New Porsche mistakenly put on sale at bargain price in China

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 3rd Feb 2023) London, Uk – –

Potential car buyers in China have found that an online advert for a luxury sports car was just too good to be true.

A Porsche dealership in the the city of Yinchuan listed the brand new vehicle for 124,000 yuan ($18,300, £15,000).

That is just a fraction of what it should have been. The Panamera has a starting price of $148,000.

The promotion attracted hundreds of would-be buyers who rushed to secure what appeared to be a bargain.


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A spokesperson for the German car maker told the BBC that the promotion “contained a serious mistake in the listed retail price”, which was taken down immediately.

“As there was only one vehicle in stock, in accordance with the sales process, Porsche Centre Yinchuan has communicated with the first customer who made an online refunded reservation fee and has negotiated an agreeable outcome”, they added.

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The dealership also contacted “every bidder individually and explained the situation with apology”.

The incorrect information was posted on 30 January and customers who paid the 911 yuan reservation fee have been refunded, Porsche said.

The incident caused a stir on Chinese social media, with one commentator posting “This is why I don't buy Porsche lol”.

Others thought that it was just a promotional strategy that was “well conducted”.

It was also suggested that the company had been “irresponsible” and should have honoured the cut-price offer.

Another social media user claimed to be the first person to try to buy the car but had cancelled their order when they were told the real price. They said it would have been wrong to try to take advantage of a mistake.

Porsche started selling cars in mainland China more than 20 years ago.


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In recent years the company expanded its footprint in the world's second largest economy as it opened new dealerships.

The country is now Porsche's largest single market globally, with sales totalling $6.2bn in the first six months of last year.

By Monica Miller

Apple, Amazon and Google all offer gloomy outlooks in quarterly results

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 3rd Feb 2023) London, Uk – –

Fears of a recession have dampened explosive growth enjoyed by tech companies throughout the pandemic.

Three of Silicon Valley’s largest companies posted disappointing financial results on Thursday, compounding concerns about a slowdown in the tech sector.


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Recession fears have hit both corporate and consumer spending globally, leading to the likes of Apple, Alphabet and Amazon all signalling a tough recovery from the highs of 2021.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, reported subdued quarterly revenues as spending on digital advertising was reduced amid economic uncertainty.

Revenue from Google’s advertising business, which includes Search and YouTube, dropped from £52bn to £48bn. Shares in the company fell by more than 5% in after-hours trading.

Last month, Alphabet announced 12,000 workers would be made redundant globally.T

The “difficult news” about the job losses – about 6% of the total workforce – was revealed by Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai in an email to employees.

Similarly, Apple missed both sales and profits targets in the last quarter, hampered by production issues and lower demand for the company’s flagship iPhone.

The company’s sales dropped by 5% to £95bn, and were down across all product categories except iPads and services, which saw modest growth.

Apple also missed its first Wall Street profits forecast since 2016, delivering earnings per share of £1.54 against analyst estimates of £1.59 per share.

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Meta reveals 55% drop in profits after mass layoffs
Google job fears in UK and Ireland as parent firm slashes 12,000 staff globally

But there was one silver lining for the company: chief executive Tim Cook said production was now “back where we want it to be” following the relaxing of China's zero-COVID policies.
Meanwhile, e-commerce giant Amazon posted a positive quarter for the holiday period, but issued a warning about the pace of growth in its critical cloud computing division.

The company, which cut 18,000 jobs at the beginning of January, defied Wall Street expectations and reported sales of £121bn, a jump of 9% compared to the same period last year.

It also predicted that sales for the current quarter would be in line with analyst estimates.

But more concerningly, Amazon’s long-time profit engine has started to show signs of a sharp slowdown.

Amazon Web Services sales growth slowed to 20% in the last three months, the lowest rate of expansion since the company began publishing numbers on the division.


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After exploding in popularity during the pandemic and hiring some additional 800,000 workers, the current chief executive Andy Jassy has tried to sharply reduce spending, cutting non-essential business arms and slowing hiring, after Amazon’s share price fell by nearly 50% last year.

The drop wiped about £678bn from the company’s market valuation.

Twinkl education provider close to £500m joint venture with Vitruvian

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 1st Feb 2023) London, Uk – –

Jon and Susie Seaton are close to agreeing the sale of a stake in Twinkl to private equity investor Vitruvian Partners in a deal that will land them a windfall of more than £150m, Sky News learns.

The husband-and-wife team who founded one of Britain's biggest privately owned educational resources providers are close to sealing a deal that will propel them into the ranks of the country's richest entrepreneurs.


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Sky News has learned that Jon and Susie Seaton, who established Twinkl in 2010 in a bedroom in their Sheffield home, are in advanced talks with the private equity firm Vitruvian Partners about the sale of a minority stake.

