CMO tenure, Gucci, McColl’s: Everything that matters this morning

Good morning and welcome to Marketing Week’s round-up of the news that matters in the marketing world today.

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Gap between average CMO and CEO tenure widens

The gap between the average tenure of a CMO and CEO is rising, with CEOs now staying in role more than twice as long as their CMOs.

The average length of service for a CMO in 2021 was just 40 months, making it the lowest level in more than a decade, with no sign of improvement on last year, according to the annual study by leadership advisory firm Spencer Stuart.

Conversely, the average CEO tenure increased to 85 months, more than double that of CMOs. This is partly because boards were reluctant to change CEOs during the pandemic, the research suggests.

However, the analysis of CMO tenures at 100 of the most-advertised US brands does show median tenure increased to 28 months, meaning it is inching closer to its pre-pandemic level of 30 months. Last year it hit its lowest level on record at just 25.5 months, as a number of long-term marketing executives transitioned roles.

When it comes to hiring CMOs, while the largest proportion were promoted from within (55%), this is down from 63% in 2020 and 64% in 2019.

This was down to a spike in external hires, which increased to 45% in 2021, up from 37% in 2020, which often indicates CEOs are looking to mix things up and find a new approach, the report says.

Even when companies were hiring a CMO for the first time, they were nearly twice as likely to recruit externally – 30% were brought in from outside the business versus 16% in 2020.

This suggests CMOs may need to increase their focus on succession planning.

In a more positive trend, female CMOs outnumber their male counterparts for the first time since the study began, with 51% of the 100 CMOs looked at as part of the survey now women.

This comes as nearly three-quarters (71%) of new hires were women, up from 52% in 2020. Of the new CMOs hired in 2021, 18% come from underrepresented racial of ethic groups, up from 11% in 2020.

However, ethnic and racial diversity continues to lag overall, with just 15% of CMOs in 2021 coming from underrepresented groups.

Interest rates rise again to hit 13-year high

The Bank of England increased interest rates again yesterday, making it the fourth time since December.

Rates rose from 0.75% to 1%, their highest level since 2009, as the institution looks to stem soaring inflation, which is currently at a 30-year high.

Given the cost of living is already rising rapidly, Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey was forced to defend the move, telling the BBC the risk of letting inflation spiral was higher.

Inflation is expected to hit 10% by the autumn, up from 7% in March, as the war in Ukraine drives up fuel and energy prices up.

As a result of rising prices, there has been a “material deterioration in the outlook” of economic growth both in the UK and the rest of the world, according to the bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which sets rates.

It now expects the UK economy to shrink rather than grow in the final quarter of 2022. The outlook for next year is equally gloomy, with the forecast turning from 1.25% growth in 2023 to a decline of 0.25%.

Bailey told the BBC the bank is in a “difficult position at the moment”.

“We’re walking a very narrow path now between inflation on the one side, which is much higher than we want it to be, and on the other side very big external shocks which are causing a big loss of real income for people and businesses in this country.”

READ MORE: Warning of economic downturn as interest rates rise

McColl’s on brink of collapse

Convenience chain McColl’s, which operates hundreds of Morrisons Daily stores, is on the brink of collapse after revealing it is “increasingly likely” it will go into administration.

The company could call in administrators as early as today, according to Sky News, which is expected to trigger renewed interest in a partial takeover from Morrisons, as well as Asda’s owner EG Group, which is run by the Issa brothers.

McColl’s operates around 1,100 convenience stores and newsagents across Britain, including around 200 that now trade under the Morrisons Daily brand through a partnership with the supermarket.

It employs around 16,000 people and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The business said: “Whilst no decision has yet been made, McColl’s confirms that unless an alternative solution can be agreed in the short term, it is increasingly likely that the group would be placed into administration with the objective of achieving a sale of the group to a third-party purchaser and securing the interests of creditors and employees.

“Even if a successful outcome is achieved, it is likely to result in little or no value being attributed to the group’s ordinary shares.”

