Tesco, Pernod, retail sales: 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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Retail sales rebound as lockdown lifts

British retail sales grew by 13.9% in June, compared to May, according to the Office for National Statistics, almost returning to pre-lockdown levels as non-essential stores reopened.

Sales were down by just 1.6% compared to June 2019 and 0.6% compared to February, the last full month before the coronavirus lockdown. Excluding fuel, which has been hit by less commuting, sales were 2.4% up on February.

Non-food and fuel sales showed strong monthly growth – up 45.5% and 21.5% respectively – but have not returned to pre-Covid levels. Food sales, meanwhile, reached a new high with sales 5.3% higher than February.

The proportion of shopping done online dropped back slightly to 31.8% but that is much higher than the 20% seen in February. And ecommerce retailing was 53.6% higher than February.

Retail Economics CEO Richard Lim says,: “The retail sector bounced back as the reopening of shops released pent-up demand for some retailers. But the recovery is being felt unevenly across the sector with clothing retailers remaining under significant pressure.”

Across the second quarter, retail sales were down 9.5% compared with the first thee months of the year.

READ MORE: UK retail sales jump by nearly 14% in June – ONS

Tesco to offer NHS workers complimentary tickets to drive-in cinemas

Tesco is partnering with drive-in cinema company Adventure Drive-In to offer NHS workers complimentary tickets.

The deal will see 12 front row spaces at every film screening until 27 September offered to NHS workers for free on a first-come first-served basis. Tesco employees who have been working in-store throughout the crisis will also be offered free tickets, as well as some Tesco Clubcard holders.

Adventure Drive-In screenings are taking place across the UK, showing films such as Pulp Fiction, The Lion King and Joker.

Adventure Drive-In co-director Mark Thompson says: “We are thrilled to be working with Tesco to show our gratitude to NHS workers in this difficult time. We’re incredibly grateful for their hard work and dedication and are looking forward to creating a memorable experience for all those who attend. We have some fantastic movies to show and we cannot wait!”

Face masks become mandatory in UK shops

Face coverings become mandatory across a range of locations in England from today in in the latest step to fight the spread of Covid-19.

New government guidelines say face coverings such as cloth masks or bandanas must be worn in shops, banks, post office, indoor shopping centres and stations, as well as when buying food and drink to takeaway. However, if sitting down and consuming purchases on the same premises, a cusomter can remove their face covering.

It will not be compulsory for shop staff to wear face coverings, although the government “strongly recommends” their use “where appropriate”. Staff will also not be expected to make customers adhere to the rules, although many say they will encourage it.

Shops can also refuse entry to anyone without an exemption who refuses to cover their face and call the police if they refuse to put one on. The police have new powers to issue £100 fines to those refusing to comply with the law.

It is not compulsory to wear masks in hairdressers, gyms, dine-in restaurants and pubs, cinemas, theatres or concert halls. Businesses will also be able to ask people to remove their face covering for identification purposes, say in a bank.

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, says: “As we move into the next stage of easing restrictions for the public, it is vital we continue to shop safely so that we can make the most of our fantastic retail industry this summer.

“Everyone must play their part in fighting this virus by following this new guidance. I also want to thank the British public for all the sacrifices they are making to help keep this country safe.”

Pernod Ricard revises forecast up as pandemic causes less damage than expected

Pernod Ricard has revised its profit forecast for its financial year, which runs to the end of June, as the coronavirus pandemic has caused less damage than previously expected.

In March, the company which owns brands including Malibu and Jameson, said it expected operating profits would be down by around 20% year on year, with on-trade sales at nearly zero and off-trade falling by around 10%. Travel retail was also expected to take a big hit.

However, the company now says it expects operating profits to be down by just 15%.

The company says: “On balance, these assumptions have proven to be directionally correct, in particular as regards China and travel retail. There have however been some notable differences, mainly with India being subject to a full six-week lockdown of all sales and production, but more resilience in the off-trade, especially in the US and Western Europe.”

Twitter users up but revenues down as it considers launching a subscription service

Twitter reported strong growth in ‘monetisable’ daily active users in the second quarter, up 34% year on year to 186 million and by up 12% compared to the previous quarter.

However, revenues fell by 19% year on year to $562m as coronavirus lockdowns and Black Lives Matter protests hit income. Ad revenues were down 23% in the quarter, although this improved to a 15% fall in the last three weeks of June.

