Friday, 24 February 2017

Nokia 3310 Re-Launch

News of a potential re-launch for the iconic Nokia 3310 took the world by storm earlier this month, and the likelihood of a resurrection is growing stronger by the day. Fresh leaks have shed more light on the capabilities of the heavily tipped 2017 version of the handset, which is expected to go on sale for €59 (£50). According to Chinese site Vtech, the new Nokia 3310 will feature a colour screen, rather than the monochrome 84 x 84 display of old. It won’t be particularly sharp, in order to avoid sapping battery life, but the splash of colour should make old favourite Snake a little more compelling to play. It won’t run Android, unlike the other handsets that HMD Global, which owns the rights to the Nokia brand, plans to unveil at MWC 2017 this weekend, and will be marketed as a feature phone. The new 3310 is also expected to be available in a range of new colours, including red, green and yellow, and will be slimmer and lighter than the original. It was well-designed, boasted terrific battery life and was incredibly hard-wearing, with fans hailing it as ‘indestructible’.  Consumers will be hoping that the revamped handset doesn't stray too far from its roots.

Takeover Rejection

Unilever, which owns some of the UK's most famous household brands, has strongly rejected a takeover bid from US food giant Kraft Heinz. The maker of Marmite and PG Tips said it saw "no merit, either financial or strategic" in Kraft's offer, worth about $143bn (£115bn). But Kraft, which makes Heinz ketchup, indicated it would continue working on a deal for the Anglo-Dutch firm.  The deal would be one of the biggest in corporate history. It would combine Unilever's dozens of household names, which also includes Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Dove soap, and Hellmann's mayonnaise, with Kraft's own wide range, such as Philadelphia cheese and Heinz baked beans. Shares in both companies rose sharply on Friday, as investors welcomed the possible creation of such a powerful firm. But a deal could also raise concerns about job cuts and would probably be examined by competition regulators, analysts said.

John Lewis Cuts 800 Jobs

John Lewis is to axe nearly 800 jobs in its customer restaurants and store administration in its biggest ever round of redundancies. The department store chain said it was consulting 773 people about redundancy as it attempts to cut costs and become more efficient. The cuts are the first sign of change since the department store’s managing director, Paula Nickolds, took the helm in late January.  The cuts come just weeks after Waitrose, John Lewis’s sister company, revealed plans to close six stores and remove a level of management in its supermarkets, putting nearly 700 jobs at risk. John Lewis said it planned to centralise the administration behind its curtain and carpet estimating and fitting services, moving jobs out of stores to its office in Didsbury, Manchester.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

No Smiling At Work

Employers working for online fashion retailer risk getting fired for smiling or checking their mobile phones, an investigation by Channel 4 has found. The investigation comes after online fashion retailer Asos was accused last year of exploitative working practises with staff reportedly unable to take regular water and toilet breaks for fears of missing targets. The company denied those allegations. Working conditions at Boohoo, which posted a 55 per cent jump in sales to £114.3m over the four months to December, were exposed as part of an investigation conducted for Channel 4’s Dispatches programme into Britain’s cheap clothing industry. The investigation suggests contracts can be terminated after three strikes – often for minor infringements. Workers claimed they had been given a strike for things like checking the time on their mobile or showing up five minutes late for work.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Sweetest Job Ever!

The company responsible for some of your favourite chocolate brands – think Cadbury, Milks, Prince and Oreo – have officially announced an opening to join their team as a professional chocolate taster. The successful candidate will help them to test, perfect and launch new products all over the world. Posted on employment social-networking site Linked In, Mondelez International is looking for someone with a passion for confectionary, the ability to be honest when giving an opinion and who is eager to try new and inventive products. The lucky candidate must, of course, be able to taste chocolate and cocoa beverage goods and use clearly defined vocabulary to describe products. Located out of a Mondelez building in Reading, the position is advertised as part time and ‘to work 7.5 hours per week Tuesday-Thursday 12:15-2.45pm.’

