Pizza Hut drags down sales at Yum! Brands
Sales at Yum! Brands, the parent company of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell, slipped below target in the quarter to 30 June, increasing by just 2%.
Poor performance at Pizza Hut was seen as the cause, which reported a 1% drop in same-store revenue, compared to growth of 3% at KFC and 4% at Taco Bell. As a result of the missed sales target, shares in Yum! Brands fell more than 2%.
The company also reported a 23% decline in net income to $206m, while total revenues fell 4% to $1.45bn.
Yum! Brands has invested $130m in upgrading equipment, advertising and revamping restaurant technology in a bid to strengthen its pizza business. However, during the second quarter this strategy left the organisation with a $12m charge due to investments in Pizza Hut’s digital platforms.
Arla Cravendale splashes on £3m ad campaign
Milk brand Arla Cravendale has launched a £3m advertising campaign focused on freshness.
Playing on the theme of local myths and legends, the ‘Moonicow’ campaign will feature a 60-second mockumentary style advert set in the fictional village of Cravendale, where residents claim their fresh tasting milk comes from the mythical Moonicow.
Developed in collaboration with Wieden+Kennedy London and filmed by former Brass Eye director Michael Cumming, the advert will appear on television, video-on-demand and social media throughout August. The campaign will also link up with influencers including food bloggers and Fred Sirieix, the host of Channel 4’s First Dates.
Green & Blacks drops Fairtrade for new Velvet Edition
Green & Black’s is launching its first UK product without a Fairtrade or organic label.
The new Velvet Edition dark chocolate bars, set to go on sale in the UK this month, will carry the Cocoa Life certification created by Green & Black’s owner, Mondelēz International.
Speaking to the BBC, Glenn Caton, Northern Europe president of Mondelēz , explained that the beans required to make the Velvet Edition were not available at scale as an organic product and therefore needed to be “sustainably sourced” through the independently verified Cocoa Life programme.
Described as a “holistic, cocoa sustainability programme in partnership with Fairtrade”, the Cocoa Life branding is rapidly replacing the Fairtrade logo across all Mondelēz -owned chocolate products. By 2019, Cadbury’s entire chocolate range in the UK and Ireland will display the Cocoa Life logo.
Going forward all Green & Black’s ranges, aside from the Velvet Edition, will continue to be organic and carry the Fairtrade logo.
Mondelēz joins a growing list of brands abandoning Fairtrade certification, including Sainsbury’s which is rolling out its Fairly Traded brand and Tesco, which is expected to switch all its own-label coffee to the Rainforest Alliance ethical certification scheme.
Uniqlo rolls out vending machine for shirts
Fashion brand Uniqlo has installed a vending machine dispensing men and women’s shirts and lightweight jackets at Oakland Airport, California.
Nine other machines will be rolled out to airports and shopping centres in Los Angeles, Houston and New York over the coming months, chosen as high-traffic locations that supplement Uniqlo’s 45 stores across the country. Prices will start at $15 (£11.30) for a top, climbing to $70 (£53) for a lightweight jackets.
The vending machines are exclusive to the US, where the Japanese retailer hopes to gain ground with consumers after failing to make significant inroads into the American market.
Accenture buys up Brand Learning in latest acquisition
Professional services firm Accenture has snapped up marketing and sales consultancy Brand Learning for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition is intended to strengthen Accenture’s end-to-end marketing and sales capabilities, linking into the digital design and engagement skills offered by its Accenture Interactive business.
Headquartered in London with regional offices in New York and Singapore, Brand Learning employs 120 people globally.
The buy out of Brand Learning represents Accenture’s 15th acquisition in five years. The professional services firm continues to make its aggressive play for the digital advertising space through this series of high profile acquisitions, which include the purchase of US digital optimisation company Clearhead on July 13 and UK creative agency Karmarama in November.
Over the past year alone, Accenture has added 1,700 people to its UK workforce, focusing on individuals with digital and technology skills who can work in areas like robotics, AI, data science and virtual reality.
Thursday, 3 August
Deliveroo introduces new safety measures for its drivers
Deliveroo is introducing new safety measures after two delivery riders were among five people injured in north London by acid attacks last month.
Since the attacks, more than 70 Deliveroo riders have said they have not felt safe completing a delivery. Subsequently, Deliveroo has introduced a new app feature that allows riders to instantly raise security concerns to police about specific addresses.
It is also trialling putting cameras on the helmets of riders. The trials will take place in Hackney, east London, which remains a trouble spot for riders.
Uber Eats’ rider Jabed Hussein was the first victim in the series of acid attacks last month. An attack also followed on a Deliveroo rider.
“The safety of our riders is the most important thing to us, and it’s our responsibility as a company to step up our efforts so they can feel safe all of the time,” says Deliveroo’s managing director Dan Darne, who revealed it is also hiring 50 new head office staff to focus specifically on rider safety.