READ MORE: Thousands of jobs at risk as convenience store giant McColl’s teeters on brink of collapse 

Gucci to accept payment in cryptocurrencies

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Luxury fashion brand Gucci will soon accept payment in cryptocurrencies at some of its leading stores in the US.

The payment option will be rolled out to some of its flagship stores later this month, including its shop on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles and in New York.

Gucci, which is owned by Kering, will accept digital currencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, as well as Shiba Inu and Dogecoin, a “meme” currency that was originally created as a joke.

Customers wanting to pay with cryptocurrencies in-store will be sent an email with a QR code to use with a digital asset wallet.

After the initial trial Gucci plans to roll out the payment option to all stores in North America.

The firm follows in the footsteps of Microsoft, Starbucks and US telecoms firm AT&T which all accept digital currencies.

READ MORE: Gucci stores to accept cryptocurrencies in US

The Collective launches first UK masterbrand campaign

Dairy business The Collective has launched its first masterbrand campaign in the UK to highlight the array of products it offers for adults and children, as well as dairy-free alternatives.

Through the nationwide ‘Yog Squad’ campaign, which will feature out of home, digital media and shopper marketing, the New Zealand born company aims to increase brand awareness, with the initial launch to be followed by two additional bursts later in the year.

The brand will also be refreshing its packaging later this year to ensure all access points to the brand are aligned.

As part of the campaign The Collective, which recently became a B Corp, will be encouraging consumers to set up their own Yog Squads. Through these groups it hopes people will be able to provide volunteering support for local charities and beneficial initiatives.

Thursday, 5 May

NextNext enjoys full price sales boost as brand business remains strong

Next is seeing good progress in its focus on full price sales, which rose by 21.3% in the 13 weeks to 30 April compared to the same period last year. The strength of the performance means Next believes it is on track to deliver a full year pre-tax profit of £850m, up 3.3% on last year.

Given most of its stores were closed under lockdown during spring 2021, Next’s retail sales have grown 285% on a one-year basis, but are down 8% versus the same period pre-pandemic in 2019/2020. Conversely, as online sales surged under lockdown, digital sales are down 11% compared to last year, but up 47% versus the same period in 2019/2020.

Online branded sales performed stronger than Next own brand over the period. The Label division grew full price sales by 20% versus last year and 106% compared to pre-pandemic levels. By contrast, online Next sales fell by 24% compared to a year prior, but are up 23% versus 2019/2020.

Overseas ecommerce sales fell 12% in the 13 weeks to 30 April, despite being up 47% on pre-pandemic levels. Having closed its websites in Ukraine and Russia in March, Next notes that – excluding Ukraine and Russia – overseas full price sales were down 7% versus last year, but up 60% compared to 2019/2020.

In its year end results last month the retailer forecast it would generate around £220m in surplus cash, which would either be returned to shareholders or invested in equity stakes in potential Total Platform clients, which sees Next offer an online hosting service for other brands.

However, the company has since spent £20m acquiring minority stakes in several businesses, the “lion’s share” of which was used to fund April’s investment to buy a 44% stake in baby goods retailer JoJo Maman BéBé.

BrewDog CEO pursues prosecution over source of ‘malicious’ social media comments

BrewDog shopBrewDog CEO James Watt is pursuing a private prosecution against a woman he claims offered “false information” about the source of “malicious” comments made about him on social media.

According to the Guardian, Watt is accusing Emili Ziem of fraud and malicious communication, alleging she displayed “dishonesty” when claiming to have obtained information about the “people responsible for malicious communications” about the BrewDog CEO on social media.

The charge alleges Ziem made the claims to “make a gain” for herself and either cause loss to Watt or expose him to the risk of loss.

On the charge of malicious communication, the BrewDog boss accuses Ziem of sending posts from an Instagram account with the username Laurakeller341, which conveyed information he describes as “false” for the purpose of “causing distress or anxiety to the recipient”.