One source said the couple were negotiating the sale of a large minority shareholding in a transaction that would value Twinkl at approximately £500m.

If they sold a 30% stake, that would hand the Seatons a pre-tax windfall of close to £170m.

Twinkl provides digital teaching resources to millions of educators around the world, and according to its website had 4m users globally by the year of its tenth anniversary.

That number is said to have grown substantially since then.

According to accounts filed at Companies House for the year ended 30 April, 2022, it recorded turnover of just over £55m and operating profit of £28.2m.


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At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, Twinkl made its entire library of content free to the teaching profession for three months.

Later in 2020, Mr Seaton was awarded an MBE for services to technology and education during the pandemic in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Twinkl could not be reached for comment, while Vitruvian did not respond to enquiries.

By Mark Kleinman

 

‘Google it’ no more? How AI could change the way we search the web

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 30th Jan, 2023) London, Uk – –

The rapid rise of ChatGPT has accelerated an AI arms race that could change the way we search the web. As Google looks to its past for inspiration and Microsoft makes a multibillion dollar bet, could there still be room for someone new to make an impression?

It's hard to imagine the internet without Google.

The tech giant has become so synonymous with searching the web that it has become a verb – we don't look it up, we “Google it”.


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Google ended 2022 as it ends every year, as the most visited website in the world. Its estimated share of the search engine market stands at 92% (Microsoft's Bing is its closest rival, on 3%).

On the surface, it might not like a landscape that's ripe for change but don't be so sure.

The launch of ChatGPT, an AI chatbot, last year threatened to upend how people prepare for job interviews, journalists write stories, and children do homework.

Trained on a huge amount of text from across the internet, with the ability to provide human-like responses to almost any prompt, it sparked speculation it could pose a threat to Google.

Search engines ready to bet big on AI

The New York Times reports Google founders, Larry Page and Sergei Brin, have been brought back to help add ChatGPT-like features to the search engine they launched more than 25 years ago.

Google boss Sundar Pichai reportedly wants to speed up the firm's plans for conversational AI in its products and services, which go far beyond a chatbot that pretends to be a tennis ball (seriously, we tried it and it was really odd).

It comes as Microsoft makes a multibillion dollar investment in ChatGPT creator OpenAI, raising the possibility that it could find its way into products like Office (welcome back, Clippy and friends?) and – yes – Bing.

The potential AI arms race is one predicted by former Google advertising tsar Sridhar Ramaswamy, who wants to use what he learned during 15 years at the company, to get ahead of this potentially game-changing trend.

“We are at an interesting juncture,” he tells Sky News from his home in California, from where he co-founded startup search engine Neeva.

“Where large language models and AI offer unprecedented ability to peer into information, to sift through things and deliver answers in a way that simply was not possible before. This is a really exciting time for search – and I think it's going to be disrupted in multiple ways by multiple companies.”

How AI could change how you search the web

Among those would-be disruptors are the likes of You.com, a search engine launched out of California (where else) back in 2021, which added a bot called YouChat in December; and Neeva's own new AI.

Neeva, which launched in the UK in October, aims to provide informative and reliable search results without being driven by user data and advertising.

Its AI functionality is being added for UK users in February. The AI trawls the web for information, produces a single, written answer to the query, and – like YouChat – cites each of its sources for users to find out more.

And it works in real time, meaning it stays up to date with current affairs and provides references accordingly for its admittedly small pool of more than one million monthly users.

“It gives search the power to be a lot more fluid to what it's been so far,” says Ramaswarmy, who believes the advertising model he led at Google – which accounts for the majority of its revenue – needs to be challenged.

“The entire search experience becomes focused on just getting you to click on an ad,” he says.

“But there is a bigger reason – the obsession with ads on the internet has also steered the Google algorithm in a way that focuses on engagement, so more and more you see ‘made for Google' sites that game how to get on top.”

YouChat launched in December 2022, as an addition to search engine You
But is it all upside?

Neeva's commitment to being ad-free comes at a premium – £5.49 a month, or £44.99 a year.

The majority of its users are on its free tier, which limits them to 50 searches per month.

Allowing limitless searches via powerful AI isn't a particularly cost-effective business model, with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman admitting the computing costs to run ChatGPT are “eye-watering”.

Dr Andrew Rogoyski, from the Institute for People-Centred AI at the University of Surrey, says the infrastructure required to run such a service at the scale of a Google would be enormous.

“There is some way to go in streamlining conversational AI in a way that we can afford,” he tells Sky News.

“AI is getting bigger and consuming more energy, and that's the wrong direction – it's pushing it into the hands of big organisations.”

