Ben & Jerry’s, Ocado, Ukraine: 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.

Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Source: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

Unilever resolves Ben & Jerry’s Israel lawsuit

Unilever says litigation with the independent board of Ben & Jerry’s over the sale of its ice cream brand in Israel has “been resolved”.

The FMCG giant sold its Ben & Jerry’s business in Israel and the West Bank to Avi Zinger, its local licensee, in June. However, the Vermont-based ice cream brand filed a lawsuit the following month trying to put the brakes on the sale as it said it didn’t want its products to be sold in occupied Palestinian territories as it was “inconsistent” with its values.

Ben & Jerry’s then filed an updated lawsuit in September to try and get its trademarks returned while seeking damages, as well as trying to prevent its brand being sold in the West Bank.

Avi Zinger said in a statement yesterday he is “pleased” the litigation between Unilever and the independent board of Ben & Jerry’s has “been resolved” and that there was “no change to the agreement” he made with Unilever earlier in the year.

“I look forward to continuing to produce and sell the great tasting Ben & Jerry’s ice cream under the Hebrew and Arabic trademarks throughout Israel and the West Bank long into the future,” he added.

READ MORE: Unilever settles Israel dispute with Ben & Jerry’s board

Ocado cuts 40 head office jobs in ‘efficiency’ drive

Ocado Retail has confirmed it completed a “small restructure” in November, which has resulted in the loss of 40 head office jobs.

The online retailer would not confirm whether any marketing roles were affected by the cuts, but told Marketing Week it was part of its “ongoing drive for efficiency and cost effectiveness”.

The brand says the cut backs will lead to a “more agile team and the right structure going forward”.

As part of the restructure, all head of buying roles have been removed, according to The Grocer.

In May, Ocado warned its sales would grow at less the half the rate it hoped as a result of inflation and people’s shopping behaviour starting to return to pre-pandemic times.

In its latest trading statement for Q3 it reported sales were up 2.7% compared to the same quarter in 2021, which is described as a “significant improvement” versus the decline it reported in Q2. It also said it expects stronger growth in Q4.

Ocado saw active customer numbers increase by 23% year on year to 946,000 over the same period, leading to a 10.7% rise in average orders per week.

However, with inflation and the fact consumers are shopping smaller baskets, the value of the average basket declined by 6% over the period.

Twitter suspends accounts of journalists reporting on Musk

Twitter has blocked the accounts of several high profile journalists from publications including The New York Times, CNN and the Washington Post, who have been reporting on new owner Elon Musk.

While a Twitter spokeswoman told The Verge the suspensions were related to live sharing of location data, which was banned on Wednesday, a number of those affected have said no explanation have said given.

Musk has not commented directly on the suspensions but he did post a tweet saying “criticising me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not”.

He also said users known to be sharing private information about individuals online would receive a temporary seven-day ban.

However, The New York Times says neither the paper nor its reporter Ryan Mac have been given any clarification on the move, which it described as “questionable and unfortunate”.

Meanwhile, CNN called the suspension of a number of its reporters’ accounts “impulsive and unjustified”, adding that the move was “concerning but not surprising”. The news outlet says it has asked Twitter for an explanation and would “re-evaluate” its relationship with the platform based on its response.

READ MORE: Twitter bans some journalists who cover Elon Musk 

Ukraine charity launches faux travel campaign to raise funds

Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s charity United24 has launched a tourism-style campaign for Ukraine to remind Brits of the continued need for aid and action in light of Russia’s attack on the nation.

It comes as research reveals 50% of people in the UK are no more alarmed about the war now than when it began nearly 300 days ago.

The campaign, ‘Come To Ukraine: There’s So Much to Do’, which has been created with agency Pablo, has also been launched to help raise funds for the charity. All the more important, it says, as we head into winter and after discovering one in three Brits are not planning to donate as they believe the UK government is doing enough.

