Sainsbury’s follows Tesco in raising staff wages
Sainsbury’s is expected to raise wages so all employees of Sainsbury’s and Argos will be paid the Real Living Wage or the London Living Wage from May.
The supermarket already pays the London Living Wage to staff in inner London but it now plans to extend this to employees in outer London too, meaning their hourly rate will increase from £10.50 per hour to £11.05.
Sainsbury’s began paying employees outside London a basic hourly rate of £10 in March, after announcing a £100m investment in staff wages at the beginning of the year. The latest move means all workers, including those in inner London and the rest of the UK, will now be paid the relevant Real Living Wage for their location.
The supermarket follows rival Tesco in raising staff wages. Yesterday, Tesco confirmed it was increasing its hourly pay from £9.55 to £10.10 from 24 July 2022. Meanwhile its delivery drivers and click and collect assistants will get a 90p increase to £11 an hour.
Jason Tarry, Tesco UK & ROI CEO says the move “recognises the vital role our colleagues play in our business now and in the future”.
“These investments in our colleagues are central to making Tesco what we truly want it to be: a great place to work for all. A place that attracts and retains the best talent in the industry,” he adds.
Both Aldi and Lidl raised their hourly rate for workers at the beginning of 2022 too. All Aldi’s UK-based store saw pay rise to at least £10.10 an hour on 1 February, while those based in inner London get a minimum of £11.55, putting it above both the Real and London Living Wage.
Prior to that rival Lidl announced it was increasing pay for its workers from March 2022. It raised the hourly rate within London from £10.85 to £11.30, and from £9.50 to £10.10 outside the M25.
Shell to take £3.8bn hit from Russia withdrawal
Shell says it expects to lose out on up to $5bn (£3.8bn) from its decision to pull out of Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
While the oil giant says it is “legally obliged” to fulfil contracts signed before the war started, it has said it will no longer buy oil from Russia. It has also pulled out of a joint venture with Gazprom.
Shell came under fire for buying crude oil from Russia at a cheap price shortly after the war began. But following the backlash it apologised and pledged to stop buying oil from Russia.
“Shell has not renewed longer-term contracts for Russian oil, and will only do so under explicit government direction, but we are legally obliged to take delivery of crude bought under contracts that were signed before the invasion,” the company said.
Waitrose extends Deliveroo partnership after seeing ‘strong demand’
Waitrose is extending its partnership with Deliveroo after seeing “strong demand” for last minute deliveries and attracting new customers to the brand.
The supermarket has added 70 new locations, taking its total up to 220 – more than two-thirds of its stores across the country – as it looks to offer customers “more flexible” ways to shop. The move means deliveries via Deliveroo will be available in nearly 30 additional towns and cities.
Around 1,000 Waitrose products are available via Deliveroo, including its Essential Waitrose range and premium Waitrose No.1 and Waitrose Duchy Organic offers.
Waitrose initially trialled the tie-up with Deliveroo in five stores in 2020 before rolling it out to 150 stores last year. It is currently trialling Deliveroo’s rapid delivery service Hop in Bermondsey, London.
James Bailey, executive director for Waitrose, says: “Our partnership with Deliveroo shows the strong demand for Waitrose products and that this is one of the ways our customers want to shop with us. People’s plans change and the service ensures we are even more flexible around our customer’s lifestyle, giving them more freedom to be more spontaneous about what they eat or drink and when.”
UK footfall improves further as restrictions are lifted
Footfall is improving gradually as all restrictions in the UK have now been lifted. Total footfall improved by 1.2 percentage points in March compared to the previous month, this is 15.4% down on 2019 pre-pandemic levels but a significantly higher (179.6%) than last year.
The BRC-Sensormatic IQ Footfall Monitor data compares all figures to three years ago to provide meaningful comparisons.
While footfall in the UK is still 15.4% lower than in March 2019, it is ahead of other European countries in its recovery, with France (down 25.5%), Germany (37.5%) and Italy (38.6%) all taking longer to return to pre-pandemic levels.
