Maserati is an Italian luxury and sports car brand that doesn’t have the recognition that big names like BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, or even Ferrari have. For decades it was owned by Fiat Group, which later became Fiat Chrysler. Maserati gave it a presence in premium and luxury segments. But they've struggled in recent years, with falling sales and concerns among analysts that Fiat Chrysler did not make needed investments to update Maserati’s product lineup. Now that Fiat-Chrysler has merged with France’s Groupe PSA to form Stellantis, there is speculation over which brands in the stable will survive and succeed.
It’s been a year like no other, and we aren’t talking about the pandemic. There were rapid-fire public offerings, surging cryptocurrencies and skyrocketing stock prices. The number of billionaires on Forbes’ 35th annual list of the world’s wealthiest exploded to an unprecedented 2,755–660 more than a year ago. Of those, a record high 493 were new to the list–roughly one every 17 hours, including 210 from China and Hong Kong. Another 250 who’d fallen off in the past came roaring back. A staggering 86% are richer than a year ago.
Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest for the fourth year running, worth $177 billion, while Elon Musk rocketed into the number two spot with $151 billion, as Tesla and Amazon shares surged. Altogether these billionaires are worth $13.1 trillion, up from $8 trillion in 2020. The U.S. still has the most, with 724, followed by China (including Hong Kong and Macao) with 698. We used stock prices and exchange rates from March 5 to calculate net worths. See below for the full list of the world’s billionaires and our methodology.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 16th April 2021) London, Uk – –
Successful vaccine programmes will prevent another washout for summer holidaymakers, the boss of Europe's largest tour company has told the BBC.
“We are optimistic about the summer,” said Friedrich Joussen, who runs TUI.
The firm – which owns a fleet of aircraft, cruise ships and a chain of travel agencies – said bookings in March alone had hit 2.8 million.
As a result, it expected to operate up to 75% of its normal schedule for the summer season.
“We are still confident that we will have a decent summer,” said Mr Joussen, pointing to coronavirus vaccination programmes in the UK, US and Europe.
The company, which sells holidays to 180 different countries, suffered heavy losses during the pandemic.
Across the industry, income slumped by almost $4.5 trillion last year, leaving more than 62 million people without work, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
The industry body is pressing for international travel to resume in June to stem further job losses.
But Mr Joussen said he expected some countries to ask travellers to prove they had been vaccinated before they were allowed to cross the border. Although he thinks demonstrating a negative test result would be just as effective in preventing the spread of the virus.
However, for that strategy to be successful, he said the cost of those tests should be reduced.
“The cheaper it gets, the better it works and the less harmful it is for the general economy,” he said.
European countries have ramped up their vaccination programmes in recent weeks, as the continent experiences a third wave of infections in the face of new variants. Nevertheless, Mr Joussen is optimistic about the summer.
“All medical advice we are getting as a company says that existing vaccines are working with existing variants,” Mr Joussen said.
“Now they might be less efficient sometimes, but still it's much better than not being vaccinated.”
In the past year, TUI has been forced to borrow billions from the German government just to stay afloat. But analysts have warned that in the wake of the crisis, the part-nationalised firm may struggle to compete against leaner rivals, as the industry reels from more than 12 months of international travel bans.
Mr Joussen said the German state stepped in at a time of great uncertainty, when the firm was struggling to survive and could not raise money from private investors.
“Berlin is a very rational investor,” he said, adding: “Germany would want to exit the loan as soon as possible.”
(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Fri, 16th Apr 2021) London, Uk – –
Online grocer strikes commercial partnership with Oxford-based self-driving vehicles company
Ocado has invested £10m in a self-driving vehicles company to drive its ambition to make autonomous grocery deliveries and develop “kerb-to-kitchen robots” to drop off shopping in homes.
The online grocer, which has previously tested a prototype self-driving truck delivering food and snacks to customers in south-east London, has moved to strike a commercial partnership with Oxford-based Oxbotica, which developed the truck.
Ocado, which will take a seat on Oxbotica’s board, said the technology could be used for “last-mile deliveries and kerb-to-kitchen robots”. The trials in Greenwich, London, in 2017 used a small “CargoPod” that holds eight boxes and required customers to leave their houses to pick up their shopping.
Ocado said the driverless vehicles could also operate inside its fulfilment centre buildings and the yards around them.Advertisement
“We are excited about the opportunity to work with Oxbotica to develop a wide range of autonomous solutions,” said Alex Harvey, the chief of advanced technology at Ocado. “These solutions truly have the potential to transform both our and our partners’ customer fulfilment centres and service delivery operations while also giving all end customers the widest range of options and flexibility.”
Ocado said there were potentially huge savings to be made by introducing autonomous technology to its operation. The moving of orders within its fulfilment centres costs 1.5% of UK sales and the cost of “final-mile delivery” is about 10% of sales. Labour represents about half of these costs.
Owing to regulatory and complexity reasons, Ocado said the development of vehicles that operate in low-speed urban areas or in restricted-access areas, such as its fulfilment buildings and yards, “may become a reality sooner than fully autonomous deliveries to consumers’ homes”.
As part of the collaboration, Ocado said it would outfit some of its delivery vans and warehouse vehicles with data capture capabilities, such as video cameras and radar, to train and test Oxbotica’s technology.
Ocado, which employs almost 19,000 staff, said the vehicle autonomy programme would not change “current hiring or employment levels within logistics or operations groups”.