Ziem reportedly disputes the allegations, with a pre-trial hearing scheduled for 1 June.

In March, the Guardian reported Watt had hired private investigators to obtain information about people he believed were taking part in a smear campaign against him and accused one woman of involvement, before she blocked him on social media.

At the time, a BrewDog spokesperson told the Guardian Watt had been subjected to a “two-year criminal campaign of online harassment, defamation, fraud, blackmail and malicious communications”, which the business claimed had been instigated by a “very small group of individuals”.

The company said investigators had therefore been hired to find the source of the “false allegations”.

READ MORE: BrewDog CEO brings prosecution against a woman for ‘dishonesty’

Patagonia names new EMEA marketing director

Patagonia has appointed Tyler LaMotte as EMEA marketing director, replacing former European marketing director Alex Weller who became global head of the brand’s creative studio in November.

This will be LaMotte’s second stint at the outdoor apparel manufacturer. He joins this month after departing his latest role as chief brand officer at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming, USA in October.

Based at the company’s European headquarters in Amsterdam, he will oversee the marketing strategy for Patagonia throughout EMEA. LaMotte assumes responsibility for building communities through outdoor sports and environmental activism, as well as being tasked with amplifying the company’s mission to “save our home planet”.

Boasting more than two decades’ experience in the outdoor industry, LaMotte rejoins Patagonia after departing his role as global business unit director for snowsports, performance baselayer, trail running and accessories in 2015.

“I am beyond excited to be joining the Patagonia EMEA team and to be returning to the brand, in this capacity, at such a critical time for the planet,” says LaMotte. “I am looking forward to collaborating with the talented EMEA team to elevate the Patagonia brand and mission, across the region and beyond.”

Patagonia EMEA general manager Matthijs Visch credits LaMotte’s “proven track record” of delivering “transformational business initiatives” for global brands.

“Added to this, he is a committed advocate for environmental causes and a lifelong outdoor enthusiast, grounded in collaboration, inclusivity, authenticity, and responsibility,” Visch adds. “Tyler’s exceptional talents and his embodiment of the Patagonia spirit clearly demonstrate that he is the right person to bring to life our purpose: We’re in business to save our home planet.”

LaMotte began his marketing career as category manager for snowboarding at sports equipment company Salomon, after which he took on general management roles at Adidas for the lifestyle and action sports divisions. He then spent five years at Patagonia in the global business unit, before leaving to work in worldwide product marketing at Apple.

In 2016, LaMotte joined outdoor footwear brand Keen as CMO, before taking on the top job at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in 2019.

Uber bookings bounce back despite heavy loss

Uber EatsUber has seen bookings bounce back across its mobility and delivery divisions, despite notching up a hefty loss associated with its investments in rival ride hailing firms.

The company’s gross bookings grew 35% year on year to $26.4bn (£21bn) during the first quarter, with revenue growth up 136% year on year to $6.9bn (£5.5bn). Trips increased by 18% year on year to 1.71 billion, or approximately 19 million trips per day on average.

However, Uber made a net loss of $5.9bn (£4.7bn), including a $5.6bn (£4.5bn) loss relating to the revaluation of its equity investments in ride hailing giants Grab, which operates in South East Asia, and Didi in China, as well as its stake in self-driving truck company Aurora.

During the first quarter, mobility gross bookings rose by 58% year on year to $10.7bn (£8.5bn), with gross bookings in the delivery division up 12% to $13.9bn (£11bn).

Uber spent $1.2bn (£958m) on sales and marketing during the first quarter, representing 4.7% of gross bookings, compared to 4.8% in the fourth quarter of 2021 and 5.5% during the first quarter a year prior.

On a year-on-year basis, sales and marketing as a percentage of gross bookings decreased due to “improved cost leverage”, as booking growth outpaced sales and marketing spend. The gross bookings mix has also shifted towards mobility, which Uber says carries lower associated sales and marketing costs.