In the UK, shopping centres are still taking the longest time to recover, with footfall down 35.8% compared to March 2019, but this is 4.3 percentage points higher than last month.
High street footfall is up 3.1 percentage points versus February, a decline of 17.8% compared to 2019. While retail park footfall is down 7.3% compared to pre-Covid levels, but up 3.1 percentage points versus last month.
Helen Dickinson, CEO of British Retail Consortium, says: “March saw another gradual improvement to footfall levels across the UK. As the first full month without coronavirus restrictions in England and Northern Ireland, consumers were able to shop with a greater sense of normality, spurred on by some spring sunshine.”
But she adds that there are many challenges ahead, with consumer confidence at its lowest point in 16 months. “Consumers are now feeling the effects of rising living costs, increased food and fuel prices, and… higher energy prices… The impact on retail footfall and retail sales across both stores and online is yet to be seen, but as belts continue to tighten and prices continue to rise, it will be a difficult road ahead for consumers.”
What3Words launches campaign highlighting perils of inaccurate addressing
Location finding app What3Words has launched a major brand campaign as it looks to raise its profile across the UK.
The TV ad, which will air for the first time tonight, shows a man visiting his elderly neighbour to see if she has been receiving any of his parcels given their addresses are hard to find. She denies having taken anything in, but her husband is then seen in the background wearing a bright orange hoodie and a pair of expensive-looking headphones. He also then clocks that she is wearing the trainers he ordered.
Rather than relying on postcodes, What3Words has divided the world into a grid of three-metre squares, each labelled with three words. The example used in the ad is ‘token.guards.desk’.
The ad was created by Neverland, which was appointed by the brand in January, with media managed by ITV.
Ivan Pols, chief creative officer at What3Words, says: “Inaccuracies in addressing are costly to business and frustrating for consumers. They result in taxis arriving on neighbouring streets, food deliveries arriving cold, and customers wasting hours on the phone to couriers. Our technology offers a simple solution to this, and our new campaign with Neverland perfectly demonstrates why it’s always worth using a What3Words address.”
Thursday, 7 April
ITV prepares for Channel 4 takeover bid
ITV is preparing to launch a bid to takeover Channel 4, the Telegraph reports, following the government’s announcement that it will proceed with privatising the public broadcaster.
ITV, the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster, has reportedly told ministers it would be interested in making an offer, after taking advice from its bankers Credit Suisse and Robey Warshaw.
The government plans to privatise Channel 4 by 2024, with an approximate price tag of £1bn.
No bid has been officially made by ITV, and the company may decide not to go ahead. Speculation elsewhere suggests Sky, Discovery and Channel 5 owner Paramount could be interested as well.
If ITV and Channel 4 were to combine, the business would control an estimated 70% of the British TV advertising market, and claim funds to heavily invest in programming to rival streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Earlier this month, ITV announced it would be replacing its long standing on-demand platform ITV Hub with a new proposition, ITVX. The free service will be supported by advertising, while viewers will also have the option of additional content via a subscription.
Alongside the announcement, ITV said it would increase its overall content investment from approximately £1bn a year to around £1.23bn in 2022 and £1.35bn in 2023.
Uber to add planes and trains to UK app
Uber plans to add long-distance travel options to its UK app this year, as part of its rebooted “super-app” strategy first outlined in 2018.
This will include the addition of intercity trains, coaches and flights, the Financial Times reports.
Uber will be not be selling tickets directly, but partnering with existing travel-booking services such as Trainline, Skyscanner or Expedia. According to the FT, the company hopes this will boost its taxi business, with customers using Uber’s driver network to travel between stations, airports and other transit hubs. Around 15% of Uber trips prior to the pandemic were made to airports.
Train and coach booking services will launch this summer, with flight bookings to be added later in the year. Flight reservations could follow next year.
The app will rollout more widely following a pilot in the UK, one of Uber’s biggest markets outside North America.