The grocer took part in a wider funding round by Oxbotica led by BP Ventures and including the Chinese tech firm Tencent.
“This is an excellent opportunity for Oxbotica and Ocado to strengthen our partnership, sharing our vision for the future of autonomy,” said Paul Newman, a co-founder of Oxbotica.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 13th Apr 2021) London, UK —
(Reuters) -Britain’s biggest sportswear retailer JD Sports on Tuesday forecast profit growth this year and announced plans to ramp up warehouse capacity to fulfil online orders and minimise disruptions from Brexit.
The company, known for its sneakers and athleisure products, also said it would resume dividend payments after beating analysts expectations for profit for the year ended Jan. 30, 2021.
“The global COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, the UK’s formal exit from the European Union have presented a series of unprecedented challenges which have severely tested all aspects of our business,” said Executive Chairman Peter Cowgill.
JD Sports’ online business performed well during the pandemic and the company has embarked on at least three big acquisitions in the United States and Europe in the past few months. More deals are expected to follow after the company raised 464 million pounds ($638.46 million) in equity in February.
Britain’s departure from the European Union, however, had caused some disruptions due to customs checks on the transfer of goods from the UK to EU countries, the sportswear retailer said. It will open a warehouse in Dublin that will be operational in the second half of this year in order to fulfil online orders in Ireland.
JD Sports signed a letter of intent with Clipper Logistics for e-fulfilment and warehousing in the UK as it expects online sales to remain elevated and social distancing norms to remain in the foreseeable future.
The company, which opened a facility in Belgium last autumn, said it continued to review opportunities for a larger permanent European facility to meet demand from mainland Europe.
JD expects adjusted pretax profit for the year through January 2022 of between 475 million pounds to 500 million pounds. It reported annual profit of 421.3 million pounds and proposed a dividend of 1.44 pence per share.
JPMorgan said in a note that the confidence shown by JD at such an early stage of the year “should be seen as a strong signal of robust trading and execution”.
($1 = 0.7267 pounds)
Reporting by Vishwadha Chander and Yadarisa Shabong
Investors turn to cryptocurrency after Erdoğan’s sacking of central bank governor caused further fall in lira
The neighbourhood teahouse is a focus of daily life across Turkey, an Ottoman tradition that has endured through the centuries. At the Red Lightning teahouse in Çorum, the enterprising owners have one foot in the past and one in the future: it’s the first one in the country where customers can pay in bitcoin.
“Everyone we know in Çorum is starting to invest in cryptocurrency. We think that in five years or so regular currency will be in decline, it will be replaced by digital ones. So we wanted to be in a good position now,” said co-owners Hüseyin Nalcı, 38, and Kerem Kutay Yıldırım, 28.
“The older customers think it’s a bit absurd. They made fun of us. But now the dürüm [wrap] shop next door is asking us to teach them.”
The Turkish lira slumped dramatically last month after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s shock decision to fire the central bank governor, Naci Ağbal. The reserve is now on its fourth governor in less than two years, and the lira has lost half its value since a 2018 currency crisis.
Inflation reached a six-month high in March of 16.19%, well above a 5% target, and unemployment remains high, at 12.2%.
The latest economic turmoil has led to a surge in cryptocurrency trading in the country, with investors hoping to gain from bitcoin’s rally and shelter against inflation.
Data from the US researcher Chainalysis analysed by Reuters showed that trading volumes between the start of February and 24 March hit 218bn lira (£19bn) with a spike on the weekend Ağbal was sacked, up from just over 7bn lira in the same period a year earlier. Cryptocurrency worth 23bn lira was traded in the first few days after the shock announcement, the data showed, versus 1bn lira in the same timespan in 2020.
Turkish Google searches for cryptocurrency also hit a record high in the week before Ağbal was removed. The governor, who took over the post in November, was reportedly at loggerheads with Erdoğan’s over interest rate hikes: contrary to mainstream economic thinking, the president has repeatedly said that he believes high interest rates cause inflation.
Bitcoin’s climb to a new record of just under $62,000 (or more than £44,000) has seen interest in the digital currency soar worldwide: investors and companies have embraced the emerging asset despite warnings about its volatility.
“Turkish people like stable assets due to our history of high inflation,” Özgür Güneri, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange BtcTurk, told Reuters. “That is why generation after generation of Turks invested in gold, real estate and dollars.”
Turkish interest in cryptocurrencies has been growing steadily for several years, in large part because they are finite resources with a reputation for being immune to inflation.
So far, Ankara has not made any moves to regulate or tax the digital currency space, which adds to the appeal for Turkey’s youthful, tech-savvy population.
Erdoğan recently reiterated calls for Turks to invest gold and foreign currencies kept under the mattress in order to shore up domestic financial markets. The country’s recent economic troubles have had significant implications for his ruling Justice and Development party: its support has fallen away with the abrupt end of years of strong economic growth.
At Sirius Coin, a cryptocurrency cashpoint near the gold dealers of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, Mehmet, 35, said business was booming. The shop’s owners are getting ready to launch their own trading exchange by the end of the year.
“Everyone wants to get rich quick. Turks are no exception to that,” he said.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 12th April 2021) London, Uk – –
For the first time in months pub gardens, shops and hairdressers are reopening in England, as rules are also eased in the rest of the UK.
Some pubs and salons opened at midnight, with one landlord saying there was a “sense of celebration”, and shoppers queued outside Primark stores.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged everyone to “behave responsibly”.
