Boots retail sales jump as strategic review drives value
Boots saw retail sales increase by 22% in the second quarter of its fiscal year compared to the same period 12 months ago, with its strategic review of the brand “progressing”, according to owner Walgreen Boots Alliance.
Digital sales in the second quarter jumped by 60% versus the second quarter of its 2020 fiscal year, with Boots.com now accounting for more than 15% of sales, up from 9% pre-Covid.
Footfall over the period which ended 28 February did improve compared to the previous year, although traffic was still below where it was pre-Covid, with restrictions to combat the Omicron surge in place for most of the quarter.
Boots stepped up its loyalty offer with the launch of its Boots Price Advantage programme for Advantage cardholders during the period. It offers additional discounts for members, similar to Tesco’s Clubcard Prices.
The business says beauty performed particularly well over the quarter, which culminated in the reintroduction of the Boots 17 beauty brand in February.
Looking at Walgreen Boots Alliance’s international segment as a whole, which includes Boots, gross profit increased by 11.8% compared to the same quarter a year ago, including an adverse currency impact of 3.4%. Adjusted gross profit increased 15.2% on a constant currency basis, reflecting “strong UK growth”, driven largely by higher retail store transactions.
Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, says: “Second quarter results demonstrated broad-based execution, driving strong comparable sales and robust earnings growth. We continue to make important strides along our strategic priorities, building a consumer-centric, technology-enabled healthcare enterprise at the centre of local communities…. The strategic review of our Boots business is progressing, and our transformational actions are accelerating sustainable value creation.”
LinkedIn and Dictionary.com add the term ‘dyslexic thinking’
Sir Richard Branson and charity Made By Dyslexia have launched a campaign called #DyslexicThinking, urging organisations to appreciate the term as a valuable workplace skill.
As part of the campaign, LinkedIn has added ‘dyslexic thinking’ to its recognised skills on the platform, meaning people can add it to their profile as a positive attribute. The phrase is also in the process of being added to Dictionary.com as an official term.
Nicole Leverich, vice-president of comms at LinkedIn, says: “By recognising ‘dyslexic thinking’ as a skill on LinkedIn we’re able to help shift the conversation to focus on the creative, problem-solving and communication skills people with dyslexia bring to their work. We’re also seeing this on our platform with more and more people sharing how dyslexia gives them unique strengths and their different way of seeing the world has helped them on their career journey.”
Branson, who is dyslexic himself, has added dyslexic thinking to his LinkedIn profile and is calling for others to do the same to help encourage a positive shift in how people view dyslexia.
He says: “Redefining my Dyslexia as a skill set gave me the freedom to pursue my dreams without barriers and recognise this unique way of thinking as a hidden superpower…Using the new drop down, you can show your pride in possessing this unique way of thinking and being #MadeByDyslexia.”
Founder of Made By Dyslexia, Kate Griggs, adds: “LinkedIn and Dictionary.com’s recognition of Dyslexic Thinking will have huge impact on the way in which dyslexic individuals view their own unique way of thinking, and the value this brings to the world of work.”
She says the charity’s research has demonstrated that dyslexic thinking skills such as creativity, problem-solving and leadership are “vital to the 21st-century workplace, when we reach a 50/50 work split between machines and humans, as predicted for 2025 – the skills humans will need are dyslexic thinking skills”.
European sponsorship markets show signs of recovery
The European sponsorship market increased by 17.8% in 2021, as the market begins to recover after being severely impacted the previous year as a result of the pandemic.
The European sponsorship market was worth €27.85bn in 2021, which is still 9.3% lower than 2019’s level of €30.69bn and only marginally above 2017 (€27.69bn). But it follows a 23% decline in 2020, which marked the first time the market had shrunk in almost a decade.
The research by the European Sponsorship Association in cooperation with Nielsen, suggests the recovery was driven by the vaccination roll out across Europe and the return of live events. But as the nature of events is changing, particularly with the rise of digital consumption from brands, it is urging brands to “embrace this shift through marketing strategies”.
