Friday, 17 November 2017

Take-away-over

Just Eat's takeover of rival Hungryhouse has been officially given the green light by the competition watchdog. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ruled in its final decision that the deal - worth up to £240m - does not raise competition concerns, given the rise of new entrants such as Deliveroo, UberEATS and Amazon. Just Eat welcomed the announcement and said it now expects to complete the takeover on 31 January. Also last week Tesco's £3.7bn takeover of food wholesaler Booker has been provisionally cleared by the UK's competition regulator. Booker is the UK's largest food wholesaler, and also owns the Premier, Budgens and Londis store brands. More than 30% of its sales are to the catering sector, which Tesco does not supply, although the supermarket is keen to get a foothold in the market. The CMA concluded that the wholesale market would "remain competitive in the longer term", because Booker's share of the UK grocery wholesaling market, at less than 20%, "was not sufficient to justify the longer-term concerns".

Zoella £50 Advent Calendar

YouTube sensation Zoella has been fiercely criticised for an advent calendar which costs a whopping £50 and only has 12 doors. Boots were forced to cut the price of the “Zoella 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar" after substantial numbers of customers vented their frustrations it was extortionate. The retailer will now be selling the Christmas calendar at the reduced price of £25 from 16 November. But others argued the 27-year-old vlogger, who has over 11 million subscribers to her YouTube channel, had no influence on the price tag of the advent calendar and sought to defend her. Zoella has been criticised in the past for consumer products which are emblazoned with her name and branding, with people arguing they are not good value for money.

Merry Greggsmas

Greggs has apologised after publicity shots for its new ad campaign included a nativity scene in which baby Jesus is replaced by a sausage roll. Photos promoting the baker’s new Advent calendar showed three wise men gathered round a manger in the traditional fashion but, rather than gazing in wonder at the son of God, their eyes fall upon a Greggs pastry. The stunt was apparently meant to be taken in a light-hearted way but numerous people pointed out that the fresh take on the 2,000-year old scene could cause offence because Jesus was Jewish and eating pork is forbidden in the Jewish faith. Greggs said in a statement: “We’re really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention.” The advent calendar goes on sale in selected Greggs outlets on Monday costing £24 and includes a £5 Greggs gift card on Christmas Eve.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Singles Day

Now in its ninth year, the day is officially called the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. 11.11 stands for the 11 November, when it is held. The two numbers were chosen to symbolise the wishes of single people to be in a relationship, as two elevens next to one another appear like two couples. It was originally a non-commercial festival started by male college students who didn't have a girlfriend. They created a day to get together to celebrate bachelorhood. But the Chinese retailer Alibaba caught on to it and has turned it into the largest online shopping day in the world. Alibaba says more than one million retailers worldwide took part this year, including US department store Macy's. Alibaba says this year's sales amounted to $25.3bn (£19bn), $7.5bn more than in 2016. Only half way into this year's Singles Day, sales had already surpassed last year's total.

Christmas Adverts

The Christmas advert season is upon us and John Lewis’ high profile campaign again attracted vast attention on social media and pitting it against fellow retailers for creativity, emotional appeal and charm. The group reportedly spends around £7m on the whole campaign, though a spokesperson for the company declined to confirm that figure. According to the Advertising Association, seasonal advertising spend is expected to reach a record high of £6bn during the final quarter of this year, marking a 37 per cent increase on the 2010 level and a fresh all-time high. Recent research by the association also showed that nearly half of Brits admit to having been moved to tears by Christmas adverts that they’ve either seen or heard. “Christmas is a key time for advertisers large and small,” said Karen Fraser, director at advertising think tank Credos.

Sea2See

Off the coast of Catalonia, an intriguing experiment in the circular economy is taking place. Dozens of fishing vessels are heading out to sea and bringing back tonnes of plastic waste alongside their usual haul. About 10kg of waste is collected for each pair of glasses it sells. Sea2see separates what it can use for the glasses and the rest is sold off to other companies for use in different processes such as manufacturing nylon thread. The plastic is then used as the raw material to make recycled designer sunglasses for Barcelona-based company, Sea2see. Thanks to agreements with 22 Catalonian port authorities, the company helps fishermen across the region bring in around a tonne of plastic waste every three days.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Interest Rates Rise

For the first time in more than 10 years, the Bank of England has raised interest rates. The official bank rate has been lifted from 0.25% to 0.5%, the first increase since July 2007. It is likely to rise twice more over the next three years, according to Bank of England governor Mark Carney. Almost four million households face higher mortgage interest payments after the rise, but it should give savers a modest lift in their returns. Mr Carney expects banks to pass on the rate rise to savers, but said many mortgages, loans and credit cards would not see an immediate impact. He said that British households have been "savvy" with their finances and have mostly taken out fixed-rate mortgages, which means it will take some time before the rise has an impact on them. The Bank estimates that almost two million mortgage holders have not experienced an interest rate rise since taking out a mortgage. Watch to see how this tricky concept is explained by some 10 year olds.