But there are more fundamental challenges that any search engine seeking to leverage AI will need to consider.

‘Incorrect or nonsensical'

Like ChatGPT, NeevaAI is a large language model, meaning it is trained on huge amounts of information.

But OpenAI acknowledges its answers can be “overly verbose” and “incorrect or nonsensical”.

“It doesn't know right from wrong, it doesn't know authoritative from gossip,” says Ramaswarmy.

Of course, it's one thing for a nascent ChatGPT to make mistakes, another entirely if a firm like Google rolls out a commercial product with similar failings. As Microsoft found out after its 2016 chatbot was taught to say offensive things.

“Conversational AI is very believable, certainly in short bursts, and that will improve over time, but because it's so believable and plausible, people will not necessarily challenge it,” Rogoyski says.

TOP RISKS IN USING AI FOR SEARCH ENGINES (ACCORDING TO CHATGPT)
Bias: AI-powered search engines can perpetuate and even amplify existing biases, particularly if the data used to train the model is biased
Privacy: AI-powered search engines can collect and store large amounts of personal data, which can be used for targeted advertising or other purposes
Censorship: AI-powered search engines may be used to censor or suppress certain types of information
Misinformation: AI-powered search engines may return misinformation or fake news, particularly if the AI model is trained on unreliable sources
Job loss: AI-powered search engines may lead to job loss for certain types of jobs, such as librarians or research assistants
Security: AI-powered search engines may be vulnerable to hacking or other types of cyber attacks, which could compromise user data or disrupt search results
Dependence: People may become too dependent on AI-powered search engines, which could lead to a lack of critical thinking and research skills
Monopoly: AI-powered search engines may lead to the creation of powerful monopolies, which could lead to a lack of competition and innovation
Are we really ready for change?

Seeing the potential for a shake-up on the internet is one thing, but seeing it through is another entirely.

Elon Musk's tumultuous takeover of Twitter hasn't upended people's habits to the extent experts predicted, with the rapid rise in users at would-be rival Mastodon having stalled.


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Ramaswarmy admits causing an internet “mass movement” is difficult, but views ChatGPT's breakthrough as evidence that “a platform shift” is on the cards.

“Think of how we saw Microsoft, Nokia and Blackberry disappear from the mobile world and let Google and Apple become the dominant players,” he says.

“It feels like this is one of these face-off moments.”

By Tom Acres, technology reporter

 

JD Sports 10 million customers hit by cyber-attack

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 30th Jan 2023) London, Uk – –

Sportswear chain JD Sports has said stored data relating to 10 million customers might be at risk after it was hit by a cyber-attack.

The company said information that “may have been accessed” by hackers included names, addresses, email accounts, phone numbers, order details and the final four digits of bank cards.

The data related to online orders between November 2018 and October 2020.

JD Sports said it was contacting affected customers.


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The group said the affected data was “limited”. It added it did not hold full payment card details and did not believe that account passwords were accessed by the hackers.

“We want to apologise to those customers who may have been affected by this incident,” said Neil Greenhalgh, chief financial officer of JD Sports. “Protecting the data of our customers is an absolute priority for JD.”

The attack related to online orders placed for the JD, Size?, Millets, Blacks, Scotts and MilletSport brands and it is understood it was detected by the company in recent days, but only the historical data was accessed.

The company said it was working with “leading cyber-security experts” and was engaging with the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) in response to the incident.

Mr Greenhalgh said affected customers were being advised “to be vigilant about potential scam e-mails, calls and texts”.

Cyber-attacks have hit several UK companies in recent times. Royal Mail became the victim of a ransomware attack earlier this month which led to it halting post and parcel deliveries overseas.

In December, the Guardian newspaper was also targeted by a suspected ransomware attack.

Lauren Wills-Dixon, solicitor and an expert in data privacy at law firm Gordons, said retailers were among the most common targets for cyber-attacks because of the large amounts of customer data they hold, and said firms needed to do more to plan for them.

But she said the increased use of technology by the industry “to reduce overheads and streamline operations has raised the risk even further”.

“In this new world, it's not ‘if' but ‘when' a cyber-attack will happen,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the ICO confirmed it was aware of the attack and that it was assessing information provided by JD Sports.


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Scott Nicholson, co-chief executive of cyber security company Bridewell, said it was seeing a rise in malicious software, known as “malware” being used by criminals to steal information from companies.

“It is good to see JD Sports stating that they are working with experts to help from a containment and recovery perspective, but once the dust has settled their comments of ‘we take the protection of customer data extremely seriously' will be put to the test by the ICO,” he added.