The rate of recovery does vary between sectors though. In the UK, non-sports sponsorship was severely impacted in 2020, while sports sponsorship saw little movement. This was reflected in the 2021 data, which shows an 85% increase in non-sport sponsorship compared to a 4% rise in sport.
By volume, Russia saw the biggest year-on-year change (up 32%), followed by the UK (20%) and Italy (19%). Russia’s growth was driven by an upswing in the music industry as well as from growth in the economy overall. But given the current political situation and the sanctions that have been imposed on the country, the ESA suggests this uptick will be short-lived.
Marco Nazzari, managing director international, Nielsen Sports, says: “Looking ahead to 2022, fandom has shifted from large audiences physically together to more remote yet more engaged behaviour through digital devices, impacting both sponsorship models and content distribution. Brands, sports rights holders and media owners must embrace this shift through marketing strategies to unlock revenue growth.”
Andy Westlake, chairman of the European Sponsorship Association, adds: “We know the sponsorship sector is resilient and we have seen how creative we are in times of change to prove to our sponsors that investment is still worthwhile.
“Rights holders need to keep pace with the current economic trends, and the ever-growing thirst of digital consumption from fans needs to be understood by all for the green shoots of 2021 to flower in 2022 and beyond.”
Scotch egg custard and other April Fool’s Day fun
Sausage roll cereal, gourmet pet recipe boxes and a rum aged in coconuts for 12 years are just some of the delights brands have inflicted on unwitting consumers this April Fool’s Day.
Wall’s is apparently launching a series of products that see it branch out into new areas. Anyone fancy trying a sausage roll smoothie? Nope. How about sausage roll cereal? Not up for that either. Surely scotch egg custard will be a winner then…? According to Wall’s it is the “the perfect symphony between meat and sweet”.
Meanwhile, Pernod Ricard has outlined plans to take Malibu “super premium”, with the launch of Malibu XO, which has been aged inside coconuts for 12 years. The product has been developed in a top-secret location on an undisclosed Caribbean Island, which is apparently guarded by a team of security guards round the clock. The coconuts have also been kept in a temperature-controlled environment and turned every hour – presumably since 2010. And that’s why it costs an eye-watering £104. Oh and why Made in Chelsea’s Mark Francis has been enlisted to launch it.
Now, want to treat your pooch or feline friend to a delicious dinner created by a top chef? Floofsto by Gousto will be right up your street. Punchy pet Thai noodles, Heckin’ Delectable roast dinner and not forgetting the vegan option seed ‘n lettuce burgers.
SodaStream teams up with David Hasselhoff for sustainability campaign
SodaStream has pledged to save a million baby sea turtles from plastic pollution in April, which is supported by a campaign fronted by Baywatch star David Hasselhoff.
The campaign sees Hasselhoff reprise his role as lifeguard Mitch Buchannon, but this time he is saving turtles rather than beachgoers.
The campaign has been launched to coincide with Earth Day but will run throughout April and forms part of the brand’s wider commitment to sustainability.
As part of this SodaStream is also encouraging its employees around the world to find opportunities to volunteer, educate and promote sustainable values to younger generations.
“As part of SodaStream’s environmental responsibility and obligation to the planet, we are always looking for ways to do better”, says SodaStream’s global CMO, Karin Schifter-Maor.
“With this 360 degree campaign, we are engaging people to not only keep the oceans clean from single-use plastic waste, but also giving them the opportunity to save endangered baby sea turtles around the world.”
Thursday, 31 March
Nationwide tackles bullying with new social purpose campaign
Nationwide Building Society has set out to tackle bullying in schools with its latest campaign. ‘The power of words’ aims to raise awareness of the brand’s three-year partnership with The Diana Award, an organisation founded on the belief – held by Diana, Princess of Wales – that young people have the power to change the world.