The volatility in ad revenues has caused Twitter to reconsider its revenue streams, with CEO Jack Dorsey confirming the company is considering introducing subscriptions.

“We have focused our attention on increasing revenue durability so that we have multiple lines of revenue to pull from. We want to make sure any new line of revenue is complementary to our advertising business. So we do think there is a world where subscription can be complimentary,” he says.

Dorsey also addressed the cyber attack last week in which a number of high-profile accounts were hacked in order to post a Bitcoin scam.

“We moved quickly to address what happened and have taken additional steps to improve resiliency against targeted social engineering attempts, implemented numerous safeguards to improve the security of our internal systems and are working with law enforcement,” he said.

Thursday, 24 July

The Co-opThe Co-op launches fund to support UK food charities

Supermarket retailer the Co-op has unveiled a multimillion-pound fund as part of a campaign highlighting the plight of 3 million children and 8 million adults living in poverty in the UK.

Created by Lucky Generals, the nationwide campaign includes television spots, print ads, digital content and in-store point of sale.

The retailer has pledged to donate 20p each time a customer buys a picnic product in a Co-op store, hoping to raise up to £2m for the National Emergency Trust.

Co-op’s customer director Alison Jones says: “It’s heartbreaking to think of people, especially children, going hungry in the UK and we are determined to do everything we can to support those who are most vulnerable in the communities we serve.

“Along with our customers and members, we have donated millions of pounds and provided emergency food support to enable five million meals to be shared, but much more is needed.

“The funds raised by Co-op’s 20p donation for every sausage roll, scotch egg and chicken wing we sell, will be managed through the National Emergencies Trust, making sure it gets directly to grassroots food charities, where it can do the most good, helping to create a sustainable solution to food insecurity.”

Procter & Gamble extends Olympics partnership

Procter & Gamble (P&G) is extending its partnership with the Olympic and Paralympic movements until 2028, when Los Angeles will host that year’s summer games.

As a global partner, P&G will continue to support the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, as well as the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, Paris 2024, the winter 2026 Milano-Cortina games and Los Angeles.

“As a top partner of the IOC for the past 10 years, we are extremely proud of the work we’ve done together,” says P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard.

“As we look forward to the next decade, we recognise the opportunity and the responsibility to use our sponsorship of the Olympic games for broader impact.

“In the spirit of the Olympic movement, we’re making a shared commitment through our partnership to create positive change in the world in the areas of equality and inclusion, environmental sustainability and community impact.”

IOC president Thomas Bach adds: “Procter & Gamble has been a true partner to the IOC and a powerful force in supporting the ideals of the Olympic Movement.

“As we mark one year to go until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we are delighted to announce that we will be ‘stronger together’ with P&G until 2028.

“Looking to the future, we have prioritised clear purpose-led initiatives that support the IOC’s vision of building a better world through sport.”

Nike announces leadership changes and job losses as part of direct-to-consumer shift

NikeHQNike is to make a number of senior leadership changes and unspecified job cuts as part of its Consumer Direct Acceleration (CDA) stragegy.

Launched last month, the CDA focuses on Nike’s ecommerce offer, primarily selling direct to consumers and relying less on physical stores.

The number of job cuts remains unknown, but a company statement reads: “Operational model changes to fully align against the CDA are expected to lead to a net loss of jobs across the company, resulting in pre-tax one-time employee termination costs of approximately $200m to $250m.”

The leadership changes include Amy Montagne, former head of its global categories, becoming vice-president of its men’s business and Whitney Malkiel, former head of its specialty businesses, as head of women’s.

“We are announcing changes today to transform Nike faster, accelerate against our biggest growth opportunities and extend our leadership position,” says the company’s president and CEO John Donahoe.

“Now is the right time to build on Nike’s strengths and elevate a group of experienced, talented leaders who can help drive the next phase of our growth.”

Unilever releases 2020 first-half year results

Unilever’s underlying sales were down by 0.1% with volume down 0.3% and a price growth of 0.2% in the first half of this year, with sales hit by the global coronavrius pandemic.

Turnover decreased 1.6%, but underlying profit increased 3.8% year on year on a constant currency basis and underlying earnings per share was up 6.4%.

CEO Alan Jope says: “Performance during the first half has shown the true strength of Unilever.