The campaign features artwork by Ukrainian illustrator Antonio Firsik who continues to work from his home outside Kyiv. Inspired by vintage travel ads, at first glance the posters look to be inviting consumers to visit destinations such as Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol but close up they reveal the devastation war is causing.

Yaroslava Gres, United24 platform coordinator, say: “Ukraine was a popular tourist attraction, with millions from all over the world coming to the cities depicted in these posters to enjoy breath-taking landscapes, authentic architecture, and welcoming residents. The Russian invasion changed that.

“In Kharkiv, the invasion has destroyed over 11,397 sites, including private and residential buildings. Projects like this remind people that there is plenty to fight for here. We are infinitely grateful to everyone who supports us in this ordeal and right now we ask for help to rebuild our state. After we win, we will once again be that welcoming country everyone came to visit before.”

Food sales rise in November as people stock up early for Christmas

Food sales volumes increased by 0.9% in November, according to official figures, with anecdotal evidence from retailers suggesting customers have been stocking up early for Christmas to try and spread the cost.

However, while food sales were up in November, non-food sales volumes dropped by 0.6%, with Black Friday sales failing to give retailers a boost.

Overall, retail sales volumes are estimated to have fallen by 0.4% in November, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This follows a rise of 0.9% the previous month, which is thought to be attributable to the additional bank holiday in September for the Queen’s funeral.

Non-store retailing, which predominantly takes into account online retailers, saw sales volumes drop by 2.8% in November. This decline began in early 2021 when the economy started opening up following several pandemic-induced lockdowns. This figure is still 18.2% higher than pre-Covid levels in February 2020.

Thursday, 15 December


Tesco joins with retailers and suppliers to demand ‘meaningful’ government action against childhood obesity

Just a week after the government delayed its HFSS ad bans until after the next general election, Tesco is urging it to take “meaningful” action to help cut childhood obesity.

As reported in the Grocer, the supermarket alongside joint signatories, is calling for action to limit exposure to HFFS products and their marketing for young children.

A joint statement from the Bite Back 2030 Food Systems Accelerator, which includes brands such as Costa Coffee, KFC and Innocent, as well as the supermarket, is calling for the action.

Bite Back 2030 called the backtrack against HFSS ad bans a “bitter blow” for young people. “To truly transform the food system into one that is healthier for everyone, we know our industry needs to go further,” it said in a statement.

READ MORE: Tesco leads call for government action on obesity after junk food ads backtrack

Thinkbox launches new TV campaign

Thinkbox, the television marketing body, has launched a new advertising campaign that highlights the role of TV advertising for businesses.

The nursery rhyme themed ad, ‘Happily Ever After’ tells the story of a lawyer who struggles to build up his nursey rhyme-related business. Thinkbox emphasises the impact of the lawyer investing back into his business has on helping it to grow.

Scenes in the ad, created with Mother London, include Incy Wincy spider being evicted and Mrs Dumpty suing for ‘gross eggligence’. From 26 December, the ad will be played across a range of broadcast and on-demand channels such as Channel 4, ITV, Sky and UKTV.

“With businesses operating in increasingly tough conditions, it’s a good time to remind them that nothing works harder than TV advertising. But we also want to do that in an engaging, entertaining way – to be a welcome guest in living rooms across the country,” says Thinbox’s marketing director Andrew MacGillivray.

He adds that he hopes the ad will showcase why it’s important and pays off to invest in “creativity and craft”.

Meta faces lawsuit after being accused of enabling hateful posts

A new lawsuit alleges Meta has enabled violent and hateful posts from Ethiopia to remain on the Facebook. The lawsuit, filed by a Kenyan rights group and two Ethiopian researchers, claims the tech giant’s lack of action has contributed to Ethiopia’s civil war.

They argue Facebook amplified violent posts in Ethiopia with its recommendations system. Abrham Mearag, the father of one of the researchers leading the lawsuit, was murdered after he was attacked on the platform. The lawsuit claims that despite reporting the posts to Facebook, the platform didn’t remove them promptly, or at all.