CEO Dara Khosrowshahi first mentioned his super-app strategy four years ago, but pandemic restrictions on the travel and transport industry led the business to instead focus on expanding its food delivery service Uber Eats.
Former Sainsbury’s and Tesco marketer named chief customer officer of Made.com
Online homeware and furniture retailer Made.com has hired former Sainsbury’s Argos marketing director Dan Elton as chief customer officer.
The appointment follows the departure of former CEO Philippe Chainieux, who left the business in February due to family reasons. Then chief operating officer Nicola Thompson took over the role.
Elton joins Made.com from Google, where he had been senior industry head of fashion and sports since November 2019, leading a team working with fashion and sportswear brands to grow their businesses.
Before joining Google, Elton was brand and digital marketing director at Sainsbury’s Argos, a role he held for almost four years. Elton led Sainsbury’s Argos’ marketing communications and planning and a repositioning of the brand, with a team of 150 marketers.
He also held various senior marketing roles in his six years at Tesco, including head of marketing, convenience stores (Asia), head of marketing, Clubcard, and finally customer insight and analytics director.
Writing on LinkedIn, Elton says he is “incredibly excited and grateful” to have started in his new role this month.
“It’s rare to encounter a brand that, in a relatively short period of time, has become loved by so many people, and which still has such enormous potential for growth,” he writes.
“I can’t wait to join Nicola [Thompson], Jude [Whyte, brand creative director], Natasha [Billing, brand and marketing director], Matt [Pollington, customer director] and the rest of the team putting customers at the centre of our brand, and driving our business forward.”
Boots UK rolls out biggest ever marketing campaign for loyalty scheme
Boots is investing £3m in a campaign to promote its expanded loyalty proposition, its biggest Advantage Card campaign to date.
The retailer is extending its recently launched ‘Price Advantage’ scheme, which enables Boots Advantage card holders to access products at exclusive instant lower prices, similar to Tesco’s Clubcard.
The supporting marketing campaign involves an integrated creative and media approach, with activity spanning across TV, radio, digital out of home (OOH), paid social, and print executions across national press titles and magazines. Ads will showcase the Boots Advantage Card and the offers users can make use of to save money.
Boots has also struck a bespoke multiplatform partnership deal with Bauer Media across its portfolio of radio and magazine brands Magic, Kiss and Grazia, with Ronan Keating to promote Price Advantage on the Magic Breakfast show throughout April.
Boots customers can now shop Boots Price Advantage offers online, after the retailer first launched the scheme in 150 stores in January. The scheme now extends to more than 300 additional products across the retailer’s categories including beauty, health and baby.
Shoppers who take part in the scheme will see an average saving of £2.65 per product, with some products having up to 50% off and savings as big as £17.
Nestlé, Danone, Dole CMOs join WFA leadership team
The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has unveiled its new leadership team, including top marketers from brands including Dole, Nestlé, L’Oréal and Mars.
Dole’s global CMO Rupen Desai has been appointed regional vice-president for Asia, Nestlé’s senior vice-president and global chief marketing and digital officer Aude Gandon becomes regional vice president for Europe, and Osamede Uwubanmwen, president of the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), becomes regional vice president for Africa.
These marketers will join Mastercard CMO and WFA president Raja Rajamannar, who was re-elected for another two-year term last year, while Unilever’s chief digital and marketing officer Conny Braams remains deputy president.
A series of senior executives will also join the leadership team, including Danone’s global head of media Catherine Lautier, L’Oréal’s chief digital and marketing officer Asmita Dubey, Grab’s group vice president of marketing and sustainability Cheryl Goh, and Mars’ vice-president of global pubic affairs and external communications Anders Bering.
They will be joined by Mounir Jazouli, communication, media and digital director of the Bank of Africa, and Francesco Tramontin, vice president of EU institutional relations and group public policy center at Ferrero.
Wednesday, 6 April
ASA bans ads from Google and Lidl
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints against both Google and Lidl.