Northern Ireland's “stay-at-home” order is ending and some rules are also being relaxed in Scotland and Wales.
The PM had planned to have a celebratory pint to mark the measures easing, but that has been postponed following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh on Friday.
Nicholas Hair, landlord and owner of the Kentish Belle pub in Bexleyheath, south-east London, said there was a “sense of celebration” in the early hours of Monday as it opened to midnight pubgoers.
“I'm hoping that this is a sort of rebirth, and that we are reopen for the foreseeable,” he said.
But the British Beer and Pub Association has estimated that only 40% of licensed premises have the space to reopen for outdoor service.
Marika Smith, general manager of Hough End Leisure Centre, Withington, Manchester, says she “has not slept the last two nights” in anticipation of reopening.
“All of the swimming is fully booked, you can't get on any, and the same for the busy parts of this evening, 6-7 o'clock is fully booked,” she said.
Another business that reopened at midnight in England was Secret Spa, which offers at-home salon and spa treatments in London, Manchester and Brighton.
Co-owner Emily Ewart-Perks said it had “been such a long time coming”, saying: “Everyone has really missed the social contact of the day-to-day job and making clients happy.”
She said they have experienced a “surge of bookings”, including “a lot of 6am haircuts”.
PureGym at Coventry Skydome reported more than 50 members using its gym in the opening 30 minutes on Monday morning.
The rule changes in England from Monday include:
All shops can reopen
Hairdressers, beauty salons and other close-contact services can open
Restaurants and pubs are allowed to serve food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors
Gyms, spas, zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centres can all open
Members of the same household can take a holiday in England in self-contained accommodation
Non-essential journeys between England and Wales are allowed
Up to 15 people can attend weddings and 30 can attend funerals
Children can attend any indoor children's activity
Care home visitors will increase to two per resident
Driving lessons can resume, with tests restarting on 22 April
In Northern Ireland, the remaining school year groups 8-11 will return to the classroom. The stay-at-home message is being relaxed and up to 10 people from two households can meet in a private garden.
Shoppers told ‘stay safe' as Welsh stores reopen
‘Everyone's raring to get back to the gym'
In Scotland, pupils at schools in six council areas go back to school today. Not everyone is returning on Monday because differing term times mean some schools are still closed for the Easter holidays.
After a drop in Covid cases prompted the Welsh Government to bring forward some dates for reopening, all students will return to face-to-face teaching on Monday.
Non-essential shops can also reopen, close-contact services can resume, driving lessons can restart and travel in and out of Wales from the rest of the UK is allowed.
Analysis: By Simon Jack
Shoppers, gym fans, domestic holiday makers, outdoor drinkers and diners, plus those in need of a haircut will share the government's hope that today is an irreversible step towards old and cherished freedoms.
So will the business owners who will be welcoming them back.
But this significant easing of lockdown is also an important test.
Will customers want or be able to return in sufficient numbers for firms to break even and if they don't, what will it take to make the economy work again?
Only two in five hospitality venues have any outdoor space and the rules over future inside opening are still unclear.
The government and the opposition have distanced themselves from requiring Covid certificates for day-to-day life but the government has also hinted individual businesses may require them if they wish.
Hospitality chiefs have told the BBC they fear having to choose between two different ways to lose money – half empty venues without certificates or full ones with extra staff and hassle to check Covid status.
Demand may vary by sector.
Hairdressers are booked solid, retailers are hopeful of high footfall and are welcoming longer opening hours but some holiday parks are reporting subdued bookings as many of their public amenities remain closed.
It is a test for everyone – but a welcome one for most.
In a statement, the prime minister said the rule relaxations are “a major step forward in our roadmap to freedom”.
“I'm sure it will be a huge relief for those business owners who have been closed for so long, and for everyone else it's a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed,” he added.
“I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and remember ‘hands, face, space and fresh air' to suppress Covid as we push on with our vaccination programme.”
The rule changes in England marks the third easing since the country's third national lockdown began on 6 January.
There is a gap of at least five weeks between each step on the government's “roadmap” out of lockdown, to allow the impact of changes on infection rates and hospital admissions to be assessed.
Pupils begin full time return to secondary schools
NI's ‘stay home' order lifted as restrictions ease
Shoppers told ‘stay safe' as Welsh stores reopen
The next significant date is 17 May, when up to six people from different households could be allowed to socialise indoors.
Will cases now rise?
By BBC health correspondent Anna Collinson
As restrictions are eased, infections are expected to rise.
The government argues that the UK is in a strong position – with almost 40 million combined first and second vaccine doses now administered.
It doesn't view the reopening of non-essential shops and beer gardens as particularly risky – as long as people stick to the rules.
However, there are some scientists who fear today's relaxation has come too soon and they are concerned about virus hotspots in the East Midlands and parts of Yorkshire.
There are strict criteria that must be met before moving to the next stage of easing lockdown restrictions, including the continued success of the vaccine rollout and protecting the NHS from being overwhelmed with cases.
The next stage will be the planned return of indoor mixing and foreign travel on 17 May at the earliest – and it's these steps that are expected to pose the greater risk.
More than 32 million people in the UK have now had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine and of those 7.4m have had their second dose.
A record total of 475,230 second doses were administered on Saturday – along with 111,109 first doses.
Mr Johnson praised the “record-breaking day” on Twitter, writing: “Thanks to everyone involved in this extraordinary effort which has already saved thousands of lives.”