“We invest heavily in teams and technology to help us find and remove this content,” a Meta spokesperson told Sky News. “We employ staff with local knowledge and expertise and continue to develop our capabilities to catch violating content in the most widely spoken languages in Ethiopia.”

Meta is being asked to take action against violent content and to increase its moderation staff in Nairobi, and to give $2bn (£1.6bn) to victim’s of Facebook incited violence.

READ MORE: Meta accused of enabling hateful Ethiopia conflict posts in lawsuit

Hospitality sales rose in November, but inflation impacts growth

In November, hospitality sales rose 3.7% from the same month in 2021, according to new data from CGA by NeilsenIQ.

Pub sales were up 8.1% year on year, a figure credited to the beginning of the FIFA World Cup. For the managed restaurant sector, like-for-like sales fell 0.8% as customers leant towards pubs instead, and felt the impact of inflation on their spending. For their bars, sales were down 8.6%.

The tracker also highlights London’s hospitality sector as one that’s bouncing back from Covid-19, with November sales within the M25 growing 6.2% year-on-year in November, twice the rate of 3% outside the area.

“It was a positive November for pubs screening World Cup matches, and another strong month for London as workers and visitors continue to return to the capital, especially ahead of the festive season,” says CGA’s hospitality operators and food director for EMEA Karl Chessell.

He adds that it will be a challenging December for managed groups with a combination of inflation, consumer spending and rail strikes having an impact.

Poor internal communication is on the rise, according to senior marketers

New research from the Data and Marketing Association (DMA) claims poor internal communication is rising at an alarming rate across the industry. In a recent survey of more than 300 senior UK marketers, 33% lament the impact of poor internal communication. The percentage of marketers struggling with this challenge has risen by 7% from 2021.

However, the most significant challenge for senior marketers is their limited budgets, with 47% stating it as their biggest challenge. This has dropped by 8% from last year, with a lack of data rising as a challenge with 46% of marketers stating it.

The survey also highlights the number of marketers suffering when it comes to a lack of training. The number of marketers in receipt of industry-specific training has declined by 10% to 58% in the last year, according to the DMA.

“With the upcoming changes to UK GDPR, we’re entering a new phase of data privacy regulation, likely requiring additional learning and training simply to keep up-to-date. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly integral for marketers to be well-versed in best practice of data acquisition, storage, and usage,” says the DMA’s director of insight, Ian Gibbs.

Wednesday, 14 December


Twitter to lose over 30 million users by end of 2024

Some 32 million Twitter users are predicted to leave the platform in the next two years, according to forecasts from market research agency Insider Intelligence.

Following Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media giant, Insider Intelligence is forecasting a 4% drop in Twitter’s global monthly users next year, and a 5% drop in 2024. Losses are particularly expected to mount among the under-25s and over-45s, who are less loyal to the platform.

In the UK, monthly users are expected to fall to 12.6 million, a 1.6 million loss. In the US, Twitter’s biggest market, monthly users are expected to fall to 50.5 million, its lowest level since 2014 and an 8.2 million loss.

Speaking to the Guardian, principle analyst at Insider Intelligence Jasmine Enberg said the exodus will begin slowly next year. User frustrations are likely to mount over technical problems and a rising level of hateful or unsavoury content, which Twitter’s considerably reduced staff headcount will struggle to keep up with.

The firm has also revised its forecasts for Twitter’s ad revenue over the next two years, now expecting growth to be “essentially flat” as advertisers become increasingly concerned about the platform’s safety.

On Monday, Twitter dissolved its Trust and Safety Council moments before the advisory group of almost 100 independent civil and human rights organisations were scheduled to meet the brand.

READ MORE: Twitter ‘to lose 32m users in two years after Elon Musk takeover’

UK government preps launch of household energy saving campaign

The UK government is launching a public information campaign this weekend advising households on how to reduce their energy bills, the Guardian reports.