Male FTSE 100 CEOs are earning much more than their female counterparts
A new study has revealed that male CEOs of the UK’s biggest businesses are earning up to 77% more than their female counterparts.
Male CEOs of FTSE 100 firms earned, on average, £4.7m in 2016. This compares with a £2.6m average for female bosses, according to the report by the High Pay Centre and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
In July, ITV announced it was hiring EasyJet’s Carolyn McCall as its new chief executive. But the report says this types of move was rare. Last year, it claims 94 FTSE 100 CEOS were male compared to just 6 women.
“As a FTSE 100 CEO it is more likely that your name is David than you being a female,” the report claims. And this isn’t a joke either; there are currently eight FTSE 100 bosses who go by the name of David.
Barclays the latest bank to open office space in Dublin following Brexit
Barclays has signed up more office space in Dublin as part of its push to expand its operations in the Irish capital following Brexit.
The high street bank has signed a 20-year lease agreement to let 3,437 square metres of office space in central Dublin at a rate of £2.1m a year.
Last month, Bank of America (BofA) announced it had chosen Dublin as it post-Brexit base forinvestment banking and markets operations.
BofA chief executive Brian Moynihan said Dublin is the “natural location to consolidate our legal entities as we transition”.
Analysts believe banks are looking to move out of London as a precaution amid economic uncertainty and due to growing fears that the Brexit negoiations will not reach a positive outcome.
Mondelez hires new CEO as it aims to return to sales growth
Food giant Mondelez International has announced that the 11-year tenure of its CEO Irene B. Rosenfield is coming to an end. She will be replaced by Dirk Van de Put, who is currently CEO of frozen food giant McCain Foods, in November.
The change in leadership comes at a difficult time for Mondelez. Mondelez’s revenue in its most recent quarter was down 5% from the same period a year earlier, to nearly $6 billion, and its share price is down 2.3% so far this year. It has struggled amid changing eating habits and the demand for healthier products.
Van de Put has previously held senior roles at Mars and Coca-Cola, and Rosenfield talked up his appointment in a statement: “He is a seasoned global C.E.O., having lived and worked on three different continents, with deep experience and expertise in all critical business and commercial operations in both emerging and developed markets.”
Is Apple preparing its own answer to Google Glass?
According to reports, Apple has patented a method of overlaying details onto real-world environments.
The move, similar to what Google was trying to achieve with Glass, would mean a user could see points of interest such as building names through the naked eye. Effectively, a user can point at buildings and instantly get more information.
The overlay would be designed for iPhone use as well as augmented reality glasses. It stems from Metaio, an AR startup Apple acquired back in 2013.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said the tech giant was working on a “big hardware idea like the smartphone” in a recent interview. Whether that’s augmented reality glasses remains to be seen.
Wednesday, 2 August
YouTube says AI is helping it combat terrorist content
YouTube says new artificial intelligence is driving its efforts to combat terrorist content. In a blog post, the company says new tools are already showing “positive progress”, with the rate that content is removed doubling while accuracy has improved and speed and efficiency has gone up. It claims 75% of violent extremist content is now removed before receiving a human flag.
“We are encouraged by these improvements and will continue to develop our technology in order to make even more progress,” says the company.
Its efforts do not just focus on AI, however. YouTube says it is also hiring more people to help review and enforce policies and is working with more experts, including the Anti-Defamation League and No Hate Speech Movement, to help it better identify offensive or illegal content.
YouTube also plans to introduce tougher standards for content that might not be illegal but has been flagged as potentially violating policies on hate speech and violent extremism. If they don’t violate policies but are still controversial, they will remain on YouTube but behind an interstitial and won’t be recommended, monetised or allow key features such as comments and likes.
Apple returns to growth as cheap iPads boost sales
Apple has found a way to restore lost momentum after a number of quarters of sales declines as it returned to growth in the second quarter. Revenue was up 6% year on year to $45.4bn, while profit grew 12% to $8.7bn
Key to the change in fortunes were iPad sales, which were up 15%, the first increase since the end of 2013. iPad revenue was up 2%, suggesting sales of cheaper iPads were the driver of the increase.
iPhone and Mac sales were also up, while its ‘services’ business which includes apps, Apple Music and cloud storage grew by more than 20%. So to did its ‘other products’ division, with sales of products including the Apple Watch, Beats headphones and AirPods also showing growth of more than 20%.
Under Armour to cut jobs as sales growth slows
Under Armous plans to cut about 2% of jobs globally as it looks to restructure its business in the face of slowing sales growth. Revenue in the second quarter was up 8.7% to $1.09bn but that is some way below the more than 20% growth it has experienced over the past few years. And the company says it now expects full-year revenue rowth to be between 9% and 11%, down from its previous forecast of 11% to 12%.