A new TV film will demonstrate how the partnership will introduce 10,000 anti-bullying ambassadors to UK schools over the next three years. Created by VCCP London, the film seeks to communicate the importance of mutual respect in society.
Nationwide has emphasised that it is an organisation that was founded with a social purpose, and that its commitment to supporting its members and wider society has not changed. According to Censuswide research from last year, 24,000 children miss school every day due to bullying.
The Diana Award advocates peer-to-peer support, and an extra 10,000 Anti-Bullying Ambassadors are being trained in over 660 primary schools up and down the UK, so more children have someone they can talk to. The Anti-Bullying Ambassadors, who are school children themselves, will receive training on how to spot bullying, speak out and support those who face challenging circumstances at school.
“We know this peer-to-peer approach works and these young ambassadors are already changing behaviours and shaping attitudes by sending a clear message that bullying isn’t acceptable,” says Alex Holmes, deputy CEO of The Diana Award.
“It is heartbreaking to hear from children who have had their lives blighted by bullying. As a mutual organisation, we have a particular interest in fostering greater mutual respect to build a better society where diversity and difference are celebrated. The Diana Award team have made some inspirational strides to put an end to bullying and we hope our support can mean that many more children can be protected,” says Nationwide chief product and marketing officer Sara Bennison.
Hostelworld says post-Covid travel recovery picking up as marketing spend grows
Online travel agent Hostelworld, which focuses on the low-cost hostel market, says it has seen a growing recovery in bookings as Covid-19 restrictions are eased.
Announcing its preliminary results for the year ending 31 December 2021, the company said it had reduced costs and increased its competitiveness during the pandemic. The company saw 1.5m bookings during the year, the same as 2020 but just 21% of the booking volumes in the pre-pandemic year of 2019. Net revenue for the period was €16.9m (£14.37m), an increase of 10% on 2020.
Marketing spend as a percentage of revenue was increased during the year by 22% to 72%, while administrative costs fell by 15% due to tight spending controls.
“While 2021 was a challenging year both for Hostelworld and the global travel industry, I am pleased to say we saw a consistent recovery throughout the year in both bookings and revenue versus 2019, save for the last few weeks where we saw travel concerns over the Omicron variant,” says Hostelworld CEO Gary Morrison.
“I am also pleased to report that we made solid progress on all elements of our strategy during the year whilst continuing to significantly reduce our operating expenses versus 2020 levels. Overall, I remain confident that our loyal customer base has more desire than ever to travel and meet other like-minded travellers once restrictions are eased. The improvements we continue to make to our platform and our differentiated growth strategy mean we are well-positioned to capitalise on those opportunities as demand continues to return.”
Overwhelming support for brand action over Ukraine war says IPA
Nearly nine out of 10 UK consumers are in favour of brands taking some action in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a new survey commissioned by the IPA and carried out by Opinium.
The study finds that 88% of consumers were in favour of brands taking a stance against the invasion.
When asked what responses were most appropriate, 60% of consumers say brands should stop doing business in Russia; 57% say they should stop doing business with Russian companies; 53% feel they should remove Russian products and services from their offering; 43% say companies should offer free goods and services to charities working with Ukraine or helping refugees; and 38% feel they should offer jobs or sponsorships to Ukranian refugees.
Older generations of consumers are significantly more in favour of taking steps to penalise Russia than younger ones: 81% of those over 55 want brands to stop doing business with Russia, compared to just 33% of those aged 18 to 34.
Overall, 30% of consumers want brands to speak out publicly about their position, and 34% see an opportunity for brands to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels during the crisis. More than a fifth (21%) think brands should show their solidarity across marketing materials.
“The war in Ukraine is deeply shocking and upsetting. But it is hard to know how we, and the brands and agencies we work with, can or should respond in the most helpful and genuine way. This survey therefore provides a useful snapshot of the response that consumers are looking to brands to provide and some interesting findings regarding the difference in strength of sentiment between the generations,” says IPA director general Paul Bainsfair.