The number of people dying in the UK within 28 days of a positive Covid test continues to fall steadily, with seven further deaths reported on Sunday.
That is the lowest daily death toll by this measure since 14 September 2020. However, there can be a lag in reporting coronavirus statistics during weekends.
It should be a big year for cinema, with a host of delayed blockbusters and big sequels hopefully coming to screens
Last year was, let’s be honest, a car crash for the cinema industry. A year that started brightly with 1917 and Parasite was derailed by the pandemic, leaving a host of long-awaited blockbusters scattered in its wake. The new James Bond film was pushed back, and then back again. Marquee titles went straight to streaming.
Even the behemoth that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe wasn’t immune, with Black Widow among the films to be bumped into 2021. What all the chaos does mean, however, is that there is a glut of unreleased movies which could make this year one of the most memorable in cinematic history (particularly if you like sequels and reboots). Release dates are very subject to change.
In the United States, the 2008 financial crash pulled a generation out of what had previously been a comfortable retirement. Suddenly forced to work again, these older Americans travel the country in search of seasonal work – a phenomenon which was described in a 2017 non-fiction book by Jessica Bruder. The film version, a drama based on the book, stars Frances MacDormand (Fargo, Three Billboards) as Fern, who loses her job after the crash and has to adjust to life on the road. February 19
Raya and the Last Dragon
Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina star in this computer-animated Disney fantasy film inspired by the cultures of south-east Asia. It’s set in the world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons once lived together in harmony until mysterious monsters known as the Druun broke their alliance. Five hundred years later, Raya embarks on a quest to track down the last dragon, and save the world. This one ticks most of the Disney tropes – headstrong princess, cute animal sidekick – but it’s not expected to be a musical like its other hits. March 12
The Many Saints of Newark
This feature length prequel to The Sopranos is one of the most anticipated releases of the year, and rightly so. The television series, which followed New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano and his inner and outer struggles, is one of the most critically acclaimed shows of all time – with late actor James Gandolfini’s performances a particular highlight. Here, Gandolfini’s son Michael takes over the role of a younger Tony Soprano in a story thought to be set during the Newark riots of the 1960s, and co-written by Sopranos creator David Chase. March 19
No Time To Die
Daniel Craig’s fifth and final outing as James Bond has been a long time coming. Originally due for release in November 2019, it was pushed back to February and then April 2020, following the departure of original director Danny Boyle due to creative differences. New director Cary Joji Fukunaga took over in 2018, bringing on Phoebe Waller-Bridge to help punch up the script, only to fall foul of the pandemic. The story itself wraps up the Craig-driven reboot of the series, and picks up five years after the events of Spectre, with Bond in peaceful retirement until he is approached by CIA friend Felix Leiter, to help search for a missing scientist. April 2
A Quiet Place: Part II
The first A Quiet Place – which saw Emily Blunt and John Krasinki as parents trying to survive an attack from creatures that hunt with sound – was a surprise hit. The sequel sees them venturing into the outside world, armed with a new piece of vital knowledge about their foes’ weakness. The cast members of the first film are joined by Cillian Murphy for this sequel, which was originally due for release in March 2020. April 23
Last Night In Soho
At the time of writing, details are pretty thin on the ground for this psychological horror flick helmed by stylish director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Ant-Man). It follows a young, fashion-mad girl who mysteriously finds herself in the 1960s, and face to face with her idol. It stars Anna Taylor-Joy, who played Beth Harmon in the critically acclaimed chess drama The Queen’s Gambit, as well as Matt Smith (Doctor Who, The Crown) and the late Diana Rigg (Game of Thrones). April 23
The latest instalment in the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe fills in the origin story for Natasha Romanoff – Black Widow – who appeared as part of the ensemble cast in numerous MCU films but has never been given a standalone movie. Scarlett Johansson reprises her role, possibly for the last time, and is joined by Florence Pugh, David Harbour and Ray Winstone. Set after the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, it follows Romanoff as she’s forced to confront her shady past as a spy and assassin. May 7
Look, if you lapped up the gritty superhero reboots and the live-action Disney remakes, you really have no right to complain about their inevitable endpoint: an origin story for Cruella de Vil, the iconic villain of 101 Dalmatians. Alas, it’s pitched as a comedy, which is a disappointment for anyone eager for a Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker style reimagining of the character, who will be played by Emma Stone, with Emma Thompson among those supporting. That said, it still promises to be pretty dark, if the start of the Wikipedia plot summary is anything to go by: “In 1970s London, young fashion designer Estella de Vil becomes obsessed with dogs’ skins”. May 28
Yes, they already rebooted the Ghostbusters franchise. No, that hasn’t stopped them from revisiting the series yet again to make a sequel to the two original movies. Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson reprise their roles from the original films – the story follows a young family who discover they are linked to the original Ghostbusters when their small town experiences a series of unexplained earthquakes. June 11
In The Heights
Before Hamilton, there was In The Heights – Lin-Manuel Miranda's breakout musical. The story follows several characters in Washington Heights, an area where many Spanish-speaking communities have made their home. It's been adapted by Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu. June 11
Set in and around the beautiful Italian coast, Luca looks to be another gorgeous visual feast from Pixar. It follows the story of Luca, a young boy working his way through childhood while harbouring a secret: he's part of a family of sea monsters that live off the coast. June 18
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