By Michael Race

 

Why Wealthy Americans Love AmEx

Source: CNBC

Armed with impressive rewards and a loyal customer base, Amex has achieved impressive growth over the years. The company’s revenue has increased over 32% since 2017 and shares of the company have shown resilience and growth in a tumultuous market. Yet Amex is far from dominating the credit card industry compared to the likes of Visa and Mastercard. So what is the secret to Amex’s success and where is it headed next? Watch the video to find out.

 

Superdry issues optimistic trading outlook amid shipping woes

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 27th Jan 2023) London, Uk – –

The company's founder expresses optimism for the trading outlook but admits Superdry's bottom line is being squeezed heavily by its struggling wholesale arm.

Shares of Superdry fell by more than 17% at the market open after the fashion retailer warned it would do no better than break even this year.


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The company, which had previously forecast full year profits of up to £20m, said it had traded well over the Christmas period despite the cost of living crisis.

Superdry added that it could see strong demand for its brand across all geographies and platforms.

But it also warned that its wholesale arm had been hit by the impact of shipment timings as COVID continued to cast a shadow over stock deliveries.

The group reported a pre-tax loss of £17.7m for the 26 weeks to 29 October.

That compared with a profit of £4m for the same period last year.

The wholesale woes, the company said, would continue to offset the stronger retail trading it was seeing in the second half of the year.

Sales at stores caught up to pre-pandemic levels in the nine weeks to the end of December, with revenue rising 24.9%.

‘Brand has real momentum'

Julian Dunkerton, the company's founder and chief executive, said: “The Superdry brand has real momentum and I'm delighted by how our retail trading continues to strengthen.

“We've done this against a difficult macroeconomic backdrop by delivering well-designed, affordable, and responsibly sourced products which have resonated well with customers.

“Our coats performed really well in the run up to Christmas, and womenswear continues to be a highlight for us.

“Stores continued to recover strongly and online had its biggest ever week over Black Friday, helped by our new ecommerce platform which is delivering real benefits.”


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But he added: “Despite the underlying brand recovery, our profits in the first half fell short of expectations mainly due to the underperformance of Wholesale… Whilst we did trade well through November and December, the outlook for the remainder of the year is uncertain and as a result, we are moderating our profit outlook to broadly break even.

“We don't expect market conditions to become easier any time soon, but with a new financing package in place and the brand in great health, we approach the year ahead with optimism.”

By James Sillars

 

Ethereum Scaling Tool Polygon’s MATIC Token Surges Amid Spike in Transactions

(qlmbusinessnews.com via coindesk.com — Fri, 27th Jan 2023) London, Uk – –

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The token is up 48% this year. The blockchain has the second most daily active users, according to one research group.

Ethereum scaling tool Polygon’sMATIC token has surged 12% over the past 24 hours, continuing its strong momentum this year.

MATIC was recently trading at $1.11. It is up 48% since Dec. 31 amid a spike in daily transactions that have made the blockchain the second largest for daily active users (DAU), according to data from Token Terminal.


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The rally comes amid a January upturn in the crypto market that has seen Aptos’ APT token skyrocketing more than 400%, Fantom’s FTM jumping about 145% and bitcoin rising nearly 40%.

The Polygon platform ranks second behind Binance’s BNB chain recording 344,000 DAU’s, ahead of Solana and Ethereum.

Polygon’s announced partnerships and launches over the last month that have increased DAUs may also be behind the price increase, along with anticipation of Polygon’s mainnet launch of its zero knowledge-EVM. The mainnet launch is scheduled for early 2023. Its zk-EVM public testnet went live in October.

“We’re starting to see users and interest come back to these kinds of networks and seeing activity again,” Charles Storry, head of growth at crypto index platform Phuture, told CoinDesk.

“There’s also a lot of projects that have built on top of Polygon that haven’t released their tokens yet, which will be coming out soon and add to the already increasing activity levels,” Storry added.


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Polygon currently has around $1.1 billion total value locked (TVL) according to data from DeFi Llama, “We are seeing mass TVL increases for riskier projects and early stage applications,” Storry said. “In a bear market investors are more conservative and don't want to take on huge risk, but now prices have picked up a little, they are more open to newer and riskier ecosystems like Polygon.”
“We will see more of that come through as the market continues to pick up.”

By Lyllah Ledesma

Primark finance director John Bason, questions fall in UK’s online clothing market

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 24th Jan 2023) London, UK —

The maturity of Britain's online clothing market should be questioned after its share retreated in the Christmas trading period, the finance chief of Primark's owner said on Tuesday.

“You've got to start to question the maturity now of online in the United Kingdom,” John Bason, finance director of Associated British Foods (ABF.L), told Reuters, highlighting a fall in online clothing's share of the market.

Primark does not trade online but is trialing a Click & Collect offer of children's products.