“At an IPA level, we hope that our small offer of free IPA learning for Ukranian nationals and our support of wider industry initiatives may provide some help to those enduring the toughest of times.”
Talent churn may hamper plans to in-house marketing talent
Talent churn is now the biggest concern for marketers and media leaders as they try to ensure they have the right teams in place both in-house and at agency partners, according to new research for The 2022 Global Media Talent Report.
The report, from ID Comms, finds churn has overtaken issues such as internal structure and quality of talent as the key marketing issue faced by brands in 2022. Talent churn was the fourth highest concern in 2016 and third in 2018.
According to the report the churn among marketers threatens to slow plans by brands to move more talent in-house.
The findings are based on responses from more than 80 people representing global media investment of more than $10bn in a variety of sectors including FMCG, retail, pharmaceutical, automotive and finance.
The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated staff shortages, with some people leaving the industry and not returning. Meanwhile inflationary pressures and pushing salaries up and increased competition is making it harder to retain talent.
Finding and retaining staff is expected to be especially touch in high-demand areas such as data and ecommerce, according to the study.
“The current talent crisis is an opportunity to reflect on the hiring practices in advertising writ large. Within the last couple of years, we have seen numerous commitments from advertisers and agencies to improving diversity, equity and inclusion. While this is important for numerous reasons, expanding the current pool is likely critical to solving current gaps and shortages in the marketplace for talent, even if we have to wait to reap the benefits of the changes we start to implement now,” says ID Comms senior consultant Paul Stringer.
Asda launches Easter campaign
Supermarket Asda has used a magical egg hunt to highlight its Easter food ranges in its latest seasonal campaign.
A 40-second ‘Flavour Hunt’ TV ad sees two children transported to a fairy cottage inhabited by the Easter Bunny, after climbing insides their mother’s shopping bags. There they discover a range of treats, from rabbit-shaped crumpets to chocolate eggs.
The campaign is by Havas London. The TV ad is supported by an OOH campaign, with radio, print and online executions.
“We want to help our customers enjoy a flavour filled bank holiday weekend this year, and our campaign showcases that Asda has something to help make every Easter celebration magical. We have everything from delicious treats such as our hot cross bun selection and Extra Special chocolate eggs, to the traditional Easter roast offering, all at great Asda prices,” says Stephi Brett-Lee, senior director of Asda Brand.
The campaign launches tomorrow (1 April).
Wednesday, 30 March
UK discretionary spending to drop by £12bn in 2022
The cost-of-living crisis will wipe out £12bn of discretionary spending from across the UK economy in 2022.
The average household will see its discretionary income (the money it has after spending on essentials like groceries, mortgage or rent) drop by 6.5%, or £430 in 2022. For the least affluent households, discretionary income is expected to drop by almost a fifth (19.5%), which represents a decrease of £850 in 2022.
Households with low-middle affluence will have 9.8% less discretionary income to spend, while those in the middle will see a drop of 2.4%.
According to the figures, provided by Retail Economics and HyperJar, £12bn represents the equivalent of almost the entire DIY and gardening sector.
The report also shows that young consumers are most worried about money. Almost two-thirds (63%) of all UK consumers surveyed report being worried about money. For the under-45s, this figure rises to 70%.
Amid worries about money, consumers are setting themselves budgets but struggling to stick to them. The average household sets a budget of £1,097, but ends up spending £1,456, representing a deficit of £359.
Companies ‘have a choice to make’ between Russia and the West, says US politician
Companies must choose between continuing to operate in Russia or in the West, US deputy treasury secretary Wally Adeyemo tells the BBC.
Adeyemo paints a stark choice for companies between choosing to “help Russia” by continuing to operate in the country or being able to “do business with the 30 countries” that have imposed sanctions. Adeyemo is leading the US government’s efforts on sanctions. He said the US and its allies were committed to imposing more sanctions on Russia.