A dedicated website is set to launch on Saturday, with a 30-second TV ad to follow after Christmas. The campaign will also run across radio, print media, social, and outdoors with the strapline “It all adds up”.

According to the Guardian, an email to energy suppliers from government officials said: “The campaign will offer practical tips and advice to demonstrate how consumers can make significant savings on their bills with simple actions that all add up, while giving vulnerable groups the right information for doing this without harming their health.”

Advice will include draught proofing windows and doors, turning boiler flow temperatures down to 60C, and reducing the temperature of radiators in rooms which aren’t being used.

The government has hesitated to launch an energy saving campaign this year, despite other European governments doing so. However, last month new prime minister Rishi Sunak agreed to an £18m campaign, alongside a £1bn energy efficiency plan.

READ MORE: UK campaign advising households to cut energy use launches this weekend

BBC lacks funds to compete with streaming giants, watchdog warns

BBC Three

The BBC must develop a “realistic” and “more detailed” investment plan to support its digital-first ambitions, the National Audit Office (NAO) says, as funding cuts leave the broadcaster’s development lagging considerably behind the online streaming giants.

According to the public spending watchdog’s investigation, the BBC’s spend on digital product development has fallen from £109m in 2018-19 to £98m in 2021-22. In comparison, Netflix spent £1.7bn on technology and development in 2021.

The BBC’s digital products have therefore developed “at a slower pace”, are “less technologically sophisticated”, and have missed opportunities to “take advantage” of technological innovations, the NAO warns.

Even with a lack of funding compared to other media organisations, the BBC’s digital products – including iPlayer – are “performing well” and hit all of their targets in 2021-22, the watchdog found. However, with its goal to get into the top three digital streaming services on UK market share in the next five years, the NAO believes the broadcaster’s digital development capabilities must improve.

The NAO is therefore calling for changes among the BBC’s digital leadership. Despite announcing an approximately £50m additional investment annually on digital product development by 2025, the broadcaster’s plan “lacks detail” and requires “better understanding” of where investment will have the greatest impact.

The BBC also faces challenges in the recruitment and retention of specialist digital talent, with turnover in the product group at 23% in June this year. The high number of vacancies is “slowing” technical development, the NAO says, but hiring is held back by lower pay levels than some other potential employers.

“The BBC faces a number of challenges in developing its digital offering, and its products are performing well compared to other, better-funded, media organisations,” says head of the NAO, Gareth Davies.

“Stronger digital leadership structures in particular will enable the BBC to make the improvements it needs to its approach, if it is to maintain this success in a fast moving, global media market.”

The BBC announced its digital-first approach in May 2022, promising to focus resources on content that appeals to digital audiences. However, the broadcaster must maintain traditional broadcasting as part of its universal service commitments.

UK price inflation eases to 10.7%

Price rises slowed in November as the UK inflation rate dropped to 10.7%, down from 11.1% in October. However, the cost of living remains at a near 40-year high.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the slowdown was primarily driven by falling fuel prices, which reached record highs earlier this year.

However, rising prices in restaurants, cafes and pubs offset some of the relief and made the largest contribution towards driving inflation up.

Last week, Kantar revealed grocery price inflation had fallen for the first time in 21 months. Four week inflation now stands at 14.6%, a 0.1% dip. However, the 14.7% inflation seen over the previous four weeks was the highest since Kantar began tracking prices in 2008.

Revolution Beauty rolls out £5 or less budget range

Following a successful trial, Revolution Beauty is rolling out a new budget collection to over 200 Superdrug stores.

Every product in the Relove collection is priced £5 and under, including foundation, setting power, lip glosses and eyeliners. A full face of makeup can be achieved for less than £15, the business claims.

According to head of sales Sarah Ryan, the range aims to help people access premium quality products at an accessible price point, even as the cost of living crisis bites.

“We firmly believe that people shouldn’t be priced out of high-quality beauty products, especially during the cost of living crisis,” she says.