“We have demonstrated the resilience of the business – in our portfolio, in a continued step-up in operational excellence, and in our financial position – and we have unlocked new levels of agility in responding to unprecedented fluctuations in demand.

“From the start of the Covid-19 crisis, we have been guided by clear priorities in line with our multi-stakeholder business model to protect our people, safeguard supply, respond to new patterns of consumer demand, preserve cash, and support our communities.

“Our focus for the rest of 2020 will continue to be volume led competitive growth, absolute profit and cash delivery as this is the best way to maximise shareholder value.”

Consumers favoured clear-communicating brands during pandemic

Research carried out by IAB UK and YouGov reveals that 79% of people are more likely to buy from brands that have responded well to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The findings also include a countdown of the top 10 brands that consumers have felt most favourable towards during lockdown, with supermarkets dominating and Tesco claiming top spot.

The consumers questioned as part of the research said that they were more attuned to brands that offered clear and frequent communication and had safety measures in place.

Conversely, 80% said that they will be less likely to purchase products or services from companies that they feel have been insensitive or taken advantage of the situation.

Tesco was the leading brand that consumers felt most favourable towards during lockdown, followed by Asda and Morrisons. Amazon and Boots were the only non-supermarket brands to make the top 10.

“With so much uncertainty in our daily lives at the moment, it’s clear that consumers want more – not less – communication from brands,” says IAB UK’s head of research and measurement Elizabeth Lane.

“This crisis has highlighted stark differences in people’s feelings towards those that they feel have reacted well and those that they see as having behaved poorly.

“As demand flows back into the economy, this research indicates that it’s those brands that have kept consumers informed, reassured and continued to deliver a reliable service that stands to gain.”

Carlsberg releases limited edition Liverpool FC ‘Champions’ can

Liverpool CarlsbergCarlsberg has released a limited-edition can to celebrate the success of its long-term partner Liverpool FC, the newly-crowned Premier League champions.

The packaging sees Carlsberg switch its usual green for Liverpool’s red and features the Premier League club’s crest, player signatures and replaces the words ‘1847 onwards’ with ‘Champions, 2020 onwards’.

The 200,000 limited-edition cans are available via a new online web shop ‘Pour To Door’ selling directly to fans.

Carlsberg UK’s VP marketing Liam Newton says: “It has already been an incredible season for the club, and we wanted to play our part in making the Premier League trophy lift even better for the fans.

“The reaction to the limited-edition can has been phenomenal and we’re delighted to make it available to Liverpool FC fans here in the UK.”

Wednesday 22 July 

Apple

Apple pledges to become carbon neutral by 2030

Apple has pledged to become a carbon neutral operation by 2030, with a commitment that covers its entire supply chain and the life cycle of all its products, including the electricity consumed in their use.

The company is aiming to achieve the goal through a number of means, including low-carbon product design, using recycled materials where possible and developing new techniques such as a carbon-free aluminium smelting process.

Chief executive Tim Cook says: “The innovations powering our environmental journey are not only good for the planet – they’ve helped us make our products more energy efficient and bring new sources of clean energy online around the world.”

The majority of the progress will be made by cutting its carbon emissions directly. But the last 25% will come from “carbon removal solutions” such as forest planting and mangrove swamp restoration.

Cook adds: “Climate action can be the foundation for a new era of innovative potential, job creation, and durable economic growth. With our commitment to carbon neutrality, we hope to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change.”

The company is investing some of a recently announced £78.5m fund for a racial equity and justice initiative on minority-owned businesses that can help clean up its supply chain.

“Systemic racism and climate change are not separate issues, and they will not abide separate solutions,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s environmental lead.

McDonald’s to reopen 700 dine-in resturants

McDonald’s is to reopen around 700 dine-in restaurants across the UK following their closure during lockdown.

Food will be table service only with customers able to order directly via the MyMcDonald’s app, at the till or kiosk. Diners will also need to leave their contact details – using their phone to scan a QR code or visit a dedicated webpage – in line with government guidance.

The fast food chain says its restaurants will also be taking part in the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme recently announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak when it starts next month.

The scheme, which aims to encourage families to eat out, offers 50% off dine-in bills up to a maximum of £10 per head on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August.

McDonald’s is also among the brands offering price reductions on menu items after Sunak announced VAT would be reduced from 20% to 5% for the hospitality and tourism sector from 15 July until 12 January 2021.