Two ads for Google, running in the Channel 4 Taskmaster ad break, have been banned as complainants challenged whether they were obviously distinguishable from editorial content.
The ads were “reminiscent” of the Taskmaster show, prompting the ASA to suggest viewers may not have been able to distinguish them from the programme’s own content.
Google says ‘#ad’ was displayed on screen during the ads for three seconds, exceeding the 2.2 seconds in the BCAP guidance for superimposed text in TV advertising, while Channel 4 says it used a range of devices to show the content was advertorial and that there are “no specific rules” for the length of time #ad should appear.
However, the ASA has determined the ads didn’t properly indicate, from the Google logo and link to YouTube alone, that viewers were watching an ad, despite the inclusion of #ad for the opening three seconds.
Meanwhile, two Lidl adverts have also been banned for misleading customers on price comparisons with Tesco, following a complaint from rival store Aldi.
One ad suggested customers could save 35% and the second suggested they could save 30% compared with the same basket at Tesco.
The watchdog determined Lidl did not make the ads, which ran in Scotland, “sufficiently clear” that savings only related to the specific products highlighted.
Lidl said it was not its intention to make a general savings claim against Tesco with the copy and that it “did not believe that the average consumer could reasonably reach that conclusion” when viewing the ads in context.
ISBA and IPA ‘disappointed’ by decision to privatise Channel 4
News the government is set to sell Channel 4 before the next general election has sparked a backlash from both the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), with both organisations expressing their disappointment with the move.
The sale could raise more than £1bn, reports the Financial Times, as government officials said the broadcaster was expected to be put up for bids by the end of 2023.
ISBA’s director general, Phil Smith, expressed his disappointment in the decision.
He details the “substantial risk” Channel 4 could face outside public ownership if “diluted and challenged over time by a new private owner” that “naturally would be pursuing profit and returns to shareholders as a priority”.
Smith adds: “Another key concern of our members is the undue dominance in the TV advertising market that may result. At present, there are three TV saleshouses – owned by Channel 4, ITV, and Sky – involved in the buying and selling of advertising space. Were these to be consolidated, it would create undue dominance in the TV advertising market and reduce competition.
“For the market to be effective for both advertisers and consumers there needs to be competition.”
The IPA has also expressed its disappointment. Citing the channel’s innovative approach and commitment to diversity and inclusion, IPA director general Paul Bainsfair says advertisers “now face the risks privatisation could bring regarding competition and media plurality”.
He adds: “As we said back in our response to the consultation in September 2021, Channel 4 is a success. Its purpose-driven programming is good for society and it’s good for culture, and crucially, to the IPA, our members and their advertiser clients, it’s good for business. We see no upside but significant downside to privatisation.”
Large restaurants must now show calorie count on menus
From today, restaurant goers will see calories displayed on menus when eating out, as the government plans to tackle obesity by encouraging healthier choices.
Under the new rules, food and drink businesses in England with 250 or more employees must now display calorie information on non-prepared food and soft drinks. It’s a practice the likes of Wetherspoons and McDonald’s have been already been carrying out, but consumers will now see it more widely.
Wahaca’s co-founder Mark Selby believes the focus on counting calories is a problem, the BBC reports.
“It tells part of the story, but I think it slightly misses out some quite important fundamentals around food – be it nutrition, fibre, all those things – which potentially we feel might be more relevant or certainly need to be considered,” he says.
The Department of Heath and Social Care says it was taking “decisive action” to help people live “longer lives”, as obesity is one of the “biggest” health issues in the country.
“Displaying calorie information on menus can help people consume fewer calories when eating out or getting a takeaway, as well as encouraging businesses to provide lower calorie options for their customers,” it states.
The new rules have provoked a backlash. Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, has suggested the move will worsen harmful eating disorder thoughts and behaviours.
The charity’s director of external affairs, Tom Quinn, says there was evidence calorie information causes anxiety and distress for people affected by eating disorders.