“We’re thrilled that we’re now bringing these affordable, vegan and cruelty-free products to even more beauty fans across the UK.”

The roll out will be supported by a TikTok-led marketing campaign, in which beauty creators will create their own full face of makeup for under £15.

Last month fast fashion giant Boohoo raised its stake in Revolution Beauty to around 26%, becoming the business’s largest shareholder. The makeup company’s shares were suspended from the London Stock Exchange in September after accounting issues prevented it from releasing its final results for the year ended 28 February. The business also warned of lower profits for the year.

Tuesday, 13 December

Source: Shutterstock

Twitter disbands Trust and Safety Council

Twitter dissolved its Trust and Safety Council moments before the advisory group of almost 100 independent civil and human rights organisations were scheduled to meet the brand on Monday night.

According to the Guardian, the council were informed by email the group would be disbanded shortly before the meeting was scheduled to take pace. The Trust and Safety Council was founded in 2016 to independently address hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, self-harm and other issues on the social media platform.

The email dissolving the council was shared with the Guardian by members who asked for anonymity, amid fears they could be exposed online. The message read: “Our work to make Twitter a safe, informative place will be moving faster and more aggressively than ever before and we will continue to welcome your ideas going forward about how to achieve this goal.”

Elsewhere, CNN reported Twitter’s former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth, who resigned in November, has been forced to flee his home and go into hiding following a series of threats.

The campaign against Roth ramped up after internal communications – dubbed ‘Twitter Files’ – were disseminated online showing discussions about whether to ban Donald Trump’s account following the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.

Twitter boss Elon Musk then appeared to endorse a tweet making baseless accusations Roth is sympathetic to paedophilia. A source told CNN the threats “escalated exponentially” after Musk engaged with the conspiracy theory.

In November, Roth described Musk as acting with a “lack of legitimacy through his impulsive changes” to the platform. In a New York Times opinion piece, he explained he resigned because a “Twitter whose policies are defined by edict has little need for a trust and safety function dedicated to its principled development.”

READ MORE: Twitter abruptly dissolves safety council moments before meeting

Most marketers expect budgets to grow in 2023

Most marketers (53%) expect their budgets will increase over the next year, while more than half (59%) enjoyed a rise in spending during the past 12 months.

According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s CMO 75 report, marketers predict budgets will rise by a median of 11%-20% in 2023, slightly lower than the 21%-30% achieved in 2022. The key reasons given for this change are the cost of living crisis (29%), the challenge of attracting and retaining customers (25%) and changing consumer behaviour (11%).

Interestingly, just 18% of marketers had their budgets cut in 2022.

The poll of senior marketers across 75 UK and global brands recorded a two point rise in confidence for the industry in 2023, despite confidence in the prospects for the UK economy falling 16 points against last year’s index. The rise was five points for those working at international brands, as hopes of domestic growth lagged behind global expectations.

The proportion of marketers who believe the industry is stronger than pre-pandemic remains steady at 53%, compared to 52% last year. Just 27% of marketers think the sector is weaker than it was pre-pandemic, versus 20% in 2021.

However, 73% of marketers are concerned about skills shortages, followed by recruitment (72%) and staff retention (61%). The data suggests CMOs are “investing in themselves” by seeking training in data analysis, digital marketing and management skills.

The CIM draws a link between the importance placed on data analysis and the challenge of ensuring effective governance of social and digital marketing. Two thirds (64%) of marketers felt there was too little regulation of social media, while more than half (56%) felt it was their responsibility to protect their clients and customers on social platforms. This was slightly more pronounced amongst brand marketers (57%) than their agency peers (54%).

Believing 2023 will “test the resilience” of the industry, CIM chief executive Chris Daly notes most marketers see a “silver lining in the storm clouds.” According to Daly, in the current economic environment, brands can benefit from those trading down from premium offerings or seeking out affordable luxuries.

“Attracting and retaining these new customers will be key, as will negotiating sufficient resources from the wider business to unlock much needed growth,” he explains.