The reopenings, which follow a successful trial at four restaurant sites, come seven weeks after McDonald’s reopened its McDelivery and Drive Thru services, attracting big traffic queues in some areas. Most outlets are now open for takeaways. The chain will not be reopening dine-in restaurants in Wales, however, where eating-in remains restricted.

Inside the restaurants, floor markings and signposting will help customers and staff remain a safe distance from each other, while touchpoints including self-order screens, card readers and doors will be sanitised at least every 30 minutes.

READ MORE: McDonald’s to reopen around 700 UK restaurants for dine-in this week

RBS completes rebrand to Natwest Group

RBS Group has formally changed its name to Natwest Group.

The banking group remains headquartered in Edinburgh, and the name change will not affect Royal Bank of Scotland bank branches. However, the removal of Scotland from the name of the bank’s parent company is a first since it was founded in Edinburgh in 1727.

Its chief executive, Alison Rose, called it an “historic day” for the bank adding that “although there will be no changes to our customer brands, it’s a symbolic moment for our colleagues and stakeholders”.

“The bank has changed fundamentally over the last decade and now is the right time to align our group name with the brand under which the majority of our business is delivered,” Rose says.

The banking group announced the intended change in February. The bank hopes the name change, and other measures including a focus on its environmental targets, will help it move on from past scandals, including its near-collapse in 2008 when it was rescued by a £45bn government bailout during the financial crisis.

READ MORE: Royal Bank of Scotland changes name to NatWest

Tesco cuts cleaners leaving staff furious

Tesco is getting rid of contract cleaners in nearly 2000 stores leaving many staff furious.

From the 24 August, staff working in 1,920 of Tesco’s smaller Metro and Express supermarkets will have to take on new tasks, such as cleaning floors and windows as well as the shelves and fridges. They will also have to start cleaning their own break rooms and toilets.

The move comes at a time when coronavirus has made high hygiene standards a top priority, however, Tesco says a trial already carried out by the company had resulted in better and more consistent standards of cleanliness.

The decision has left some employees furious, with one telling The Guardian doing all the cleaning would be a “psychological blow” for an already overstretched workforce. Another insider told The Guardian that staff felt “stabbed in the back” after working flat out to keep shelves full for shoppers during the lockdown.

Tesco staff are being promised training on how to perform their new tasks and the retailer will still use contract cleaners for specialist tasks such as cleaning external signage, pressure washing and removing graffiti.

A Tesco spokesperson says: “Currently we use third-party suppliers for cleaning. Following a successful trial, we have found that giving our stores more ownership and control over their cleaning results in better and more consistent standards. We will now roll this out to all our Express stores and convenience Metro stores.”

READ MORE: Tesco staff in nearly 2,000 stores to clean shops after contractors axed

Lloyds Pharmacy promotes online services in new campaign

Lloyds Pharmacy is promoting online services in the wake of Covid-19 as it unveils a new strapline – ‘Always here for you’.

The TV ad demonstrates how Lloyds Pharmacy’s expertise and products can be accessed in store and online as well as via a prescription app, Echo.

The healthcare brand remained open throughout the coronavirus lockdown but its website and Amazon Echo service have been used more by patients and customers moving to digital options due to shielding and self-isolation, as well as just convenience.

The Echo prescription app allows customers to order their medication online through the mobile app and have their medicines delivered to their home free of charge. Customers can manage up to six family members’ prescriptions in one place on the app.

Angela Wale, head of marketing for LloydsPharmacy, says: “Health is at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now so it felt like a perfect time to promote our brand and our new all-encompassing strapline. We want our audience to understand the many ways we’re here to help our customers and they will choose different channels at different times.”

The ad, created by The Allotment, is primarily aimed at those aged over 55 who may have a long-term health condition and have repeat medication on prescription.

Tuesday 21 July 

Hermes

Hermes to create 10,500 jobs amid £100m UK investment

Hermes is to create 10,500 UK jobs after experiencing a surge in demand for online shopping during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The German delivery company, which is investing £100m in the UK, will create 1,500 full-time roles across its delivery network and head office, as well as recruiting for 9,000 freelance couriers. The news comes the same day high street giant Marks & Spencer confirmed it was cutting 950 jobs in a bid to work “faster and more flexibly” and fashion brand Ted Baker said it would slash at least 500 roles.

Hermes, which has operated in the UK for 20 years, already has more than 15,000 self-employed couriers nationwide and so far this year has opened 90 new sub depots.