“It can increase a fixation on restricting calories for those with anorexia or bulimia, or increase feelings of guilt for those with binge eating disorder,” he told the BBC.
“There is also very limited evidence that the legislation will lead to changed eating habits among the general population.”
Aldi to donate 250,000 meals over Easter as cost of living crisis deepens
Almost all food banks (99%) have seen a surge in demand since the start of the year, according to research from Aldi and community giving platform Neighbourly.
The survey polled more than 700 food banks and community causes nationwide, and found a third of the people (33%) using the services in recent months are new to food banks.
The research highlights that food banks have seen an average rise in demand of around 31% so far this year and expect this to increase in the next three months as the cost of living crisis worsens.
Aldi will be supporting food banks, along with charities and community groups, throughout the UK by donating almost 250,000 meals to people in need during the Easter school holidays.
Given food banks estimate demand for help rises by around a third during school breaks, with 89% saying they have capacity to take more donations of food with the Easter school holidays approaching, Aldi is set to donate almost 105 tonnes of food to alleviate the struggle. Some 187,000 meals expected to be donated to causes focused on helping families and children.
Corporate responsibility director at Aldi UK, Liz Fox, explains how busy the school holidays are for organisations, but especially “in the current climate, it is likely these organisations will soon see greater demand than ever before”.
“We’re proud to support good causes across the country, helping them to provide meals to those in need all year round. Customers can also donate in store if they wish, with donation points located by the packing benches in all our stores,” she adds.
Boots adds to loyalty proposition by taking its advantage prices online
From today, Boots customers will be able to shop Boots Price Advantage offers online, after the retailer first launched the scheme in 150 stores in January.
Boots Advantage Card holders will be able to access lower prices on a range of products online, with “even more” products now being included in the scheme, promising to offer customers “more savings than ever before”.
The scheme now extends to more than 300 additional products across the retailer’s categories including beauty, health and baby.
Shoppers who take part in the scheme will see an average saving of £2.65 per product, with some products having up to 50% off and savings as big as £17.
Boots CMO Pete Markey says the move was born out of customer feedback, with many customers saying they wanted “immediate benefits” through the loyalty programme, “as well as being able to save up points and treat themselves in the future”.
“The response from the store launch has been really positive which is why we are now making it more accessible by rolling out online and adding in more products,” he adds.
The Boots Advantage Card remains one of the UK’s biggest loyalty programmes with new research from Mando-Connect and YouGov showing it to be third most appealing amongst customers after Tesco Clubcard and Nectar.
Tuesday, 5 April
Walkers to invest £35m in shifting entire portfolio away from HFSS
Walkers is aiming for 50% of its sales to come from healthier products by 2025, as it redevelops its entire snacks portfolio.
With an initial investment of £35m over the next three years, the company will reformulate or launch new products that do not classify as high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS), hoping to generate 30% of sales with these snacks. It is also aiming for an additional 20% of sales to come from snacks with 100 calories or less per packet.
Earlier this month, the company launched its first non-HFSS crisp range, Walkers 45% Less Salt, with plans for more reformulated snacks to feature on supermarket shelves in the near future. These include Doritos Dippers, Popworks and Walkers Baked – a brand containing 50% less fat than its regular crisps and already worth £64m in retail sales value (RSV) according to Nielsen.
Walkers will also launch a new healthier non-HFSS crisp range in the future. The brand will look to develop methods to reduce saturated fat and salt without changing the taste and flavour of products.
Parent company PepsiCo’s general manager of UK & Ireland, Jason Richards, says: “This is a significant milestone in our long-term commitment to provide smart, snacking choices, without compromising the taste. We’ve been making changes to our portfolio over many years, but now is the time for even bolder action.
“We have set ourselves the ambitious goal of a 50% sales target for non-HFSS or low calorie snacks. We’ve got a long way to go from where we are now, but we’re determined to make this happen.”