Daly says 2022 has “raised unanswered questions about marketing’s role in the world”, including issues regarding representation, regulation and ethical sponsorships, as seen with the World Cup in Qatar.

“As we move deeper into the decade, professional marketers are no longer accepting data and assurances at face value, but rather training themselves to establish a higher degree of professional judgment on business-critical decisions which can unlock growth,” he adds.

Netflix poaches Ikea marketing boss

NetflixNetflix has poached Ikea head of global marketing/CMO of Ikea Retail, James Foster, for the role of vice-president of EMEA marketing.

Foster will lead the team from Amsterdam, Adweek reports, departing his position at the Swedish retail giant which he joined in March this year.

Foster kicked off his marketing career as an account executive at agency Arc Worldwide in 1999, before joining Sony as a marketing manager two years later. Following roles as a product manager at Universal and marketing and development director at the Mezzo Group, Foster kicked off a 13-year career at Adidas.

He left his position as global vice-president of the German sportswear brand’s running division in 2021, assuming the role of vice-president of Reebok Europe for eight months prior to joining Ikea.

Foster joins Netflix a month after the streaming service launched its ad-supported tier. The ad-supported plan costs UK subscribers £4.99 per month and shows an average of four to five minutes of ads per hour. The team have promised “tight” frequency caps to prevent members seeing the same ad repeatedly, claiming ahead of launch to already have “hundreds” of advertisers worldwide on board.

Advertisers can target viewers by country and genre, the intention being to tap into data provided by users at the sign-up stage, such as date of birth and gender.

The Basic with Adverts plan is £2 cheaper than Netflix’s existing Basic plan without ads and £6 cheaper than its Standard plan.

READ MORE: Netflix appoints Ikea’s James Foster as new EMEA marketing leader

Lidl sales surge 12.9% as supermarket spend rises

Lidl storeSales at Lidl rose 12.9% over the past 12 weeks, as discounters gained momentum amid a wider rise in supermarket spending.

According to NielsenIQ data, Aldi also notched up at 12.4% increase in sales, while the Co-op saw sales rise 8.8% over the 12-week period as consumers chose to shop locally. Sales rose 7.6% at Iceland as shoppers opted for frozen food to help mitigate the growing cost of energy, travel and food prices.

Total till sales grew 7.6% over the four weeks ending 3 December 2022, up from 5.3% recorded last month, NielsenIQ reports. The rate of acceleration is largely being attributed to double-digit food inflation.

Over the past month, consumers have focused on core grocery essentials and are being mindful of discretionary Christmas spend, leading to a lift in value growth for categories such as dairy (up 13.9%), pet food (up 12.5%), frozen food (up 11.9%), soft drinks (up 10%) and packaged grocery (up 9.2%).

World Cup viewership pushed up volume sales for crisps and snacks by 3.6%, the second highest performing category in terms of value sales (12.7%). By contrast, beer, wines and spirits saw both value and volume declines, down 1.5% and 3.6% respectively. That said, the World Cup has helped drive beer sales, which are up 3.1% versus a year ago.

Online sales fell 1.3% and the online share of FMCG spend remained at 11.3%, down from 12.3% this time last year, according to NielsenIQ. In contrast, bricks-and-mortar sales rose 9.3%, with visits to stores up 7.4%. According to the analysis, 77% of consumers intend to do their Christmas grocery shopping in an physical store.

A recent Christmas survey from NielsenIQ found consumers are choosing their festive shop according to low prices (55%), quality (50%) and good stock availability (49%). Some 43% of shoppers also say promotions are important. The data shows retailers are reducing prices across categories including fresh produce, while some are re-introducing short-term vouchering on top of pre-planned World Cup promotions.

Given the scale of food inflation, shoppers are likely to spend less this Christmas, although they have developed “new coping strategies” to meet the increased costs, explains NielsenIQ UK head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins. These strategies include wasting less food, shopping little and more often, as well as taking advantage of savings offered via retailer loyalty schemes.

