IMF downgrades Uk and US economic growth projections


Both the US and the UK are to have a slower economic growth than previously predicted according to the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF shaved its forecasts for U.S. growth to 2.1 percent for 2017 and 2018, slightly down from projections of 2.3 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively, just three months ago. The Fund reversed previous assumptions that the Trump administration's planned stimulus measures would boost U.S. growth, largely because no details have materialised.

EBay shares fall on disappointing profit forecast

( via — Fri, 21 July 2017) London, UK —

EBay Inc warned on Thursday that adjusted profit this quarter could fall below analysts' estimates, as it continues to invest in marketing and revamping its platforms to attract more shoppers, sending its shares down more than 5 percent.

San Jose, California-based eBay forecast third-quarter adjusted earnings of 46 cents to 48 cents per share. Analysts on average were expecting 48 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The online marketplace is making a big push to catch up with major rivals like Inc with three-day guaranteed delivery and a more user-friendly website. Spending millions of dollars on marketing campaigns, it is working to distinguish itself as a haven for unique items rather than commodity products.

“Our focus continues to be on improving the customer experience, and we won't hesitate to trade off short-term results when necessary,” eBay Chief Executive Devin Wenig said on a call with analysts.

Shoppers so far have responded well to eBay's new home page, showing lower bounce rates and better engagement, he said.

EBay's gross merchandise volume (GMV), or the total value of goods sold on its websites, rose to $21.47 billion in the second quarter. Analysts had expected $21.46 billion, according data and analytics firm FactSet.

Revenue for the just-ended quarter rose 4.4 percent to $2.33 billion, beating analysts' estimates of $2.31 billion. Excluding items, eBay earned 45 cents per share, in line with estimates.

“Results and guidance suggest the year is ‘on track,' although there will be some disappointment without a solid beat and raise,” Baird Equity Research analyst Colin Sebastian said in a research note. “There is unlikely a ‘quick fix' to eBay's slow volume growth profile.”

Sales and marketing costs weighed on the quarter, rising 2.4 percent to $637 million. GMV at subsidiary ticket exchange StubHub fell 5 percent from a year ago as there were fewer U.S. events than the company had expected, Wenig said.

Shares of the company, up about 25 percent so far this year, dipped 5.2 percent to $35.23 in after-hours trading.

“I think the stock was running hot into the quarter, though, and I think eBay is signalling they are going to market aggressively heading into Q4, and maybe some were looking for a guidance raise,” said Daniel Kurnos, Benchmark Company analyst.

EBay also announced a $3 billion share repurchase programme.

By Aishwarya Venugopal

McCormick US spices and herbs business snapped up Reckitt Benckiser’s food for over £3bn

( via – – Wed, 19 July 2017) London, Uk – –

US spices and herbs business McCormick has snapped up Reckitt Benckiser’s food business for more than £3bn.

McCormick has beaten off rival bidders for the business, which owns brands such as French’s mustard and Frank’s RedHot sauce.

The Baltimore-based company has been trying to expand globally and last year launched a failed takeover bid for Premier Foods.

It said the move for Reckitt’s food business, first revealed by the Telegraph earlier this year, would catapult it to the top of the US condiments market, up from 10th position.

Lawrence E Kurzius, the company’s chief executive, said French’s and Frank’s RedHot would now become McCormick’s second and third biggest brands respectively.

“RB Foods' focus on creating products with simple, high-quality ingredients makes it a perfect match for McCormick as we continue to capitalise on the growing consumer interest in healthy, flavourful eating,” he said.

Reckitt said the £3.2bn valuation “reflects the quality of this highly profitable, growth business” and added that it intended to use the proceeds from the sale to reduce debt.

“We are pleased to be selling to owners who can provide the necessary resources, market expertise and global platform, whilst being a good home for our people,” said Reckitt boss Rakesh Kapoor.

The decision to offload the food unit comes months after Reckitt bought US baby formula maker Mead Johnson for £14.2bn.

“Following the acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutrition, this transaction marks another step towards transforming RB into a global leader in consumer health and hygiene,” said Mr Kapoor.

By Hannah Boland Sam Dean

Netflix TV streaming service’s tops 100m subscribers

( via – – Tue, 18 July 2017) London, Uk – –

Netflix has topped 100m subscribers, adding more than 4m outside the US in the past three months as international expansion continues to drive the TV streaming service’s growth.

The company’s share price climbed almost 10% to $180-a-share (£138) in after-hours trading in New York on Monday after its better-than-expected trading update for the three months to the end of June. This pushed the company’s market capitalisation up to $78bn.