On the mobility side, airport gross bookings represented 13% of mobility bookings during the first quarter, compared to 15% pre-pandemic. This figure is up 166% year on year. During the period the business also introduced Uber Explore, a new product in the app enabling customers to browse and book experiences.

Monthly active platform consumers in the delivery division increased by 4% year on year, with basket size up 3% and order frequency rising by 4%. During the first quarter the company relaunched its group ordering feature globally and signed a new global strategic convenience delivery partnership with BP to make more than 3,000 retail locations available on Uber Eats by 2025.

Uber says its advertising business is experiencing “continued strength”, having more than tripled year on year.

In total, monthly active customers hit 115 million, up 17% year on year. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2021, when there were 118 million monthly active consumers, this figure peaked at 121 million in March.

“Our results demonstrate just how much progress we’ve made navigating out of the pandemic and how the power of our platform is differentiating our business performance,” says CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

“In April, mobility gross bookings exceeded 2019 levels across all regions and use cases. There’s never been a more exciting time to innovate at Uber and we’re focused on executing our strategy to grow our platform profitably.”

Minister urges shoppers to buy value brands to survive cost of living crisis

George Eustice has suggested shoppers struggling with the soaring cost of living should opt for value brands rather than branded products.

The secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs told Sky News that people find by buying value brands – “rather than own-branded products” – they can “manage” their household budgets.

Eustice claimed the “10 big supermarkets and the four main ones [are] competing very aggressively” to offer low cost, everyday value items such as spaghetti and ambient products. However, he noted increased costs in the supply chain for chicken and fresh produce would likely be passed on to consumers.

With food inflation now at its highest level since 2013, according to the British Retail Consortium, the idea consumers can solve the current crisis by buying value brands alone was deemed “patronising” by the Labour Party. Shadow Treasury minister Pat McFadden said Eustice’s comments are evidence the government is “woefully out of touch” and has “no solution” for the soaring cost of living.

Likewise, the Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain suggested Eustice’s advice shows the Conservatives are “living in a parallel universe” compared to the rest of the UK, adding: “Families and pensioners who can’t afford their weekly shop need more help, not patronising advice from a clueless minister.”

The response from Eustice comes a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson was criticised for comments made in a Good Morning Britain interview, during which he took credit for introducing the Freedom Bus Pass when presented with the story of pensioner Elsie, who rides the bus all day to save on using energy at home.

READ MORE: Britons should buy value brands to cope with living cost crisis, says minister

Wednesday, 4 May

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Paramount streaming service ramps up

As the streaming wars continue, Paramount has revealed it’ll be launching its Paramount+ streaming service next month in the UK and Ireland.

The news comes as Paramount announced its Q1 results, where total revenue had fallen by around 1% at £5.8bn ($7.33bn). However, Paramount+ itself saw growth with 6.8m new subscribers.

Launching in the UK and Ireland on June 22, the service will feature more than 8000 hours of content including originals as well as popular shows and films from Paramount’s brands, including SHOWTIME®, Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon. It will cost £6.99 a month.

Paramount+ will also launch on Sky as part of a new multi-year distribution agreement that will see Sky Cinema subscribers gain access to the platform with no extra cost.

As the service builds momentum, it will also launch in South Korea next month with further upcoming launches in Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria later this year.

“This year will be monumental for our streaming strategy as we accelerate our global ambitions,” said Paramount Global’s President and CEO for international networks, studios, and streaming Raffaele Annecchino. “With an already expansive global footprint and a strong, long-term market-by-market strategy, we are well-poised to continue our positive momentum.”

Paramount’s Australia, Canada, Israel and UK president Maria Kyriacou adds: “The addition of Paramount+ to our strong portfolio of free-to-air, pay TV and streaming services will broaden the range of choice available to our audiences in the UK and Ireland.