“By trading down, for instance to private label, lower priced items or buying different pack sizes, a third of the increased price of the typical shopping basket for the savvy shopper can be saved,” says Watkins.

“With the weather turning colder and seasonal spend increasing every week, if the current momentum is maintained, the sales at the grocery multiples will be the highest yet – around £12.6bn in the next four weeks, with the spend during Christmas week ending 24 December topping £4bn for the first time.”

That said, supermarket volume sales are expected to fall 4% this Christmas, with discounters predicted to exceed 19% market share for the first time.

Women’s Super League on hunt for ‘£100m’ funding as growth of game soars

The Women’s Super League (WSL) is poised to start working with bankers to sound out investor interest in the league’s commercial rights, as engagement with women’s football soars.

According to Sky News, the WSL board is close to re-engaging bankers at Rothschild to raise up to £100m to “fund the development of the competition”, as well as the broader game.

Back in 2020 private equity firm Bridgepoint reportedly approached the FA about investing in the WSL, while talks have already taken place about the Premier League assuming ownership of the league.

The move towards private equity funding is at odds with comments made in July by FA director of women’s football, Baroness Sue Campbell. In the summer, Campbell told the Guardian the FA planned to move ownership of the WSL and Championship “into its own company in January” – existing as an FA subsidiary – after rebuffing approaches from private equity groups looking to buy into the league.

Commercial interest in women’s football has accelerated in recent years. In March 2021, the WSL signed a £8m-a-season, three-year deal with BBC Sport and Sky Sports, the biggest broadcast agreement for any professional women’s football league worldwide. Then in December 2021, Barclays renewed its title sponsorship of the WSL in a record deal thought to be worth double the previous price tag of £6m across three years.

The Lionesses’ Euros triumph has inspired a host of new fans to follow the women’s game. A record breaking 17.4 million people watched England defeat Germany live on the BBC, with a further 5.9 million streams of the game via BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app.

Since then, data from the Women’s Sport Trust shows more than a quarter (27%) of the 15.8 million new viewers of women’s sport in 2022 have gone on to watch more female sporting content inspired by the Lionesses’ triumph. Some 46% of new viewers to women’s sport in 2022 have specifically gone on to watch women’s football.

READ MORE: Women’s Super League chiefs to kick off fresh talks about external funding

Monday, 12 December


Twitter relaunches subscription service

Twitter is relaunching its subscription service, Twitter Blue today, and will charge Apple users a higher price.

In a tweet posted over the weekend, the social media company said it would be charging web users $8 (£6.54) per month, and iOS (Apple’s operating system) users $11 (£9) a month to subscribe to the service.

Twitter has not explained why it is charging Apple users more than web users, but there are reports the company has been looking for ways to offset extra fees charged in the App Store.

Twitter Blue includes a paid-for verification feature and gives users the ability to edit their tweets. Subscribers also see 50% fewer ads than non-verified users and their tweets are given priority in other users’ timeline to give them more prominence.

When Twitter Blue was launched under new owner Elon Musk last month, it had to be suspended, after many accounts were impersonating others. Users used the new paid-for blue tick to lend legitimacy to their claim they were a big brand or celebrity.

One incident saw a user impersonating US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly tweet “insulin is now free”, which caused the real business’s share price to drop.

Twitter’s director of product management Esther Crawford says this time around, the company has added a review step before users can buy blue-tick status to prevent impersonation.

READ MORE: Twitter’s paid blue tick re-launches after pause

Monsoon plans to open 22 stores next year

Retailer Monsoon, which collapsed into administration during the pandemic in 2020, plans to open 22 stores in its current financial year, after a “surprising” retail recovery post-Covid.

The retail brand currently has 154 UK stores, which are split between Monsoon and its sister brand Accessorize. While this figure is down from the 230 stores it had at the time it went into administration, the retailer plans to open another 22 stores in the coming year.