The move comes as part of PepsiCo’s strategic health and sustainability plan, PepsiCo Positive.
A proposed HFSS ‘ad ban’ by the government looks to limit the in-store and online promotion and advertisement of HFSS foods, including a ban from advertising before the 9pm watershed. The legislation has now been delayed until 2023, however.
Morrisons warns on the impact of inflation and the Ukraine war on profits
Morrisons has warned that its sales and core profits for the year could be negatively impacted by inflation and the war in Ukraine unless the situation improves. The retailer says consumer spending, and therefore its sales and core profits, have dropped since February.
“We are taking steps to mitigate the impact of these developments on our EBITDA (core earnings) for the remainder of the year,” the retailer said.
It added that “developments in the geopolitical environment” and “ongoing and increasing inflationary pressure” could see a “material adverse effect” on its sales and earnings.
Morrisons appears to be trailing its supermarket rivals. In the latest data from Kantar, the retailer’s sales fell 11.5% in the three months to 20 March, more than any other major chain. Aldi and Lidl have been the only grocers to see sales increase, as cash-strapped consumers seek cheaper groceries.
Morrisons generates less annual revenue than rivals Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda. However, it is the only major supermarket with its own abattoir and meat-processing operations.
In October, the supermarket chain was taken into private ownership when it was bought by US firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice for £7bn.
UK government to go ahead with privatisation of Channel 4
The government is to proceed with privatising public broadcaster Channel 4. Digital, culture, media and sport minister Nadine Dorries tweeted that she has “come to the conclusion that government ownership is holding Channel 4 back from competing against streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon”.
Channel 4 is publicly owned but privately funded, around 90% of its funding currently comes from ads. It reinvests its profits into new programming.
A public consultation on Channel 4’s privatisation was launched last year and saw over 60,000 responses. The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) were among those to express opposition to Channel 4’s privatisation.
ISBA, which represents brands advertising in the UK, said that Channel 4 provided access to “hard to reach audiences”, and that no new private owner “could be guaranteed to maintain all the facets of the current offering”.
Despite opposition to the sale from sectors including advertising professionals and independent production companies, the government has decided to proceed with the sale. It reportedly hopes to raise £1bn from the privatisation of the broadcaster. Dorries said this money will be reinvested into “levelling up the creative sector”.
Channel 4 says the news is “disappointing” and pointed out there will be “a lengthy legislative process and political debate” before it can be privatised. In July 2021, the broadcaster launched its ‘Altogether Different’ campaign aimed at reminding the public what it stood for and celebrating its “unique public service remit”.
World Federation of Advertisers issues guidelines to help brands avoid ‘greenwashing’
The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has issued guidelines to help brands make credible environmental claims and avoid “greenwashing”.
The ‘Global Guidance on Environmental Claims’ identifies six principles that marketers need to follow to ensure the environmental claims they make can be backed up by evidence. The guidance is to help brands avoid being accused of greenwashing by consumers or regulators.
In February, smoothie brand Innocent Drinks saw its ad banned by the UK regulator the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ASA found the ad was “misleading” consumers by implying Innocent’s products were good for the environment. The brand was accused of greenwashing by campaign groups.
The WFA’s guidance aims to help brands falling into a similar trap by only making environmental claims that are fully contextualised and can be backed up by evidence. The six principles include stipulations that environmental claims made by marketers must not be misleading or include omissions of important information.
The guidance was developed alongside the International Council for Advertising Self-Regulation (ICAS) and the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) with the support of environmental experts from the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA
The WFA says that 64% of its Planet Pledge signatories have ethical standards in place to ensure green claims are credible. Dairy company, Arla is a new member, and takes the number of companies involved to 27. The signatories of the Planet Pledge represent close to $50bn in cumulative global marketing spend.
Anouschka Elliott appointed as Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s global head of marketing
Goldman Sachs Asset Management has appointed Anouschka Elliott as its global head of marketing. Elliott joins from UBS Asset Management, where she also held the role of global head of marketing.