“Paramount+ will be a one-stop destination for Paramount’s biggest brands, where fans of all ages can find exclusive original premium content, global hits, and discover a world of favourites from Paramount’s vast catalogue,” she continues.”

Marketers warn pandemic and inflation have changed consumer expectations for brands

The majority of marketers (59%) are confused by fast-changing consumer priorities following the pandemic, according to new research from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

CIM’s research suggests it’s causing marketers to be concerned about the future of the brands they represent, with nine in ten believing their brand has to evolve off the back of these issues. 29% of the 500 in-house and agency marketing professionals said they felt their brand’s business model needs to be “radically overhauled” to survive in the next decade.

Looking at consumer priorities, the research shows that marketers also believe that being able to have products or services delivered at home is more important for consumers now than pre-pandemic (83%) as is overall value for money (78%) and the environment impact of products and services (78%).

74% said their companies’ performance on diversity and inclusion is also a growing factor, followed by shopping locally (73%). A physical store presence was highlighted as the least important customer need (38%) signifying the prominence of online retail, partly off the back of the pandemic.

The research also highlights that 78% of marketers believe it is their role within their business to represent the voice of the customer.

And despite the majority (79%) believing the skill set required for marketing roles has completely changed in the last decade, just half (51%) attended external training in the last year. Additionally, one in five (19%) feel they only have some of the required skills to successfully carry out their role.

“We are living through extremely turbulent times; from the pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis – to rising inflation, and most recently the Ukraine crisis,” said CIM CEO Chris Daly. “It’s clear from today’s results that consumers now expect brands to do more than just deliver value, but also actively engage with societal and political issues.”

He continues: “If our industry is to really bounce back, marketers must invest time in getting to know their customers, and carefully consider what matters to them most.”

Klarna to report BNPL use to credit agencies

The Swedish “buy now, pay later” fintech Klarna will begin providing information to UK credit agencies on the use of its BNPL products as it attempts to address concerns around consumer financial wellbeing.

Currently, BNPL services do not need to share information with credit agencies, similarly to most lenders.

But from June, Klarna will report information to Experian and TransUnion on both paid and late payments, as well as unpaid purchases. Klarna said the information will appear on credit reports, but it would not impact credit scores yet.

In the BNPL ecosystem, an array of banks have been announcing BNPL services this year, with NatWest, Barclays, Virgin Money, Monzo and Revolut are either developing BNPL products, at a trial stage or on the market, reports the Financial Times.

The move towards reporting follows the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) report last year, which warned that a lack of reporting could make it harder for lenders to assess customer affordability.

The Treasury itself launched a consultation on the sector in October last year, and the FCA has said it has plans to consult on regulating BNPL providers once the Treasury review is done.

READ MORE: Klarna to report ‘buy now, pay later’ use to UK credit agencies

Airbnb revenue grows

Airbnb has announced its Q1 2022 results, with revenue exceeding pre-pandemic Q1 2019 revenue by 80%.

The company’s Q1 revenue of £1.2bn ($1.5bn) grew 70% year over year, as the service bounces back after the pandemic and says guests are booking “more than ever before”.

In Q1 2022, gross nights booked grew 32% compared to Q1 2019, “despite ongoing pandemic concerns, the war in Ukraine, and macroeconomic headwinds”.

The company also said that looking ahead, as of the end of April 2022, it had 30% more nights booked for the summer travel season, compared again with 2019.

And while short-term stays rebounded “strongly” this quarter, long-term stays of 28 days or more continue to be Airbnb’s fastest growing category by trip length, compared with 2019. Long-term is at an all time high for the business, more than doubling in size from Q1 2019.

Sky Zero Footprint Fund returns

Sky logo

First launched last year, the Sky Zero Footprint Fund gives support to sustainability conscious brands to help them amplify their message with TV and advertising.

Five winning brands with share the £2m fund, with the top winning brand taking £1m, chosen by the judging panel which includes Tara Chandra, co-founder of last year’s winner Here We Flo as well as Sir John Hegarty and Bruce Crouch, executive creative director of Hatch London.