After going into administration, the brand was bought back by Peter Simon, who founded Monsoon in 1970.

CEO Nick Stowe told The Financial Times the company was “surprised” by its retail outlets’ rebound post-pandemic.

“Retail is doing great at the moment,” he claimed, adding: “We could probably get up to 200 stores in the UK if we wanted to.”

The group also has over 200 stores in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Across the entire group, ecommerce purchases make up 45% of total sales, up from 20% pre-pandemic. Stowe predicted ecommerce sales would remain at this level “not because of a lack of growth in digital but because of more stores”.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt recently changed business rate rules, something which Stowe welcomed, stating it could make opening additional stores “more attractive”.

The business has been focusing its openings in affluent cities and towns, and in what Stowe refers to as the “London villages”, such as Hampstead.

When asked by the FT about concerns around the cost of living crisis, he said the business was watching the situation but pointed out the impact was not equally felt.

“The cost of living crisis is very real for some people but it’s not the same crisis for everyone,” he said.

READ MORE: Monsoon to open more stores as it defies retail gloom

Rapid delivery service Getir acquires rival Gorillas

Turkish rapid delivery service Getir has acquired German rival Gorillas in a deal worth $1.2bn (£979m).

The deal will see the two companies merge to form a business reportedly valued at $10bn (£8.2bn). Earlier this year, Getir completed a funding round, which had valued the company at around $12bn (£9.8bn).

The deal price for Gorillas was significantly below the $2.1bn (£1.7bn) valuation it received in a 2021 funding round. It had tripled sales in 2021 but struggled to raise capital in 2022. The brand has already closed all its stores in Belgium, Italy, Spain and England (with the exception of London).

Job losses are expected following the merger of the two companies as there is significant overlap between the infrastructure of the two delivery brands.

The combined business will be competing with the likes of GoPuff in Europe, as well as larger delivery services such as Deliveroo, which also offer rapid grocery delivery.

Getir is reportedly hoping to raise more funding early next year. The business’s acquisition of Gorillas is reportedly motivated by it wanting to get hold of the company’s “dark stores”, which are centres for fulfilment operations in cities. Authorities in places like Paris and Amsterdam are reluctant to grant permission for more of these sites to open.

READ MORE: Getir buys fast grocery rival Gorillas in $1.2 bln deal

Tesco to begin search for new chairman

Tesco will begin its hunt for its new chairman in early 2023, as incumbent John Allan retires from the post.

Allan took on the role in March 2015. Under UK corporate governance rules he will be “timed out” by early 2024, as he would no longer be regarded as an independent chairman after being in the role for nine years.

According to Sky News, Tesco will begin the search for his successor in the first half of 2023, with Tesco board member Byron Grote leading the search. Grote will himself be “timed out” in just over a year.

Allan was previously chairman of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and is a former chairman of Dixons Stores Group (now known as Currys). He took over as chairman of Tesco in 2015, after an extremely difficult period for the retailer and has helped oversee it reviving its fortunes.

During his tenure, Allan has been outspoken on economic and political issues. He recently said Labour was the only political party with a “credible” economic plan.

READ MORE: Tesco to kick off search for successor to long-serving chairman Allan

Technology brand Nothing opens first retail store

Technology challenger brand Nothing has opened its first-ever retail store in Soho, London.

Nothing Store Soho opened on Saturday (10 December) and is a two-storey “boutique-style” store. The store will also host community events, workshops, public events and product launches.

This year the tech brand launched its first smartphone Phone (1), as well as earpods Ear (Stick). Nothing CEO and co-founder Carl Pei says the new store will allow the brand “get even more people hands-on with [its] products”.

The new retail store also stocks merchandise and limited edition runs of products. The brand will also hand-pick collections from fashion and design brands.

The store also features a transparent retro-style phone booth where Nothing’s Phone (1) functions as the official store helpline. The lower-ground floor will act as a gallery space for exhibitions and events hosted in the store.