One of three films set in Sony’s Spider-Man universe (along with Jared Leto’s Morbius, and possibly the third Tom Holland MCU Spider-Man movie) coming out in 2021, Let There Be Carnage is a sequel to 2018’s Venom, which starred Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock – a journalist who is taken hostage a by an alien symbiote that imbues him with superhuman abilities. Woody Harrelson plays Carnage, a psychotic serial killer who also has an alien symbiote. June 25
Top Gun: Maverick
The formula for blockbuster success: take a beloved 1980s classic, wheel its stars out of retirement, pair with them some fresh young talent, and hope that you sell enough tickets to kick off a whole new franchise. It worked for Jurassic Park, and now Tom Cruise is back to try and recapture the magic of the original Top Gun. He reprises his role as Maverick, and Val Kilmer is back too as his former rival “Iceman” Kazansky – joined by Jon Hamm, Miles Teller (playing Goose’s son). Based on the trailer, the plot involves Cruise pulling a lot of g in a series of scenic valleys, after being called on to train a group of young pilots on a specialist mission. July 1
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Part of Phase Four of the MCU, surely the point at which it starts to run out of steam, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is Marvel’s first film with an Asian lead. Based on a comic book character created in the 1970s, its main character is a skilled martial artist who gets drawn into a shady terrorist organisation known as the Ten Rings. Starring Canadian actor Simu Liu in the title role, alongside Awkwafina and others, it’s been in the works since 2001. July 9
Video game adaptations are never good, but still… This movie version of the long-running Uncharted franchise sees Spider-Man’s Tom Holland beefing up to play Nathan Drake, a Lara Croft-esque treasure hunter. Mark Wahlberg plays his mentor Victor Sullivan, and Antonio Banderas is also involved – presumably as some sort of eccentric villain. July 16
A high-concept sci-fi film from master of weirdness M Night Shyamalan, Old – based on the graphic novel Sandcastles by Pierre Oscar Levy – tells the story of a group of tourists who end up trapped in a beautiful, secluded cove only for things to take a strange turn. They soon realise that they’re ageing by years every thirty minutes. July 23
The Suicide Squad
No one was really asking for a sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad, an anti-hero movie set in the DC Comics Universe, and starring Margot Robbie and Will Smith, but here it is. Robbie, who reprised her role as Harley Quinn in 2020’s Birds of Prey, returns again here – and is joined by Idris Elba, Sylvester Stallone and the former wrestler John Cena. This probably wouldn’t have made our list, if not for the fact that it’s directed by James Gunn – the Guardians of the Galaxy director who was snapped up by Warner Bros in the gap between being dropped and re-hired by Disney for comments made on social media. August 6
Those of a certain age know the premise of the original Candyman – say the killer’s name five times in the mirror and he appears and wastes you with his hook hand and bee swarm. What they may not remember is that the original was actually a smart film – scary yet thoughtful. This new remake is co-written by Get Out’s Jordan Peele: the Chicago projects the Candyman haunted in the first film have been torn down and replaced by luxurious loft condos, filled with millennials ripe for butchering. August 27
Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve takes on yet another sci-fi classic with this take on Dune, adapted from Frank Herbert's epic novel of the same name. Timothée Chalamet stars as the young nobleman Paul Atreides, who has to journey to the hostile planet Dune, home to the most valuable material in the galaxy, and seek revenge on his family’s enemies. This sprawling fantasy is a huge project, and if Villeneuve can pull it off it will cement his sci-fi credentials. October 1
Yet another Marvel film – Eternals is about a race of virtually immortal aliens who have been secretly living on Earth for thousands of years, protecting humans from the evil Deviants with their array of special powers. An all-star ensemble cast features Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Kit Harrington, and it’s directed by Chloé Zhao – who also directed Nomadland (see above) and two other acclaimed indie films. The film is set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, and does raise the question of why these all-powerful beings didn’t think to intervene sooner. November 5
The Matrix 4
Very little is known about the new instalment in The Matrix saga – something that its directors the Wachowskis had long been against. Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss are returning as Neo and Trinity, though, which hints at a degree of continuity to the story of the original trilogy. Lana Wachowski returns to direct. December 22
Today AD is welcomed by tennis legend and 23-time Grand Slam singles title winner Serena Williams for a tour of her stunning new home north of Miami. After living with her sister Venus on and off for over 20 years, Serena and husband Alexis Ohanian have made a stylish new home for their family. From the eclectic artwork (including her own painting) to the world-beating trophy room, Serena’s home could only belong to someone as multifaceted and accomplished as her. “I was moving away from Venus for the first time in my life, so I wanted it to be really meaningful,” Serena says. While mixing family with business can be risky, the secret to their success as siblings and creative collaborators is simple: “You have to know your lane. I’m really good at playing tennis; I’m not as good at interiors. But I was able to learn through just watching Venus.”
(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 9th Apr 2021) London, Uk – –
The change in advice came as the government unveiled plans for a traffic light system to allow overseas leisure trips to resume.
People can “start to think” about booking foreign summer holidays, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has told Sky News.
The cabinet minister issued the change in advice, as the government unveiled plans for a traffic light system to allow overseas leisure trips to resume.
It comes just days after Downing Street published an official document that urged people “not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer”.
However, the government has refused to confirm whether foreign holidays will be permitted from 17 May – and where Britons will be able to travel without self-isolating on their return.
Mr Shapps also insisted he is trying to make foreign travel as affordable as possible amid criticism that a coronavirus testing requirement will drive up holiday costs
The traffic light “framework” includes making all UK arrivals take pre-departure and post-arrival COVID-19 tests.