The company – which is worth the equivalent of almost nine ITVs or 1.5 times the size of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox in market value terms – added 5.2m subscribers in the second quarter. This is traditionally Netflix’s slowest time of the year with it averaging growth of less than 2m in the quarter over the last five years.

Most of the growth (4.14m of the new users) came from international subscribers lured by Netflix’s combination of new shows such as The Crown and Stranger Things, plus its stalwarts House of Cards and Orange is the New Black continuing to prove their global popularity.

The figures marked a milestone for Netflix, which was founded in the US 20 years ago, with its international business accounting for more than half of total subscriber numbers for the first time.

The boom in international growth followed Netflix launching in 130 countries last year, with more than 52m of its 104m subscribers coming from outside the US. Only a handful of countries including North Korea, China and Syria do not have the service.

“Our streaming membership grew more than expected, from 99m to 104m, due to our amazing content,” said Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix, in a letter to shareholders. “We also crossed the symbolic milestones of 100m members and more international than domestic members. It was a good quarter.”

Netflix has committed $6.6bn (£5bn) to making and acquiring TV shows and films this year, with a bill of $15.7bn committed over the next five years.

Netflix and Amazon ‘will overtake UK cinema box office spending by 2020'

Perhaps worryingly for rivals, Hastings said the company would look to invest even more in content as its hit shows prove to be a commercial and creative success.

“With our content strategy paying off in strong member, revenue and profit growth, we think it’s wise to continue to invest,” he said. “In continued success, we will deploy increased capital in content, particularly in owned originals.”

It emerged last week that Netflix nearly doubled its Emmy nominations this year, with 91 compared with 54 last year, for 27 titles including The Crown, Stranger Things and Master Of None.

Only HBO, on which Netflix has based its model, fared better with 111 nominations. HBO spends about $2bn annually on content, with Amazon about $4.5bn, according to unofficial analyst estimates.

Recently, Netflix has culled a slew of under-performing shows, from Baz Luhrmann’s big budget The Get Down to high-concept sci-fi Sense 8, to better balance viewer interest with climbing programme costs.

Hastings said that while there is furious competition between Netflix and other subscription on-demand TV services, from digital rivals such as Amazon and Hulu to those of traditional broadcasters such as Sky and the BBC, he does not believe his company is killing their businesses.

“It seems our growth just expands the market,” he said. “The largely exclusive nature of each service’s content means that we are not direct substitutes for each other, but rather complements.

“Creating a TV network is now as easy as creating an app, and investment is pouring into content production around the world. We are all co-pioneers of internet TV and, together, we are replacing linear TV. The shift from linear TV to on-demand viewing is so big and there is so much leisure time, many internet TV services will be successful.”

Netflix said that it believes its growth momentum will continue but has issued more conservative guidance for the third quarter, forecasting about 4.4m new subscribers. About 3.65m are estimated to come from international markets.

By Mark Sweney

Elise Mitchell: Courage Is The Key To Entrepreneurship


Elise Mitchell, CEO of Mitchell Communications Group talks about self-funding her business! She also talks about taking that courageous first step to starting her own business and how her employer at the time, ended up being her first client! Elise says, “the funny thing about entrepreneurship is you never know when that first opportunity is going to arise. You have to be willing to take a chance when it comes.”

Visa contemplates cashless scheme for UK businesses


( via – – Fri, 14 July 2017) London, Uk – –

Visa has said it is considering offering incentives to UK businesses to go cashless, after introducing a similar scheme in the US.

The payments company is selecting 50 small companies in the US to receive $10,000 if they only use cards.

The companies have to bid for the money by explaining how going cashless would affect them, their staff and customers.

However, the idea has been criticised by consumer groups, who say cash is still vital for many people.

“It is easy to categorise it as a bribe, but ultimately they are incentivising companies to do away with cash, and that's not the job of people like Visa,” said James Daley of consumer group Fairer Finance.

In any case, the offer could be of limited appeal to many retailers, who have to pay fees every time a customer uses a debit or credit card.

Even though interchange fees, as they are called, have been capped by the EU, retailers still pay an average of 16p on each credit card transaction and 5.5p on each debit card.

In total UK retailers still paid £800m in such fees last year, charges that have been criticised by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Vulnerable customers
Cards have already overtaken cash for retail payments, according to figures for last year from the BRC.

But banks and card companies should not be driving that move, Mr Daley said.

“In 50 years it seems unlikely that most of us will be using cash. But banks need to let evolution follow its natural course, rather than accelerating it,” he told the BBC.

“As a responsible society, we need to look after vulnerable customers who rely on cash.”

Last month Victoria Cleland, the Bank of England's chief cashier, said that 2.7 million people in the UK rely almost entirely on cash – that's 5% of adults.