After two years of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, a feature of Christmas 2022 was a return of shoppers to physical stores.

“The way that Christmas has played out, the relevance of Primark is absolutely there … The numbers say it for us,” said Bason, noting Primark's UK sales growth of 15% in the Christmas quarter compared to growth of 5% in the wider market.

He said Primark's proposition of affordable prices and a store experience was proving increasingly appealing to both existing and new customers.

Reporting by James Davey

 

Digital nomad’ visas are easier to get than ever — especially if you’re rich

Source: CNBC

Money can buy many things — a tasty meal, a nice car, a luxurious home.

But what about a long-term stay as a digital nomad on the beautiful Indonesian resort island of Bali? Well, for people with $130,000 to spare in their bank account, that could become a reality too.

Digital nomads are “people who choose to embrace a location-independent, technology-enabled lifestyle that allows them to travel and work remotely, anywhere in the world,” according to one firm that links independent consultants with clients.

As of June 2022, more than 25 countries and territories had issued digital nomad visas to draw remote workers, whose number has increased since the pandemic started.

The Indonesian government, however, is taking a slightly different approach through a “second home visa” that permits wealthy foreigners, professionals, investors and retirees to stay in the country for up to 10 years.

Watch the video above to learn how this visa stacks up against the ones issued by other countries, and to learn about the difficulties policymakers face in making it a success.

 

Ocado says shoppers buying fewer items as costs rise

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 18th Jan 2023) London, Uk –

Shoppers using online grocer Ocado are buying fewer items as they struggle with the soaring cost of living.

The retailer also said its customers were shopping less frequently as it reported a fall in revenues last year.


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Prices are rising at the fastest rate in around 40 years and outstripping wage growth, which is putting household budgets under pressure.

Ocado also said shopping patterns seen during the pandemic – when online sales surged – had begun to “unwind”.

Last week, Sainsbury's said people were shopping more in-store, as many found it easier to shop around for the best deals in shops rather than online.

Pay rises at fastest pace for over 20 years
Fresh food prices rose at record rate pre-Christmas
Ocado Retail – a joint venture between Ocado and Marks & Spencer – said its revenues fell by 3.8% in 2022 to £2.2bn.

It blamed the fall on “an unwind of pandemic shopping behaviours, accelerated by the onset of the current cost of living crisis”.

It added that this meant shopping basket volumes fell by 12.1% last year, or six fewer items, and shopping frequency also declined.

Ocado added that the average value of orders in the three months to the end of November was £117 – a drop of 1.3% compared with the same period in 2021.

However, Ocado said it had enjoyed record festive sales, which were up 15% over the five days before Christmas. On one of the days it received more than 72,000 orders – a record high.


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Ocado Retail chief executive Hannah Gibson said the current market was “challenging for everyone”, and the retailer is expecting to see lower basket sizes in the first half of this year.

“In 2023 we will continue to strengthen and improve our leading customer proposition, including investing in value to help customers manage cost of living pressures, while keeping tight control of our costs,” Ms Gibson added.

 

Battery startup Britishvolt enters administration as rescue talks fail

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 17th Jan 2023) London, Uk – –

Staff told majority of firm’s 300 employees would be immediately made redundant on Tuesday morning

The battery startup Britishvolt has collapsed into administration with the majority of its 300 staff made immediately redundant after talks about a rescue bid from several investors failed.

Britishvolt filed notice to appoint an administrator in the insolvency courts on Tuesday and the accountancy firm EY has confirmed it has taken on the administration.


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Staff were told the “majority” of its 300 employees would be immediately made redundant on Tuesday morning.

The company’s efforts to build a large facility near Blyth in Northumberland had stalled in recent months as it struggled to find a cash injection to pursue the project.

EY said the company had entered administration “due to insufficient equity investment for both the ongoing research it was undertaking and the development of its sites in the Midlands and the north-east of England”.

The administrators, one of the big four accountancy firms, will now assess the company’s assets, including its intellectual property and research, in an effort to pay creditors and will subsequently wind down its affairs.

Britishvolt had said on Monday that it was in talks over a “majority sale” of the business but those discussions appear to have failed.

Shareholders had been voting on potential new investors in the £3.8bn “gigafactory” project, which was seen as a key pillar in supplying the next generation of electric vehicles built in the UK.

The company’s management had been in talks with a number of potential investors, including existing investors keen to prevent the value of their holdings from being wiped out, and an obscure Indonesia-linked group with little experience in manufacturing.

The Guardian revealed last week that DeaLab Group, a UK-based private equity investor, and an associated metals business, Barracuda Group, were in talks over a £160m rescue deal.