Post-arrival tests must be the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) type which cost about £120, he said.
This has led to a backlash from the travel industry which has warned foreign holidays this year would be “just something for the wealthy”.
The sector wants travellers returning from low-risk countries to be allowed to take lateral flow tests, which are cheaper and quicker.
UK budget holiday airline Jet2 has suspended flights and holidays until late June due to uncertainty over government travel plans.
Asked on Sky News if people could start to book foreign holidays now, Mr Shapps said: “I'm not telling people that they shouldn't book summer holidays now, it's the first time that I've been able to say that for many months.”
He added: “For the first time people can start to think about visiting loved ones abroad or perhaps a summer holiday but we are doing it very, very cautiously as we don't want to see any return of coronavirus in this country.”
Mr Shapps said he was looking to “make it as affordable as possible to travel” and “drive down the costs” of tests.
He said: “Costs are definitely a concern. It is one of the factors this year. We have to accept we are still going through a global pandemic.
“We do have to be cautious and I am afraid that does involve having to have some tests and the like.
“But, I am undertaking today to drive down the costs of those tests and looking at some innovative things we could do.
“For example, whether we can help provide the lateral flow tests people need to take before they depart the country they are in to return to the UK and also drive down the costs of the tests when they get home if it is in the green category.
“We are trying to make it as practical as possible.”
Tim Alderslade, the chief executive of Airlines UK, said the framework “does not represent a reopening of travel as promised by ministers”.
He added: “The insistence on expensive and unnecessary PCR testing rather than rapid testing – even for low-risk countries – will pose an unsustainable burden on passengers, making travel unviable and unaffordable for many people.”Twice-weekly tests now available for free in England
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said the plan was “a blow to all travellers” and risked “making flying only for the wealthy”.
He added: “As the rest of British society and the economy opens up, it makes no sense to treat travel, particularly to low-risk countries, differently.”
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye told Sky News' Ian King Live programme: “The main concern is about the cost of all of this testing, particularly for people who are looking to go on a family holiday or for small businesses, who are on a very tight budget.
“The cost of all these PCR tests could be enormous.
“The government risks shooting itself in the foot here. I think the prime minister needs to deliver on his commitment to make testing cheap and easy.”
Mark Tanzer, boss of travel trade organisation ABTA, said permitting the use of lateral flow tests would “make international travel more accessible and affordable whilst still providing an effective mitigation against reimportation of the virus”.
It has also been revealed the Civil Aviation Authority will be given additional enforcement powers to act on airlines that breach consumer rights, after many passengers struggled to obtain refunds when flights were grounded.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 8th April 2021) London, UK —
(Reuters) – Apple Inc said it plans to argue that it faces abundant competition in the market for video game transactions to defend itself against antitrust allegations by “Fortnite” maker Epic Games, the iPhone maker said on Thursday.
Epic sued Apple last year in federal court in California, alleging the 15% to 30% commissions that Apple charges for the use of its in-app payment systems and Apple’s longstanding practice of exercising control over which apps can be installed on its devices amount to anticompetitive behavior. The dispute arose after Epic tried to implement its own in-app payment system in the popular “Fortnite” game and Apple subsequently banned the game from its App Store.
The case is to be heard in May in Oakland, California, by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will have to rule on which notion of a “market” is the correct one for analyzing Apple’s moves for signs of anticompetitive conduct.
Epic has framed its case around the idea that Apple’s iPhones, with an installed base of more than 1 billion users, represent their own distinct market for software developers. Epic has argued that Apple has monopoly power over that market because it decides how users can install software on the devices and says it abuses that power by forcing developers to deliver their software through the App Store, where developers are subject to fees on some transactions.
In a filing that Apple planned to make Thursday, the company rejected that notion and said the proper market to analyze the case is the video game transaction market, which includes platforms such as Nintendo Co Ltd and Microsoft Corp’s Xbox gaming consoles, which also limit the software that can run on their hardware and charge fees to developers.
Apple said it plans to argue that consumers have many choices on how to carry out video game transactions, including purchasing virtual tokens from game developers on other platforms such as Windows PCs and using the tokens on iPhones with no fees to the game developer.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 7th April 2021) London, Uk – –
The company eyes a summer resumption for holidays after a year of disruption for the travel sector as a whole.
Saga, the provider of products and services to the over-50s, has revealed it is looking to rehire 500 workers cut from its holiday operations last year as the coronavirus pandemic gathered speed.
The company, which last month pushed back the planned resumption of its cruises from May until later in the summer, axed 1,400 jobs in its financial year to 31 January.
Saga said that 600 of the redundancies were directly a result of a lack of clarity on the future of post-COVID-19 travel. Retail and hospitality jobs pay highest COVID price
The majority of the losses, across the business, were linked to the disposal of other businesses as part of a wider shake-up undertaken by chief executive Euan Sutherland.
Saga told Sky News it was already advertising for 250 of the roles across its tours and cruise operations
It reported a pre-tax loss of £61.2m for the financial year compared to £301m a year earlier as its insurance arm offset the poor performance for travel.
Profits of £17.1m were recorded on an underlying basis thanks to earnings of £134.6m for insurance.
The travel segment recorded a loss of £78.5m.
Saga said it remained hopeful of a summer restart with big pent-up demand for holidays among its clients – a customer base that is being prioritised for vaccines on an age basis.