As part of its restructuring, Under Armour will cut around 280 jobs, many at its HQ, putting marketers on alert. It also plans to up the speed at which it gets products to market and expand its digital capabilities.
“We’ve identified a number of areas to enhance our operational capabilities, drive process improvement and gain greater efficiencies,” says CEO Kevin Plank.
Amazon outbids Sky to win exclusive tennis rights
Amazon has made a big move into sports rights after signing an exclusive deal with the ATP World Tour to show tennis in the UK. The move means Amazon’s Prime Video service will show almost all of the top men’s tennis competitions, other than the four Grand Slams. It beat Sky, which currently holds the rights, with a bid estimated to be worth about £10m a deal, up from the £8m the Guardian estimates Sky paid for its current five-year deal, which expires next year.
The deal marks Amazon’s first live TV sports rights deal outside the US and suggests it could go up against broadcasters to bid for other rights. Premier League rights are up for renewal early next year. Currently worth £5.14bn, Sky and BT, which currently hold the rights, would have been hoping for an end to rapid price increases but a deep-pocketed digital rival such as Amazon could signal even bigger rights competition.
UK businesses see earnings growth despite economic slowdown
Big UK brands including Rolls Royce, HSBC, Direct Line and BP have made bigger-than-expected profits in the second quarter, raising confidence in the health of big business despite the economic slowdown. According to UBS, profit growth among Britain’s biggest companies was up 20% in the three months to the end of June. It puts that down to a recovery in commodity prices and the depreciation of the pound, which has improved international earnings.
However, Caroline Simmons, deputy head of UK investment at UBS, cautions that the results are mostly a reflection of global economic growth and that Q2 2017 will be the last quarter to benefit from a comparison with a stronger pound before the EU referendum.
Tuesday, 1 August
Amazon creates mini series to boost retailers’ sales
Amazon is planning a home makeover show designed to boost shopping on its site.
The ecommerce giant is no stranger to content having produced and distributed TV shows such as ‘Transparent’ and ‘Bosch’ but its focus previously has been on bolstering Amazon Prime subscriptions rather than selling specific products.
The new six-part series called ‘Overhaul’ will feature YouTube stars including baker Rosanna Pansino and beauty blogger Teni Panosian. It will sit in a dedicated hub on Amazon.com, enabling people to click and purchase items in the show, as well as offering more affordable options.
The show is scheduled to launch in September and will also be distributed on the stars’ own YouTube channels and other social platforms, again directing people to Amazon to shop for featured products.
It is being hosted and co-produced by Christiane Lemieux, founder of DwellStudio, and furniture firm Cloth & Company.
“The ‘Overhaul’ series is a great opportunity to provide our customers with some curation and guidance when searching through our large selection of products and we continue to look for new and different ways to do that,” says Kristiana Helmick, director of home innovation at Amazon.
“This is the first time Amazon has had a co-branded storefront tied to a video series.”
L’Oréal plans to increase search spend on Amazon
L’Oréal plans to shift some of its search budget to Amazon in the UK. Nick Buckley, L’Oréal’s UK digital director, tells Digiday that while Amazon’s share of its search budget is still in the single digits, he expects “this spend to grow” as the volume of searches increases.
According to Buckley, 38% of all beauty searches start on Amazon, but rather than using it to drive sales he believes Amazon’s role is to help the cosmetics giant better identify customer trends.
Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, believes Amazon is a huge threat to Google when it comes to search. In March, he said: “It’s early days with Amazon, you never know what’s going to happen. But we put together an agency in Seattle, where Amazon is headquartered, specifically to deal and cater to them.”
Talking to Marketing Week earlier this year, Lars Glenne, head of media strategy at DigitasLBi, said: “Advertisers are realising that Amazon’s search intent is in many cases more valuable [than Google’s] as it happens further down the purchase funnel, in comparison to Google search, where people are more likely to be doing a search at the beginning of their purchase journeys.”
Fox trials six-second ads on TV
US TV network Fox plans to replicate the success of YouTube’s six-second ad format, with both Mars and Duracell prepping two six-second spots to air during the ‘Teen Choice Awards’ later this month.
Fox Networks Group revealed plans to roll out six-second ads on its digital and on-demand products during the Cannes Lions Festival in June, but it will roll out the format on TV less than two months later.
The six-second ads will run as part of shorter, 29-second ad breaks featuring a five-second intro message asking people not to turn over because the show will be back in less than 30 seconds. This will be followed by four six-second spots.
Fox will air longer ads in separate, more traditional ad breaks alongside at least four of the 29-second commercial breaks.
Retailers want to increase contactless payment limit
Retailers would be happy to see the spending limit for contactless payments raised as three quarters currently using the system have seen an uplift in transactions of 30% on average, according to research by Barclaycard.