Sources close to the situation said the existing investors had been closer to securing a deal than the Indonesia-linked consortium which “did not have the necessary funding” required to take on Britishvolt. However, ultimately, both appear to have failed to reach a deal.

The administration came after numerous delays to expected announcements in recent days as executives weighed weaknesses in the bids. Most notably, the company’s leadership had concerns that it had no guarantees that promised follow-on funding would materialise, according to two sources with knowledge of internal discussions.

Dan Hurd, joint administrator and partner at EY-Parthenon, said: “Britishvolt provided a significant opportunity to create jobs and employment, as well as support the development of technology and infrastructure needed to help with the UK’s energy transition.

“It is disappointing that the company has been unable to fulfil its ambitions and secure the equity funding needed to continue.

“Our priorities as joint administrators are now to protect the interests of the company’s creditors, explore options for a sale of the business and assets, and to support the impacted employees.”

Britishvolt was hoping to build the 30 gigawatt hours gigafactory in phases, manufacturing enough battery cells a year for more than 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs, equivalent to about a quarter of current UK vehicle manufacturing. However, construction work stopped last autumn as its focus turned to staving off collapse.

Building gigafactories is seen as a key aim by the government, which had promised £100m support to the project.

Britishvolt asked for a £30m advance on the funds last year but was rejected as the company had not hit certain milestones needed to access the funds. That was reportedly followed by two further requests, for £11.5m and then just £3m, raising concerns in government about the financial stability of the project.

Ian Lavery, the Labour MP for Wansbeck, where the factory was to have been built, said the situation was “deeply concerning” and noted that the project was “once the crown jewel of the government’s levelling up policy in the north-east”.


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Britishvolt narrowly avoided entering administration in October after it secured a last-minute injection of £5m from the FTSE 100 mining company Glencore, which was already an investor. Glencore had a deal with Britishvolt to supply cobalt to the factory.

A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesman said: “We remained hopeful that Britishvolt would find a suitable investor and are disappointed to hear that this has not been possible, and therefore no ATF [Automotive Transformation Fund] grant has been paid out.

“Our thoughts are with the company’s employees and their families at this time, and we stand ready to support those affected.”

By Alex Lawson and Jasper Jolly

 

Adidas loses court battle against fashion designer Thom Browne over stripes

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 16th Jan 2023) London, Uk – –

Adidas sued Thom Browne after claiming the designer's four-bar and “Grosgrain” stripe patterns on its shoes and high-end activewear violated the sportswear giant's three-stripe trademark rights.

Adidas has lost a court case against New York fashion designer Thom Browne after suing over a stripe design.

A jury in Manhattan said Adidas had failed to show Thom Browne had infringed the sportswear giant's signature three-stripe trademark.


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The jury found the fashion house's parallel stripe designs were not likely to cause consumer confusion with Adidas's products.

Thom Browne had argued that, among other things, its designs have a different number of stripes and stripes are a common design element for clothing.

The designer's sportswear features four parallel stripes wrapping around the arm or leg of shorts and sweatshirts.

Adidas sued the brand in 2021, claiming its four-bar and “Grosgrain” stripe patterns on its shoes and high-end activewear violated its three-stripe trademark rights.

The German company has filed more than 90 lawsuits and signed more than 200 settlement agreements since 2008 related to the trademark, according to court documents in the case.

Thom Browne previously used a three-bar design on its clothing, changing it to the four-stripe design after Adidas objected in 2007.

An Adidas spokesperson said the company was disappointed with the jury's decision but will “continue to vigilantly enforce our intellectual property, including filing any appropriate appeals”.

A spokesperson for Thom Browne Inc said the company was pleased with the verdict.


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The fashion house said confusion between the companies' designs was unlikely because they “operate in different markets, serving different customers, and offer their products at strikingly different price points”.

Adidas had planned to ask the jury for more than $7.8m in damages, plus additional punitive damages and a cut of Thom Browne's infringing sales, according to a court filing.

It also requested a court order stopping Thom Browne from using the designs.

 

Will Flippy The Robot Be The New Face Of Fast Food?

Source: CNBC

This robot named Flippy runs the fry station at a White Castle outside of Chicago. With a mechanical arm and using computer vision technology Flippy can cook everything from french fries and onion rings to cheese sticks. White Castle said it plans to add 100 Flippy’s to its kitchens’ nationwide. Up to 82% of restaurant positions could, to some extent, be replaced by robots. Automation could save U.S. fast food restaurants over $12 billion in annual wages. And restaurants are also struggling to find workers. American restaurants are down more than 560,000 jobs or about 4.6% of its workforce from their pre-pandemic levels. So what impact will robots have on the fast food industry and the livelihood of its workers? CNBC got a behind the scenes look at restaurant robot maker Miso Robotics to find out.