Most over-50s have now received their first jab under the rollout.
But clouds remain on the horizon for Saga, and the wider travel sector, as the government is yet to confirm whether holidays will be allowed to resume from 17 May under PM Boris Johnson's roadmap for lockdown-easing in England.
It is examining the merits of so-called vaccine passports and testing regimes amid fears a third wave of infections in Europe poses a significant risk.
In Saga's case, it said that while bookings for this year were down on the same period the year before, demand for next year was well ahead.
It hoped its Spirit of Discovery ship would be able to set sail again from June while it would be another month for its Spirit of Adventure.
Shares were more than 10% up in early deals.
Mr Sutherland told investors: “Looking ahead, while we are mindful of economic headwinds and the potential ongoing impacts of COVID-19, it is clear that there is significant pent-up demand among our customer base, the vast majority of whom have now been vaccinated and are ready to enjoy post-lockdown freedom.”
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – -Mon, 5th April 2021) London, Uk – –
LG Electronics said on Monday it would close down its loss-making smartphone business.
In January, the South Korean electronics giant said it was looking at all options for the division after almost six years of losses totalling around $4.5bn (£3.3bn).
LG had made many innovations including ultra-wide angle cameras, rising to third largest smartphone maker in 2013.
But bosses said the mobile phone market had become “incredibly competitive”.
While Samsung and Apple are the two biggest players in the smartphone market, LG has suffered from its own hardware and software issues.
As LG struggled with losses it had held talks to sell part of the business but these fell through.
It still ranks as the third most popular brand in North America but has slipped in other markets. LG phones are still fairly common in its domestic South Korean market.
“LG's strategic decision to exit the incredibly competitive mobile phone sector will enable the company to focus resources in growth areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics and artificial intelligence,” it said in a statement.
Last year it shipped 28 million phones, which compares with 256 million for Samsung, according to research firm Counterpoint.
The smartphone business is the smallest of LG's five divisions, accounting for just 7.4% of revenue. Currently its global mobile phone market share is about 2%.https://emp.bbc.co.uk/emp/SMPj/2.40.2/iframe.htmlmedia captionWATCH: LG's display rolls up out of the way into the ceiling when not in use
It has been innovating its phones to compete with its bigger rivals, with last year's launch of the T-shaped Wing, a smartphone with a larger screen which swivels out to reveal a second, smaller one underneath.
Electric cars and TVs
LG still has a strong consumer electronics business, particularly with home appliances and televisions. LG is the world's second best-selling TV brand after Samsung.
In December it launched a joint venture with automotive supplier Magna International that will make key components for electric cars.
LG's phone inventory will continue to be available for sale, and it will still provide service support and software updates for existing customers. The divisions is expected to be wound down by the end of July.
“Moving forward, LG will continue to leverage its mobile expertise and develop mobility-related technologies such as 6G to help further strengthen competitiveness in other business areas,” a spokesman added.
Analysts said South Korean rival Samsung and Chinese companies such as Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi are likely to benefit the most from LG's exit.
Smartphone makers struggled during the pandemic with sales down about 10% in 2020 mainly due to lockdowns limiting store openings.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon 5th April 2021) London, Uk – –
Alex Cruz is among a number of contenders to replace Rickard Gustafson as SAS’s chief executive, Sky News learns.
Alex Cruz, the former British Airways (BA) boss, has been approached about becoming the new chief executive of SAS, Scandinavia’s biggest airline.
Sky News has learnt that Mr Cruz, who left BA last autumn, is among a small number of candidates identified by the partly state-owned carrier to succeed Rickard Gustafson.
The status of discussions between SAS and Mr Cruz was unclear on Monday, while the identity of any other contenders for the job could not be ascertained.
SAS did not respond to a request for comment, and Mr Cruz could not be reached.
If he does secure the role, it would mark a rapid comeback to the international airline industry for the Spaniard.
Mr Cruz spent four-and-a-half years as BA's chairman and chief executive, steering it through a period of unprecedented turbulence last year when Britain's flag-carrier found itself largely grounded during the coronavirus pandemic.
He was forced to defend a series of management mis-steps, and was the focal point of intense criticism over BA's fire-and-rehire policy as it scrambled to shore up its balance sheet.
Reporting to Willie Walsh, the then chief executive of BA's parent, International Airlines Group (IAG), Mr Cruz also took the flak for an IT meltdown in 2017 which caused thousands of passengers to miss their flights.
He insisted last year that BA was engaged in a “fight for survival” as it raised billions of pounds from the sale of new shares and debt.
According to Mr Cruz's LinkedIn profile, he is a board member and advisor at two technology companies, Sherpa.ai and Fetcherr.
Prior to taking the helm at BA, he was the founding chief executive at Clickair, which subsequently merged with Vueling.
Vueling is one of IAG's other subsidiaries.
SAS's search for a chief executive has been ongoing since January, when it announced that Mr Gustafson was leaving to run the Swedish industrial group SKF.
The airline, which is partly owned by the Danish and Swedish governments, recorded a loss last year of more than $1bn.
Dels the lawyer and entrepreneur who loves travel, self-improvement and everything to do with success. Worked with several of the biggest banks, law firms and management consultancy companies in the world and is passionate about helping other high achievers to land their dream jobs in those companies or even to start their own business
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 2nd April 2021) London, Uk – –
Online retailer Boohoo is investigating why the same items of clothing were sold for higher prices across a number of its fashion labels.