CEO Martijn de Lange describes the pandemic as fuelling the “phenomenal growth of online shopping”, which he sees no sign of changing.

“As a result, it is important that we have the right infrastructure and people in place to support this. This is good news for the many people who have sadly had their income affected and we are pleased to be able to support the UK economy with so many jobs at this time,” says de Lange.

The firm, which had already received thousands of applications from people made redundant since the start of lockdown, will not accept the government’s job retention bonus of £1,000 for every furloughed worker kept on past January. Hermes joins the likes of Primark, William Hill and John Lewis in refusing to accept the government bonus intended for struggling firms.

READ MORE: Delivery giant to hire 10,500 amid UK online shopping surge

Bauer closes Q Magazine after 34 years

Q Magazine will cease publication after 34 years following a portfolio review conducted by publisher Bauer.

The music mag suffered from declining sales, with circulation falling to 28,000 a month from a peak of 200,000 in 2001, although editor Ted Kessler also blamed the closure on the impact of Covid-19. The final printed and downloadable digital edition of Q will go on sale on 28 July.

Bauer is also closing its classic car magazine Modern Classics and has sold the magazines and digital properties for Sea Angler, Car Mechanics and Your Horse to Kelsey Media. The company is, however, retaining Your Horse Live, described as the UK’s biggest equestrian shopping event.

CEO of UK publishing, Chris Duncan, says he is pleased to have struck the deal with Kelsey Media to “extend the life of these magazines”, although Bauer had been unable to find equivalent new owners for Q and Modern Classics.

“These tough decisions were made to help us recover and rebuild through the Covid-19 crisis,” Duncan adds. “We will continue that process with our remaining portfolio of world class titles.”

READ MORE: Q Magazine to close after 34 years

RBS staff to work from home until 2021

RBSRBS Group has told its almost 50,000 UK staff not to return to the office until 2021, saying its “cautious approach” feels like the right strategy.

The banking group, which includes Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest, initially plotted a return to the office at the end of September, but now says the “vast majority” of its employees will work from home until next year. The decision comes days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged businesses to begin encouraging staff to return to the workplace.

A spokesperson for RBS says: “Like we’ve done throughout the pandemic the decision has been made carefully, including considering the latest guidance from the UK government on Friday and our own health and safety standards and procedures.

“It’s a cautious approach but we feel the right one to take currently.”

Not all RBS Group staff have been working from home, as the bank kept 95% of its branches open during lockdown, which were manned by 10,000 employees. A further 400 people whose jobs could not be done from home returned to offices and call centres last month. For those employees back in the office environment, RBS has banned hot desking and implemented strict social distancing measures.

READ MORE: RBS tells its staff to carry on working from home until next year

Innocent joins Facebook ad boycott

Innocent ShotsInnocent has thrown its support behind the #StopHateForProfit campaign by pausing paid advertising across Facebook platforms.

The drinks giant is joined by Unilever-owned tea and wellbeing brand Pukka Herbs and frozen ready meal company Cook, which are also pulling ad spend from Facebook and Instagram during July in protest against hate speech and racism on the social media platforms. Hundreds of major global advertisers have already joined the boycott, including the likes Unilever, Diageo, The North Face and Vans.

Between them Innocent, Pukka Herbs and Cook have a combined Facebook and Instagram following of more than 900,000. The brands estimate that by pausing ad spend across Facebook platforms they will have missed out on a combined reach of 11 million people by the end of July.

The brands are all B Corps, defined as companies independently certified to the “highest standards” of social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. Innocent, Pukka Herbs and Cook say they will now use this time to rally support for #StopHateForProfit among the B Corp community, which relies on Facebook and Instagram as an acquisition tool.

“We are proud to support the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. As a B Corp, we believe we have a responsibility to use our influence to drive positive change,” says Pukka Herbs’ creative and marketing director, Neil Fox.

“We are talking to other B Corps too to build our collective voice to inspire the necessary change we hope will come. And we hope other businesses outside of the B Corp community are inspired to put purpose before profit and join this campaign.”

Ebay poised to sell classified ads business for $9bn

Ebay is set to sell its classified ads business, including Gumtree and Kijiji, for $9bn (£7.1bn). City AM reports that Norwegian group Adevinta is poised to buy the business, although Ebay will retain a minority stake.