 

Brewdog boss forced to payout £500,000 over misleading “solid gold” beer can promotion

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 9th Jan 2023) London, Uk – –

The boss of Brewdog has said he has paid out almost £500,000 to winners of the company's misleading “solid gold” beer can promotion.

James Watt said he made “some costly mistakes” in a promotion which offered people the chance to find a solid gold can hidden in cases in 2021.

Some winners questioned the worth of the cans and complained after discovering they were gold-plated.


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Mr Watt admitted he “falsely thought” the cans were made from solid gold.

The co-founder and chief executive of the Scottish Brewer said he “misunderstood the process of how they were made” and made a “silly mistake” by telling customers in initial promotional tweets that the cans were “solid gold cans”.

After some winners complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, the watchdog in October 2021 upheld the complaints and said three adverts were misleading.

“Those were 3 very expensive mistaken tweets that I sent out in my enthusiasm for our new campaign,” Mr Watt said in a post on LinkedIn on Saturday.

“The Gold Can saga was headline news. We were made to look dishonest and disingenuous and we took a real hammering online and in the press. Deservedly so. My initial tweets had been misleading and we deserved the flak,” he added.

Mr Watt said that because it was his error, he had contacted all 50 gold can winners to offer them the “full cash amount” as an alternative to the prize if they were unhappy”.

“All in all, it ended up costing me around £470,000 – well over 2 and a half years' salary,” he added.

In his post, the Brewdog boss revealed he now owned 40 of the gold cans.

After conducting its investigation, the ASA said it received 25 complaints in relation to three social media adverts stating its can prize was made from “solid gold”.

As well as complaints over the prize's authenticity, some questioned how much the can was worth, with Brewdog claiming it was valued at £15,000.

The ASA said Brewdog told investigators that a single 330ml can, made with the equivalent 330ml of pure gold, would have a gold value of about $500,000 (£363,000) at the time in October 2021.

But the watchdog considered a general audience was unlikely to be aware of the price of gold, “how that would translate into the price of a gold can, and whether that was inconsistent with the valuation as stated in the ad”.

Mr Watt reiterated in his LinkedIn post on Saturday that the “valuation of £15,000 per can was accurate”.

Brewdog has faced criticism for its marketing campaigns in the past, as well as its workplace culture.


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A letter from ex-workers in June 2021 stated former staff had “suffered mental illness” as a result of working for the craft beer brewer.

It made a number of allegations, including that Brewdog fostered a culture where staff were afraid to speak out about concerns.

Mr Watt previously apologised to former staff and said their complaints would help make him a better chief executive.

By Michael Race

 

BA unveils jumpsuits in 20 years uniform first revamp

 

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 6th Jan 2023) London, Uk – –

The airline industry was once notorious for imposing strict rules on how its airline staff looked.

British Airways is the latest airline to try to shake-off that reputation with its first uniform revamp in 20 years – and it includes a jumpsuit.


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It follows Virgin Atlantic allowing male pilots and crew to wear skirts and female colleagues to choose trousers.

As well as the all-in-one, designer Ozwald Boateng has also created a tunic and hijab for BA's new uniform.

But it has taken some time to get the clothes from the page to the plane – nearly five years in fact, including two years of delays because of the coronavirus pandemic.

During that time, Mr Boateng's designs have been put through their paces including testing the gear for BA's outdoor workers in freezing temperatures and pouring rain.

Finally the collection will be rolled out in spring for BA's 30,000 staff. Mr Boateng, a Savile Row tailor, has designed a three-piece suit for men while women can choose to wear a dress, skirt or trousers.

BA's new jumpsuit
Staff will be allowed to order different cuts – normal or skinny-fit trousers – and will be able to book a fitting so the uniform is more tailored.

As for the jumpsuit, that will be for female check-in staff at first but BA expects cabin crew to be able to wear them by the middle of the year – after further testing.

Female cabin crew have already been trying out the new uniform and asked for changes. Emma Carey said: “The pockets on the apron, for example, were widened after the trial so we had more room for everything we need during meal services on board.”

Engineers also requested tool pockets, and ground handlers asked for glove fabric that could cope with touch screens.

Last year, rival airline Virgin Atlantic announced it was taking a “fluid approach” to uniforms which allowed staff to choose their clothing “no matter their gender”.

Savile Row tailor Ozwald Boateng has designed a three-piece suit for BA's male employees

Though it later said the policy did not apply to crew on board the England football team's flight to the World Cup in Qatar, which has been criticised for its treatment of LGBT people.

A spokesperson for BA said that although its uniforms were gendered, it has a policy which allows staff who identify as a certain gender to wear that clothing.