Consumers can currently spend up to £30 via the contactless system but more than half of retailers want to see the limit increased, with one in five suggesting it should be raised to £100.
The limit was lifted to £30 in September 2015 having previously been set at £20.
Chinese bike-sharing scheme to launch in London
Mobike, the successful Chinese bike-sharing scheme, is set to give Santander Bikes a run for its money when it launches in London in September, just weeks after being trialed in Manchester.
The scheme operates a pick-up-and-ride system that does not rely on the docking stations used by ‘Boris bikes’.
Users must pay an initial deposit of £29 and will then be charged 50p per half hour. Bikes can be booked an app and are unlocked using a QR code. A GPS system is fitted to each bicycle to help locate and monitor the condition of bikes.
Chinese internet giant Tencent is an investor in Mobike, and part of what corporate vice-president Steven Chang calls “the Tencent family”.
Monday, 31 July
HSBC half-year profits increase but warns of further uncertainty
HSBC’s profits rose 5% in the first half of the year after a turbulent 2016.
The results were better than expected with Europe’s largest bank reporting that its pre-tax profit for the first six months to June came in at $10.2bn (£7.8bn), compared with $9.7bn (£7.4bn) for the same period last year.
The bank has been on a recovery drive over the last two years to streamline the business and reduce costs. It has laid off tens of thousands of staff and shifted more of its focus towards Asia.
HSBC chairman Douglas Flint said there were still “uncertainties arising from increasing geopolitical tensions and ambiguous predictions around the shape of transition to, and final form of, the UK’s future relationship with its major trading partners in the EU” post-Brexit, but described HSBC’s performance as “resilient”.
HSBC confirmed earlier this year that it may have to move 1,000 roles from London to Paris due to Brexit over the next couple of years.
Government calls for compensation for poor broadband speeds
Hate having a slow internet connection? MPs do too. A new Government report is calling on Ofcom, the media and telecoms regulator, to get tough on broadband providers that promise fast speeds but fail to deliver.
The British infrastruture group of MPs, led by former Tory party chairman Grant Shapps, estimates that as many as 6.7m UK broadband connections may not hit the 10Mb minimum that the Government wants to be the UK standard for a basic decent service.
The Broadband 2.0 report, which is backed by 57 MPs, calls for automatic compensation for customers who do not get the level of speed promised from the internet packages they buy.
“Although broadband is increasingly considered to be an essential utility, the quality of customer services has simply not caught up with demand,” said Shapps. “It is unacceptable that there are still no minimum standards in the UK telecoms sector to protect customers from protracted complaints procedures, and ensure that broadband providers are fully accountable to their customers.”
BT promises £600m investment in rural broadband
BT has said it will invest up to £600m to bring broadband to the UK’s rural areas in a bid to avoid tougher regulation.
It wants to get 99% of the country connected to broadband of at least 10Mb by 2020, a speed that’s considered good enough to stream films, use video chat and browsing online at the same time.
The proposals put forward to the Government by the telecoms firm come after the right to request a minimum broadband service was made possible under new laws.
“We are pleased to make a voluntary offer to deliver the government’s goal for universal broadband access at minimum speeds of 10Mb,” said BT chief executive Gavin Patterson.
“This investment will reinforce the UK’s status as the leading digital economy in the G20. We already expect 95% of homes and businesses to have access to superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbp or faster by the end of 2017. Our latest initiative aims to ensure that all UK premises can get faster broadband, even in the hardest to reach parts of the UK.”
SoundCloud looking to sell company stakes to stay afloat
SoundCloud has had a rough couple of months. There has been a lot of talk in the press of mismanagement, and the business has laid off almost half of its staff.
Bloomberg has since revealed that the music streaming service is in “advanced” talks to sell stakes in the company to two private equity firms.
If the deals go through, it will be a bittersweet moment for the company. While it will manage to stay afloat, it would also hand majority control to outside companies. In essence, SoundCloud would be giving up its vaunted independence in order to keep the lights on.
Number of UK women earning more than £1m doubles over 5 years
The number of women earning more than £1m a year has doubled in the five years to 2014-2015, but they are still outnumbered by men by a ratio of 10 to one.
Women make up 9.2% of those earning above £1m, according to an analysis of tax returns filed in 2014-15, and derived from a freedom of information request made to Revenue & Customs.
The figures, requested by financial advisor firm Salisbury House Wealth, show the number has doubled over five years, to 1,400, compared to 13,800 men.
“The [data] really clearly shows the gulf between what men and women earn when you get those top jobs,” said Sam Smethers, chief executive of The Fawcett Society, which promotes gender equality and women’s rights.
“It’s not that surprising but the difference is really stark when you look at the numbers.”
The tax data also show that more women are becoming entrepreneurs. More than 1.6m women were self-employed in the first quarter of this year, compared with 1.2m in 2011.