Elliott has developed her career over 25 years and is experienced in B2B financial marketing. She started her career at Citi, where she joined as a graduate trainee. She held the role of director, client strategy and management there, before joining The Ingenious Group. She also spent time at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), where she rose to global head of marketing and brand at the bank’s investor and treasury services.
In January 2020, Elliott joined UBS Asset Management, part of the UBS Group. In October 2021, she spoke about the process of transforming the role of the marketing team at the company. She said at B2B brands, there is a tendency to view marketing as a “sales service”, rather than a “business driver”.
She warned that this process of transformation was “not for the faint-hearted”.
Elliott also holds a role as part of the Effectiveness Leadership Group at the IPA. For two years, between January 2018 and January 2020 she was also vice-chair of The Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Elliott says she was “thrilled” to be joining the team at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, during what she calls an “exciting time” for the company.
Monday, 4 April
EasyJet blames Covid absences for cancellation of 100 flights
EasyJet has cancelled around 100 flights due to Covid-related staff absences, including 62 from the UK, causing disruption to Easter holidays.
The airline told the BBC it had attempted to offset the issues with standby crew, but was forced to make cancellations in advance. EasyJet described the cancellations as representing a “small part” of the 1,645 flights it planned to operate today.
“As a result of the current high rates of Covid infections across Europe, like all businesses, EasyJet is experiencing higher than usual levels of employee sickness,” says a spokesman.
Affected customers have been asked to rebook alternative flights, or alternatively will receive a voucher or refund.
As the Easter holidays kick off, both Manchester Airport and Heathrow have seen passengers hit by long queues at check-in and baggage claim, caused in part by staff shortages.
Manchester Airport blamed staff shortages and recruitment challenges, following the “most damaging two years in its history”. The airport told the BBC a combination of the lifting of Covid restrictions and the start of the summer travel season had caused a “rapid increase” in passengers, putting strain on its operations.
However, despite the delays and cancellations, other airlines are hoping to cash in on the surging demand for foreign travel. Jet2 said last week plans to “consolidate” its position as the UK’s leading airline and tour operator to Greece, announcing a “massive expansion” for the summer of an extra 500,000 seats, an 86% increase in capacity compared to summer 2019.
1.5 million still unable to use Trump’s Truth Social app
A waiting list of almost 1.5 million people are still unable to use Donald Trump’s Truth Social, as the social media app is beset by technical issues.
Truth Social was launched in February in response to the former US president’s lifetime ban from Twitter on 8 January 2021, following the attack on the US Capitol. The app is not yet available on Android or web, or to most people living outside the US.
In February, Truth Social chief executive Devin Nunes said the app would be “fully operational” by the end of March.
The BBC reports when it launched on 21 February Truth Social was one of App Store’s most downloaded apps, but following tech issues studies now suggest it is outside the top 100 most downloaded apps and downloads have dropped by up to 95%.
Despite having 750,000 followers on the platform, Trump has reportedly not posted on the site for well over a month, while prominent voices in the former President’s orbit appear to have stayed clear of the app.
There are also suggestions that the integration of video-sharing platform Rumble is causing technical issues. Pitched as an alternative to YouTube, Rumble has proved popular with conservatives and the far right.
Director of NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics, Joshua Tucker, branded the rollout of Truth Social “a disaster”, while Republican sources told the BBC they were confused about why the technical issues were taking so long to be resolved.
Lush promises to revamp stores amid return to profitability
Lush is planning to refit its UK stores, focusing on opening larger outlets with services such as spas and hairdressers, amid a return to profitability.
According to the Financial Times, the ethical beauty business recorded a pre-tax profit of £29m in its latest financial year, recovering from a loss of £45m the year prior. That said, turnover fell from £437.8m to £408.7m during the period.
Pre-Christmas Lush raised prices by 7%, with co-founder Mark Constantine pledging not to raise prices any further in the UK.