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Lego Building Brand Power

Lego has been named the most powerful brand in the world, knocking entertainment king Disney off the top spot. The traditional construction toy, which dominated the play charts last year, scored 92.7 out of 100 compared with Disney’s slide to sixth with 91.3. According to a company superleague compiled by Brand Finance Global 500, Danish owned Lego took the power brand crown following the success of movie spin-off merchandise from Star Wars and Harry Potter to its own Lego Batman Movie out this month. But Google took a bite out of Apple’s supremacy to be named the most valuable brand in the world. With a price tag worth £86.7 billion compared with the iconic iPhone maker’s £84.8 billion, it is the first time in five years that Apple has been knocked off the top of the superbrand tree.Trend setting gadget king Apple slipped to second in the Brand Finance Global 500 after it’s brand value tumbled by 27% from £115.2 billion to £84.8 billion in 2016.

The Warehouse Run By Robots

Ocado are offering a vision of the future - with all of the promise and challenges that entails. The Hatfield warehouse is enormous and is one of the two where Ocado assembles shopping orders. The other even larger warehouse is in Tamworth, which together with Hatfield enables the company’s delivery network to cover 70% of the country. Hatfield apparently processes 1.5 million items every day - and it was all being operated by what felt like a tiny number of people. The main feature of the warehouse is a 25km long network of conveyors which are used to transport different coloured tote boxes around the building. Green boxes contain stock - and red boxes contain people’s shopping. And they share tracks - and it is by using barcodes and some complex software, they can be directed to wherever they need to be.The big optimisation challenge for Ocado is making sure that the right boxes arrive in the right places at the right time.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Real Business Radio Success

Whitley Bay had success at the regional finals of this years Real Business Challenge. They had already done incredibly well to make it down to final ten and went one step further by picking up the prize for the best radio advert in the final. The team of girls from Year 10 worked alongside business experts from Coca-Cola to create a fundraising idea and promotional plan to help raise awareness for the Special Olympics. The team had to work under pressure to hit their deadlines in the Apprentice style task but their creative thinking #SOwhat? campaign impressed the panel of judges which saw them pick up the prize for best radio advert. The judges felt their consistent approach to their communications was very sophisticated and impressive. Well done team Achieve!

Snap Floatation

Snap, owner of the Snapchat messaging app popular with teenagers, is to sell its shares on the US stock market. The California-based tech firm, which allows users to send images and messages that vanish within seconds, is set to be one of the major US share listings of recent years. The flotation is expected to value the business at between $20bn and $25bn, although Snap has never made a profit. It will turn the company's founders into multi-billionaires. Snap wants to raise $3bn through the share sale, a small percentage but one that will set the market price for the rest of the company. The company began in 2011 when co-founder and chief executive, 26-year-old Evan Spiegel, was still at university.  Mr Spiegel and fellow founder Bobby Murphy, 28, have stakes in Snap that would be worth about $5bn. Snap now has nearly 160 million daily users and last year revenues grew by nearly 600%, the listing documents revealed. Most of Snapchat's revenue comes from advertising, and it is seen as an appealing way for companies to reach young people, with over half of its users aged between 13 and 24.

Tip of the Iceberg

Lettuce rationing has proved to be just the tip of the iceberg: the UK’s third largest supermarket has introduced a ban on bulk purchases of aubergines, broccoli, loose courgettes and cabbage. Asda said it was limiting bulk purchases to six items on iceberg lettuce and each of the other vegetables as an almost unprecedented cold and wet weather in southern Spain has hit supplies. The shortages are also hitting restaurant chains. Sandwich chain Pret a Manger said it had been using alternative varieties of leaf in its salads. Meanwhile, eBay had listings for iceberg lettuces for between 99p and £4.99. Supermarket shelves have been left empty and prices soared to as much as three times their usual price as supplies from Murcia, where more than 80% of many salad and vegetable crops sold in the UK usually come from over the winter, have slumped.