Most of the world’s biggest brands have pulled out of Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, either for moral or operational issues. Earlier this week beer giants Heineken and Carlsberg Group said they are planning to fully offload their Russian businesses. This comes with significant financial losses to both companies. Heineken is expected to take a €400 million hit from the decision.
However, other brands such as Marks & Spencer and Burger King say they have been unable to leave Russia due to their stores being run by franchisees in the country.
Yesterday (29 March), French retail company Association Familiale Mulliez, which owns sports retailer Decathlon, reversed its decision to remain operating in Russia. The company operates supermarket chain Auchan in the country.
“Abandoning our employees, their families and our customers is not the choice we have made,” a spokesperson for Auchan said in a statement.
The decision to remain in the country was reversed after a #BoycottDecathlon social media campaign, and criticism from Ukraine’s foreign minister.
Tesco launches inquiry as recycling pledge ‘falls short’
Tesco says it is looking into its recycling practices, after an investigation by Bloomberg found that plastic the supermarket claimed was being recycled had ended up in landfill or burnt.
In August, Tesco launched a nationwide initiative to recycle soft plastic. Soft plastics are not commonly recycled by UK councils, meaning only 6% of this kind of waste produced in the UK is recycled. Shoppers were able to return their soft plastic to any Tesco store in the UK.
This was accompanied by an advertising campaign which carried the tagline, “Recycling soft plastics shouldn’t be hard”.
However, Bloomberg carried out an investigation which found that soft plastic marked for recycling was ending up in landfill or burnt. The media organisation placed tiny trackers in pieces of plastic, which started their journey in London Tesco recycling bins. One piece of plastic ended up in landfill in Turkey, while others made it to Poland.
Tesco works with recycling company Eurokey on the initiative. Bloomberg revealed that shortly after Tesco had agreed a waste management contract with Eurokey Recycling, one of its executives was taken to a five-star Las Vegas resort, paid for by the company.
Bloomberg says the export of these plastics “reveals a messy recycling ecosystem that looks less like a virtuous circle and more like passing the buck”.
Tesco says it takes these allegations “very seriously” and is “investigating this fully”.
Superdrug to launch online marketplace to become more accessible to emerging brands
Superdrug is launching an online marketplace which will make listing with the retailer easier for emerging as well as premium brands. ‘Superdrug Marketplace’ will be integrated into the existing Superdrug website in September of this year.
The new platform will see Superdrug build further into the wellness category. The retailer is currently looking for brands to partner with, and could see the marketplace stock products in the health testing or wearable categories.
As well as offering customers a wider range, the new marketplace is targeted at emerging brands. Superdrug said it hopes brands that do not have the infrastructure for a national listing will be able to take advantage of its new platform. Some products from the marketplace will also be available in Superdrug stores.
Superdrug is seeking to partner with brands that align with its values to build the new marketplace. In particular, it would like to showcase black and female-owned brands, as well as gender neutral beauty products.
“The Superdrug Marketplace will be a vital step for our business as we look to strengthen further our role in health and beauty retail and start to build into new associated categories,” says Superdrug’s customer, marketing and online director, Matt Walburn.
Currys ‘socially irresponsible’ e-scooter ad banned by the ASA
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered Currys to scrap an ad that was “misleading” about the legality of e-scooters.
In the UK, e-scooters can only be used on private land, with the permission of landowners. There are some small exceptions to this rule, but in general it is illegal to use these vehicles in public places.
The ad, which was shown on YouTube, depicted two people riding e-scooters along a large pathway while doing tricks, with the voiceover, “Get rolling with an electric scooter from Curry’s.” The complainant to the ASA considered the ad to be misleading, giving the impressions that e-scooters can be used in public places.
Currys says that the ad was filmed on private track inside a velopark and not on a public road, and that in was done with the owner’s permission, in accordance with guidance. It says that it took care to avoid the impression that the e-scooters were being used in a public place, by ensuring there were no pedestrians, motorists, road markings or parked cars in the ad. The ad contained text reminding consumers to adhere to local and national laws on the use of e-scooters.