The campaign aims to champion tangible efforts and steps towards a more sustainable future, tying into the brand’s owner Sky Zero’s pledge to be reach net zero carbon by 2030. The competition is open to brands, media and creative agencies in the UK and Ireland.

Entrants will be judged based on their commitment to a carbon zero future, whether that’s by showing sustainable business operations or incorporating sustainability into product development and design.

“The Footprint Fund last year resulted in five great adverts and brought new disruptive brands to TV for the first time. We’re excited to announce the return of the initiative and we can’t wait to hear from the brands that want to help make a difference,” said Sky Media director of planning Sarah Jones.

Virgin Media and Jaguar Land Rover hit by ASA bans

Ads from both Virgin Media and Jaguar Land Rover are the latest to be banned by the Advertising Standards Authority as they come under fire for misleading customers.

The two TV ads for Land Rover showed the car reverse parking on the edge of a cliff, guided by the vehicle’s parking sensors. The complaint was raised as two viewers challenged whether the ads were misleading, given parking sensors are supposed to warn drivers of objects and not empty space.

While Jaguar Land Rover agreed the sensors did not cover empty space, they believed other shots clearly showed the car reversing towards objects such as boulders too.

However, the ad watchdog has banned the ad, ruling that since its tag line was “wherever you find yourself,” then viewers would interpret the car to help when reversing near such a drop.

Virgin Media has also landed itself in hot water with its transparency over referring to itself as “the UK’s fastest major broadband provider” following complaints from rival BT.

The complaint about a website and TV ad questioned whether the claim was misleading, and whether it was verifiable.

While the ASA did not uphold the complaint on the first issue, given the watchdog’s belief that customer’s would understand the line “We are the UK’s fastest major broadband provider” in both ads showed that Virgin Media had the fastest broadband service available in the UK, compared with other broadband providers.

However, it upheld the complaint for the latter, as the second ad in question did not include detailed information about identifiable competitors in line with CAP and BCAP codes.

Tuesday, 3 May

tescoTesco highlights ‘value hacks’ for consumers during cost of living crisis

Tesco has launched a campaign to highlight “value hacks” to help its customers save money during the current cost of living crisis. This includes drawing attention to the £17m worth of Clubcard vouchers that need to be used before the end of the month.

The supermarket says it is alerting Clubcard members in possession of these vouchers, which will expire at the end of May, that they can use them to “get more for their money and to help them spend less at Tesco”. The vouchers were originally issued in 2020.

The other value hacks being highlighted by Tesco include its Aldi Price Match initiative, which sees the supermarket match around 650 of its products to the cost of the comparable product at the discounter. Tesco is also highlighting its Scan as You Shop service, which it says allows customers to keep an eye on how much they are spending by scanning their items as they go.

The supermarket is also drawing attention to the other uses of the Clubcard for members beyond saving money on their grocery shop. The Clubcard vouchers can be redeemed for up to three times their value with one of the supermarket’s Reward Partners. That means £10 of vouchers off your shop could instead become £30 to use with a partner such as PizzaExpress or Cineworld.

With the rising cost of fuel, Tesco also highlights that Clubcard vouchers can be used to get money off the cost of filling up the car at Tesco petrol stations. The vouchers expiring in May could fill up nearly 200,000 family cars, says the supermarket.

Tesco is aiming to emphasise its value proposition during a time when consumers are strapped for cash.

“We know it’s tough right now, which is why we want to show customers all the ways we can help them spend less, and leave them with more money in their pockets – to manage the rising cost of living, or to treat themselves and their loved ones,” says Alessandra Bellini, Tesco chief customer officer.

Qantas to launch world’s longest passenger flights

QantasQantas has said it will begin running direct flights from Sydney to London and New York from 2025. The flights between Sydney and London would take about 20 hours, making them the world’s longest passenger flight.