As of 30 June, Lush operated 919 stores across 48 countries. The brand has written off its business in Russia, which spanned 48 locations, while its shops in the Ukrainian cities of Lviv and Dnipro remain open. The Financial Times also reports Lush paid $180m in Canadian dollars to take over its North American partner, a move which will add 80% to the company’s revenues.
Forced to close under lockdown when rivals like Boots were classed as essential retail, Lush reportedly saw sales fall by 25% during the pandemic, leading the beauty business to cut employee levels by a similar amount. During 2020 and 2021, the company received £38.7m in furlough payments and further emergency support.
Maintaining its focus on charitable giving, Lush raised £6.3m for charity and donated £3.9m to good causes during its latest financial year.
M&S pledges ‘year-round style’ as fashion business continues to ‘reshape’
Marks & Spencer is pledging to “reshape” to offer “more relevant product” all year-round, in the first spring campaign under its ‘Anything but Ordinary’ brand platform.
Uniting men’s, women’s and childrenswear, the ‘Anything but Ordinary, Spring Style’ campaign is described as the “next exciting iteration” of the platform initially launched for the autumn/winter season and carried through to the Christmas campaign.
The new campaign, devised by creative agency ODD, will run across print ads, Instagram reels and a 30-second TV advert. The concept is described as a continuation of the “playful and energetic style” the agency has been creating for M&S Clothing and Home over the past few months, following a “strong customer response” to the Anything but Ordinary platform to date.
“We’re reshaping the future of M&S Clothing with relevant product for how our customers are living and working in 2022,” says M&S Clothing and Home marketing director Anna Braithwaite.
“This spring our new products are all about offering our customers the very best everyday style, quality and value for a season of socialising – whatever the weather – and all made with quality at the heart of their design – from fabric to fit. Our campaign aims to show this off with a confident, playful and fun campaign set to an incredibly iconic and feel-good track.”
Looking to position itself as the destination for shoppers all year round, M&S wants to demonstrate its product strength beyond the staples such as coats, knitwear and boots it is known for. The campaign is designed to show “versatile transitional products”, including denim and casual T-shirts, with the retailer seeing an opportunity to grow in “key categories” such as casual dresses.
M&S says it is responding to customer demand, with the company’s research suggesting 65% of customers are planning a holiday before August and 80% are planning to buy new clothes for the occasion.
According to M&S, customer searches for holidays are higher than pre-pandemic levels and swimwear has been the third most searched term on the website since January. Last month the retailer launched its holiday shop in-store, online and on the app, earlier than pre-Covid.
A further 40% of customers surveyed have a special occasion coming up, with 70% planning to buy a new outfit.
Tesco Mobile pitches itself as ‘super helpful’ answer to cost of living crisis
Tesco Mobile is pitching itself as “the super helpful network” during the cost of living crisis, with a campaign drawing ever closer to its supermarket masterbrand.
It is the latest iteration of the network’s ‘Supermarket Mobile’ creative platform, and the nationwide campaign spans TV, radio, print, outdoor, social and digital video. Describing the concept as leaning into the “helpfulness of Tesco”, the Tesco Mobile campaign shows the different ways the network aims to be on the customer’s side with three outdoor food-inspired creatives.
The TV ad, developed by creative agency BBH, is the first outing of the “helpful Tesco Mobile trolley”, on its mission to save a customer from an imminent price hike. The trolley tries to assist people along the way – from scaring away a fox rifling in a bin, to helping a boy who’s struggling to get up a hill on his bike – before finally saving a distressed customer from their mid-contract price increase.
The idea is to position Tesco Mobile as a “customer champion”, playing into the network’s “underdog spirit” as it seeks to right the industry’s wrongs.
“We know how hard it is this year with the rising cost of living, so it’s important now more than ever, to provide Tesco shoppers with an unrivalled mobile experience that they can’t get from other networks – like being truly helpful and offering exclusive rewards,” says Tesco Mobile CMO, Rachel Swift.