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BA's uniforms by Ozwald Boateng (left) will replace those designed by Julien MacDonald (right)
“As a colleague, you can chat to us about that and you can wear what you want. We've got a number of transgender colleagues, and have had that policy for decades,” he said.

BA relaxed its dress code last year by allowing male pilots and cabin crew to wear makeup and nail varnish.

 

CES 2023: 5G will bring high-end gaming ‘to the masses’, says Razer boss

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 6th Jan 2023) London, Uk – –

Gaming is not usually a huge focus at CES, but this year the world's biggest consumer electronics event has seen several announcements – including from industry heavyweights Sony and Razer.

5G mobile internet will “bring PC gaming to the masses”, according to one of the industry's most influential chief executives.

Min-Liang Tang, co-founder and chief executive of hardware giant Razer, told Sky News he believes the superfast connectivity standard will “expand the market significantly” – and not just for the likes of Microsoft and Sony.


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Both are heavily invested in cloud gaming on their Xbox and PlayStation platforms, respectively, but Mr Tang says games usually reserved for high-end gaming computers would soon be ubiquitous on smartphones.

“It's one of the biggest innovations out there for gaming,” he told Ian King Live.

“It puts high-powered gaming into the hands of low powered devices through cloud gaming. That's what 5G really promises to bring to all gamers everywhere.”

The comments come on the day of Razer's presentation at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the biggest tech show in the world.

This year, the company unveiled its new Razer Edge, the first Android handheld gaming tablet on the market. The device is capable of playing games locally on the device, or streaming them remotely via 5G.

But Mr Tang predicted that console gaming would also “do incredibly well” out of 5G, even though its rollout has left Britons underwhelmed so far.

With the advent of faster internet, game streaming will likely become increasingly appealing even to those who use premium consoles like the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X.

Unlike streaming films and TV via services like Netflix, streaming games demands much faster speeds, as any latency between pressing a button and the action on-screen can ruin the experience.

Gaming ‘through the roof' despite economic pressures

Billionaire Mr Tang told Sky News that, despite inflationary pressures and economic turbulence leading to “a bit of pullback” in customer spending, the video game industry was still growing at pace.

“Gaming is already one of the biggest industries from the entertainment perspective,” he said, adding that 5G was “going to make it much bigger”.


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“It's become the primary form of entertainment for kids and young adults out there.

“User activity is still through the roof, and we do see growth going forward for the industry.”

Razer unveiled numerous other products at CES, including the Leviathon V2 Pro soundbar, which uses artificial intelligence and a camera to track someone's position and deliver optimal sound.

Other gaming announcements at the show include an accessibility controller from Sony, designed to help disabled players enjoy games on the PlayStation 5.

Greggs’ sales rise 18.2% in the final quarter boosted by mince pies and salted caramel lattes

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 5th Jan 2023) London, UK —

Greggs (GRG.L) said its Festive Bakes, mince pies and salted caramel lattes, along with breakfast and lunch offers, appealed to cash-strapped Christmas shoppers, helping like-for-like sales rise 18.2% in the final quarter.

The British baker and food-to-go chain said the resilient end to the year, in contrast with a COVID-hit Christmas in 2021, boosted total sales for 2022 to a better-than-expected 1.51 billion pounds ($1.81 billion), up 23%.


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However it stuck to its forecast of limited profit growth for the year, reflecting higher costs for energy, ingredients and staff.

Chief Executive Roisin Currie said cost inflation would continue to be “material” in 2023, but she was confident Greggs would continue to make progress.

“While market conditions in 2023 will remain challenging, our value-for-money offer of freshly-prepared food and drink is highly relevant as consumers look to manage their budgets without compromising on quality and taste,” she said in a statement.

Greggs has widened its menu to include more vegan options as well as new drinks and hot options.

The Festive Bake, which wraps chicken, bacon, stuffing and cranberry sauce in pastry, and is also available in a vegan version, is a Christmas favourite for many of its customers.

Greggs raised prices last year after experiencing cost-inflation of about 9%, Currie said, but it had limited the increases to 5 or 10 pence per item.

She said Greggs would keep working to mitigate the impact of rising costs this year after a “tough” 2022 for consumers.

“I think 2023 will certainly start off tough, and that's why offering value to customers is absolutely central to our proposition,” Currie told Reuters.

Retailers focused on value looked to be the early winners on Britain's high streets this Christmas, with discount retailer B&M also reporting higher sales on Thursday.


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Shares in Greggs were up 0.4% in early deals.

Analysts on average expect the company, which trades from 2,328 shops and expects to open around 150 more this year, to post pretax profit of 148.0 million pounds for 2022, up from 145.6 million pounds in 2021, according to a Refinitiv estimate.

Reporting by Paul Sandle