The BBC discovered that Dorothy Perkins and Coast, which are both owned by Boohoo, sold exactly the same coat but it cost £34 more at Coast.
There are price disparities across a range of Boohoo brands, which also include Oasis and Warehouse.
Boohoo said the “miscommunication was not intentional”.
“All Boohoo group brands work independently, and so this miscommunication was not intentional as teams are not privy to what's being bought and sold across the other group brands,” a spokeswoman for Boohoo said.
“Our internal investigation continues and we will be re-pricing all the crossover stock to be aligned.”
The price disparity was revealed after reporter Jennifer Meierhans bought a coat from Coast – as a friend happened to buy the exact same coat from Dorothy Perkins.
The Dorothy Perkins branding appeared to have been cut from the care label in the coat sold by Coast.
Boohoo said the coat was first sold by Coast and has now been re-priced at £17 on both brands' websites.
Catherine Erdly, founder of The Resilient Retail Club consultancy, and a former senior merchandiser at Coast, said: “If all Boohoo are going to do is buy the same stuff and slap different prices on it then it's destroying that brand's identity.”
She said that while each brand will have its own “architecture” for setting prices, it is likely Coast and Dorothy Perkins had benefited from some kind of trading “opportunity”, where a supplier had stock and both companies needed coats.
“But if they're going to do things like that, they didn't do it in a clever way,” Ms Erdly said. “The customer will sense that it's just trying to get as much as possible out of them.”
She added: “There's no way you could sell a genuine Coast coat at £17 without losing money because it costs more than that to make.”
There are a number of instances where the same item of clothing is priced differently across Boohoo's brands.
A long “luxe” padded coat in the colour mushroom was originally sold for £89 at Oasis and £65 at Dorothy Perkins.
The same coat in khaki was in the sale for £30 in Warehouse and £66.75 in Coast until the BBC brought the matter to Boohoo's attention.
They are now both priced at £18.
The online retailer operates a number of different brands after buying up businesses when their owners fell into administration.
Boohoo bought Coast's online business in 2019 along with sister brand Karen Millen. While in February, it acquired Dorothy Perkins, together with Wallis and Burton, from failed retail group Arcadia for £25.2m
Boohoo said: “Stock of the item in question was purchased and live on site by Coast prior to The Boohoo Group's acquisition of the Dorothy Perkins brand.”
(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 1st April 2021) London, UK —
LONDON (Reuters) – More employers in Britain say working from home is increasing the productivity of their staff, according to a survey published on Thursday.
A third of employers think the shift to home-working has boosted productivity, up from 28% last June, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said.
Those who said working from home had decreased productivity fell to 23% from 28%.
“The pandemic has shown that ways of working that previously seemed impossible are actually possible,” Claire McCartney, CIPD senior policy adviser for resourcing and inclusion, said.
It remains to be seen how permanent the shift to working from home proves to be.
A survey published last week by accountants KPMG showed most major global companies no longer planned to reduce their use of office space after the pandemic, though few expect business to return to normal this year.
The CIPD said in a report more progress can be made to offer flexible hours: part-time work is used by 19% of staff but favoured by 28%, and 3% of employees work full-time hours over fewer days while 19% would use the arrangement if available.
The CIPD survey was based on responses from 2,000 employers.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 31st March 2021) London, Uk – –
Rishi Sunak recently hailed the company as a “British tech success” but more than £2bn was wiped off its value as trading began
Deliveroo shares have slumped as much as 30% as the takeaway delivery company made its highly-anticipated stock market debut.
The flop wiped more than £2bn off the company's initial £7.6bn valuation – just over a week after it was estimated at up to £8.8bn.
Some of the City's biggest institutional investors had shunned the initial public offering (IPO) over concerns about its working practices and the dual-class share structure which gives founder Will Shu greater control.
The loss-making company said this week that it had received “significant demand” from investors across the globe – more than enough to cover the offer of shares worth £1.5bn several times over.
However, its price range last week of £3.90 to £4.60p per share – which would have valued it as highly as £8.8bn – has narrowed over recent days, with the business citing “volatile global market conditions”.
Wednesday's float priced Deliveroo at £3.90, the bottom end of that range, and equivalent to £7.6bn.
But that was not enough to prevent a flop when trading began, with shares going as low as £2.73, although they later climbed back to around the £3 mark.
Deliveroo's float is London's biggest IPO since commodity giant Glencore went public in 2011 – and the biggest-ever tech float in the city.
Its dismal reception could be seen as blow to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's ambition to attract more technology companies to list in the UK.
Mr Sunak had hailed the company as a “true British tech success story” when it confirmed earlier this month that it would float in London.
Deliveroo, which has around 45,000 restaurants on its platform in the UK and more than 100,000 worldwide, has benefited over the past year from an increased appetite for takeaways with dining out banned or restricted.
Orders over January and February were 121% higher than the same period a year ago, while for 2020 the total of £4.1bn was 64% higher than a year earlier.
However, it still made an underlying loss for the year of £223.7m.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said “Deliveroo has gone from hero to zero as the much-hyped stock market debut falls flat on its face.
“It had better get used to the nickname ‘Flopperoo'.
“The narrative took a turn for the worst when multiple fund managers came out and said they wouldn't back the business due to concerns about working practices.
“This is likely to have spooked a lot of people who applied for shares in the IPO offer, meaning they are racing to dump them.”
By John-Paul Ford Rojas