The unit, which offers online ads to more than 1,000 cities around the world, generated $248m in revenue during the first quarter of 2020. It is expected to benefit from increasing demand for online shopping in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ebay reportedly came under pressure to sell the classified ads business from activist investors Elliott Management and Starboard Value, which also pushed the company to sell ticketing site Stubhub to Viagogo for more than $4bn (£3.2bn) in November 2019.

READ MORE: Ebay to sell classified ads unit to Adevinta for nearly $9bn

Monday 20 July 

M&S store

M&S to cut hundreds of jobs

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is planning to cut hundreds of jobs as it looks to restructure its workforce after coronavirus.

According to Sky News, the retailer will serve notice this week of imminent plans for hundreds of redundancies. It joins the likes of the John Lewis Partnership, Boots and Debenhams in axing jobs on Britain’s high streets.

The cuts are part of an ongoing restructuring of the business during the coming months as part of a plan dubbed ‘Never the same again’ at its results two months ago.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: M&S to announce hundreds of job cuts this week

TikTok halts plans for HQ to move to London

TikTok

TikTok’s plan to base its international HQ in the UK has been thrown into doubt following pressure from the US government.

ByteDance, owner of the video sharing app, has had talks with the UK government about basing its HQ in London, but it appears that US, which is considering banning TikTok, may become its new base.

Rumours have circulated that the US may only allow the social media company to keep operating if it splits from China and becomes an American company.

A ByteDance spokesperson says: “We remain fully committed to investing in London.”

It comes as tensions mount between the UK and China over the government’s recent decision to order the removal of Huawei’s 5G equipment from Britain’s mobile networks by 2027.

READ MORE: TikTok shelves plan for global HQ in Britain (£)

Avon sellers double during lockdown

Avon Care

The number of new Avon sellers has doubled during lockdown as people worry about income.

Between late March and early June, the number of new UK sales representatives was double that in the same period last year.

Avon UK’s head of beauty business owners, Tracy Powers, says the increase is down to fears around employment as a result of Covid-19: “The majority of people who are joining the business at the moment are those who’ve been affected by the global pandemic and are either being furloughed or are worried about their jobs.”

However, these transactions are largely online with individual sellers creating their own social media accounts to advertise products.

In the first six months of 2020, Avon’s digital transactions were three times higher than in the first half of 2019.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: New Avon sellers double during UK lockdown

Government promises holidaymakers money back on cancelled plans

Holidaymakers who were given refund credit notes, rather than cash, for their cancelled package holiday are being promised their money back if the company goes into administration.

The Department for Transport has announced that it will extend ATOL protection for refund credit notes in a move that will see many holidaymakers’ financial security boosted.

By law, any holidaymaker with a package holiday is entitled to receive a cash refund for any cancellation by the tour operator. However, due to coronavirus refunds have been delayed for some.

By way of an alternative, some travel companies offered their consumers refund credit notes instead of cash refunds.

To make sure that bookings with ATOL protection keep their financial security, refund credit notes issued for these bookings will benefit from ATOL protection up until 30 September 2021 if they have been issued between 10 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 for an ATOL protected booking that has been cancelled due to Covid-19.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says: “We want to send a clear message to passengers that they can book their summer holidays with confidence, which is why we’re stepping in to protect refund credit notes issued as a result of Covid-19 cancellations.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Reassurance for travellers over cancelled holiday refunds

Ted Baker to cut more than a quarter of staff

Ted Baker is cutting more than a quarter of its UK workforce as the fashion chain becomes the latest victim of the struggling hight street.

Staff were informed this month that at least 500 roles were being axed in an effort to save £6m by the end of the year. Approximately 200 jobs will but cut from its central office, with the rest from its 46 shops and dozens of store concessions.

A spokesman for the retailer confirmed that “as part of our continuing transformation plan, we have been assessing the appropriate level of staffing across our business and are in consultation with affected colleagues.” Both part-time and full-time roles are affected.

The announcement caps a difficult few months for the business. At the start of June it revealed that the coronavirus pandemic had caused revenues to slump by 36% between 26 January 2020 and 2 May, with department stores and branches closed by a government order.

Ted Baker reported a loss before tax of £79.9m in the year to 25 January, before the pandemic started to affect sales, and a 1.4% fall in revenues. That compares to a £30.7m profit a year before.

READ MORE: Ted Baker to cut 500 jobs as pandemic losses add to financial woe

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