The Australian airline says it has purchased a range of Airbus A350-1000 jets capable of making the journey. Qantas has been working on the plan, dubbed Project Sunrise, for around five years, with the Covid-19 pandemic delaying plans.

In 2018 Qantas began offering direct 17-hour direct flights between London and Perth in Western Australia, and in 2019 it conducted a series of test flights from the east coast to the UK and New York.

“It’s the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance,” says CEO Alan Joyce.

The first of these flights is due to be delivered at the end of 2025. The aircrafts will feature “wellbeing zones”, which will include self-service snack bars and space for moving about. These will be designed at mitigating potential health risks of flying such long-distances, such as deep-vein thrombosis. The seats will also be roomier than usual, says Qantas.

The airline claims the planes will be “capable of flying direct from Australia to any other city” in the world, while being 25% more fuel-efficient than previous aircraft.

READ MORE: Qantas promises direct flights from Sydney to London and New York

Asda owners reportedly exploring sale of EG Group forecourt business

Asda’s owners, the Issa brothers, are reportedly in talks to sell their petrol forecourts business to Canadian convenience store giant Couche-Tard.

The talks between the Canadian company, and the Issa brothers’ EG Group value the company at around $16bn (£12.8bn), including debt.

The EG Group operate many petrol station forecourt businesses in the UK and US. The group also owns fast-food chain Leon.

A deal could unlock funds for the Issa brothers and their private equity partners TDR Capital to acquire Boots. The chemist and beauty chain is being sold by its parent company, Walgreens Boots Alliance. The Issa brothers have been touted as one likely bidder for Boots, final bids for the company are due this month.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that talks between Couche-Tard and EG Group have “run hot and cold” over the past few weeks, as the two companies negotiate on price.

However, if the merger did take place, and the two companies did combine the group would have more than $70bn (£55.9bn) in annual sales and 21,000 fast-food restaurants, petrol stations and grocery stores.

READ MORE: Convenience-Store Giants Couche-Tard, EG Group in Deal Talks

EU accuses Apple of abusing its market position over contactless payments

AppleEU regulators have accused Apple of breaking competition law by limiting rivals’ access to technology that is key to making contactless payments.

Apple stands accused of preventing to key inputs that are necessary to develop and run mobile payments apps. The European Commission says that they have received evidence that Apple’s behaviour caused some developers to stop making their own mobile wallet apps as they were not able to reach iPhone users.

The European Commission says the move is unfairly benefitting the company’s own Apple Pay service and therefore limiting consumers’ choice.

“We preliminarily found that Apple may have restricted competition,” says Margrethe Vestager, the commission’s executive vice-president. “By excluding others from the game, Apple has unfairly shielded its Apple Pay wallet from competition. If proven, this behaviour would amount to abuse of a dominant position, which is illegal under our rules.”

Apple denies the charge and says it will engage with the commission on the matter. Apple could face fines worth up to 10% of its global revenues, which totalled $365bn (£291.9bn) in 2021, if the charges are upheld.

Apple is also facing a separate competition investigation from EU regulators over how it takes fees on purchases and subscriptions made through its App Store. The investigation follows a complaint made by streaming service Spotify last year, and saw investigators conclude that the practice may ultimately resulted in higher prices for consumers.

READ MORE: EU claims Apple breaking competition law over contactless payments

Agency launches range of charity T-shirts poking fun at marketing soundbites

Halo, a UK independent agency, has launched a range of T-shirts, encouraging marketers to get the cliched industry phases that annoy them off their chests.

The phrases on the T-shirts include, ‘This could’ve been an email’ or ‘you don’t need a Metaverse strategy’.

All profits of sales go to 1625 Independent People, which is a charity that works with young people who are homeless, leaving care, or at risk of homelessness in the South West.

“We hope this small statement will have a positive effect on the work of charity 1625 Independent People, while also maybe shining a fun light on some of the nonsense spouted in the world of marketing,” says Paul Bailey, brand strategy director.