In a statement, Visa said that following the launch of the scheme in the US, “we hope to bring similar cashless initiatives to other countries, including the UK”.

“At this time, we do not have a firm plan on when such an initiative would be available in the UK.”

In June this year, Visa chief executive Al Kelly told investors that the company was “focused on putting cash out of business”.

“The number one growth lever [for the company] is the conversion of cheque and cash to digital and electronic payments.”


The remarkable Tyler Perry’s Top 10 Rules For Success


He's an American actor, filmmaker, television producer and songwriter, specializing in the gospel genre.

He wrote and produced many stage plays during the 1990s and early 2000s.

In 2011, Forbes named him the highest paid man in entertainment; he earned US$130 million between May 2010 and 2011.

He's Tyler Perry and here are his Top 10 Rules for Success.

McDonald’s announced a record annual turnover of $27bn

Mike Mozart/Flickr

( via – – Sat, 8 July 2017) London, Uk – –

McDonald's, the fast food chain, announced a record annual turnover of $27bn as it continued to win market share around the world and vowed to open 1,300 new outlets this year.

The company, which has enjoyed a stellar few years following the economic crisis, said that its turnover had increased by 12pc to $27bn, with net income increasing 11pc to $5.5bn.

This is the ninth consecutive year that sales have increased after it suffered from a crisis of confidence at the end of the 1990s.

In the US like-for-like sales increased by 7.1pc in the final quarter and 6pc for the year, its highest level of growth since 2006.

Its European restaurants continued to perform well as it won over consumers on a budget – both families trading down from pizza restaurants and commuters buying cheap coffee on the way into work. European sales jumped 10pc on a like-for-like basis, the company said.

Jim Skinner, the chief executive, said: “As we begin 2012, we are intensifying our efforts toward the global priorities that represent our greatest opportunities under the Plan to Win – optimising and evolving our menu, modernising the customer experience and broadening accessibility to our Brand.”

He said that the company would invest about $2.9bn of capital – roughly half dedicated to opening more than 1,300 new McDonald’s restaurants. It has about 33,000 restaurants already, just a small number fewer than Subway, the sandwich chain.

The financial results came as the company announced it would create 2,500 jobs this year in the UK, with about 30pc of them going to first-time workers.

Jill McDonald, chief executive officer of McDonald's UK, said: “Despite these difficult economic conditions, our continued emphasis on good quality food at affordable prices, and improving the experience for our customers and our people, has meant that we are able to continue to invest in the business and create jobs.”

By Harry Wallop

Samsung profits set to surpass Apple for the first time


Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr

( via – – Fri, 7 July, 2017) London, Uk – –

Samsung's operating profits are set to surpass its rival Apple for the first time since the two became the world's dominant smartphone manufacturers.

The Korean electronics giant said operating profits in the second quarter of the year had hit a record 14 trillion won (£9.4bn).

This would make Samsung Electronics the world's most profitable non-financial company, a landmark moment after a tumultuous year.

Sales of Samsung handsets are believed to have improved despite last year's botched launch of the Galaxy Note 7 phone, with its well-received new S8 phone, supported by a huge marketing blitz, driving sales.

However, unlike Apple, Samsung does not make the majority of its profits from smartphones. Most of the increase is likely to have been driven by the company's mammoth display and microchip manufacturing division, with demand for electronics and computer servers surging.

Apple is not due to report results for the same period until next month but analysts expect operating profits of $10.5bn (£8.1bn), a slight increase on last year as iPhone growth slows down.

This would be the first time the US giant's operating profits have fallen behind Samsung Electronics since the two became the smartphone market's biggest players. Samsung and Apple account for more than a third of global sales between them.

Providing earnings guidance on Friday, Samsung said revenues had increased by 17.7pc to around 60 trillion won in the second quarter and operating profits were up 72pc from 8.1 trillion won a year ago.

Samsung's corporate reputation has taken a battering in recent months. The wider Samsung group, an empire that includes property, finance and healthcare companies, has been at the centre of a corruption scandal linked to Korea's recently-impeached president and its heir apparent Jay Y Lee has been charged with bribery and embezzlement.

By James Titcomb

Watch this inspiring motivational interview with Founder of SunLife Organics


Khalil Rafati, Owner/Founder of SunLife Organics, sits down with Mark Lack to talk about killing it in the juice space racking in 10s of millions in sales. Khalil has an amazing story – it started from a rough childhood into drug addiction, to homelessness, to mental illness, he was a convicted felon high school dropout and ended up sobering up 13 years ago at the age of 33 to start a couple of business and gain a ton of success.