purchasing behaviour” from customers meant fewer items were returned.

ASOS saw slowing growth over the summer and government restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus pandemic resulted in lower demand for occasion wear.

The retailer said it had instead expanded its casual wear offering to adapt to the “shift in 20-something lifestyle”.

Ryanair to roll-out 737 MAX with UK market – CEO

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 7th Jan 2021) London, UK —

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ryanair plans to begin deploying its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in the United Kingdom following its first deliveries in the coming months, CEO Eddie Wilson said on Thursday.

The airline has said it expects to receive around 30 of the MAX aircraft, which were ungrounded in the United States late last year after a 20-month safety ban that followed two fatal crashes.

“We will deploying those probably initially in the UK,” Eddie Wilson told Newstalk radio.

Reporting by Conor Humphries