However, the ASA has upheld the complaint, noting the ad is filmed in a seemingly “urban setting”. “Consumers were likely to infer the setting was a public park,” says the ASA. It says that the text contained in the ad was not sufficient to override the impression given by the visuals of the ad, which suggested e-scooters could be used in public places.
Currys has been ordered to not show this ad again in its current form. The ASA has also asked the company to ensure its future marketing communications do “not mislead and were not socially irresponsible by suggesting that electric scooters could be used in public places in the UK.”
Tuesday, 29 March
Asda upsets Waitrose with confirmed launch of ‘Just Essentials’ range
Asda has confirmed the launch of a new value range, ‘Just Essentials by Asda’, billed as the largest budget-friendly essentials range in the market.
The supermarket says the range has been specifically designed to help “millions of families” manage rising living costs this year, representing an investment of £45m. It comprises of 300 products, 50% more than Asda’s Smart Price Range, which it will eventually replace.
Products will arrive in-store from May onwards and will be rolled out across the summer. The range will span key categories such as fresh meat, fish and poultry, bakery, frozen and cupboard staples, as well as more than 20 essential household and toiletry products.
According to Asda, the Just Essentials range will “further strengthen” the grocer’s position as the “lowest-priced” big four supermarket.
However, the grocer now faces a legal challenge from rival Waitrose, which has had its own budget range Essential Waitrose since 2009.
Waitrose says it sent a legal letter to Asda on Monday (28 March). A spokesperson for the supermarket said it was “surprised” to hear Asda was launching an essentials range with a similar name, claiming its own Essentials brand has built up a “strong reputation for value, quality and higher welfare standards”.
Asda announced the range as it made a trading update covering the fourth quarter and financial year ending 31 December. Like-for-like sales were down 2.9% compared to the same quarter in 2020, but remain up 2.6% on a two-year basis.
“When we bought Asda we were clear that we wanted to grow this great business and our ambition is for Asda to regain its position as the UK’s second largest grocery retailer,” says co-owner Mohsin Issa.
“We are pleased with the progress made in the six months since we officially took over the business and are confident we can achieve this long-term ambition by providing customers with exceptional value wherever and however they choose to shop with us.”
Grocery price inflation hits highest level since 2012
Grocery price inflation rose to 5.2% over the last four weeks, the highest level since April 2012, according to the latest take-home grocery figures from Kantar.
Rising costs are driving consumers towards own-label products, which now account for 50.6% of all spending, up from 49.9% last year.
Supermarkets are also responding to inflation by moving away from ‘round pound’ prices, with the percentage of packs sold at either £1, £2 or £3 reduced by 2.3 percentage points over the past year.
These shifts come amid falling supermarket sales, down by 6.3% over the 12 weeks to 20 March. Sales are still up versus two years ago, but only by 0.7% due to a tough comparison period of pre-lockdown record buying.
Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insight, Fraser McKevitt, says it’s “no surprise” that take-home sales are down over the latest period, as consumers are now “more confident” eating out of the home again or are grabbing food and drink on the go.
“What we’re really starting to see is the switch from the pandemic being the dominant factor driving our shopping behaviour towards the growing impact of inflation, as the cost of living becomes the bigger issue on consumers’ minds,” he says.
Some pandemic trends have remained sticky as restrictions ease, with 12.6% of sales made online in March 2022 compared to just 8% three years ago. Shoppers over the age of 65 are “leading the charge”, McKevitt says, as the proportion of this demographic buying online has doubled from 9% to 18%.
Looking at individual grocers’ performance over the last month, German discounters Aldi and Lidl led the pack with a sales boost over the last 12 weeks of 3.6% each compared to last year. Aldi achieved a record market share of 8.6%, while Lidl matched its best performance at 6.4%.
According to Kantar, the only other retailer performing ahead of the market is Tesco, increasing its share from 27.1% to 27.4%.
Sainsbury’s market share now stands at 15.1%, while Asda holds 14.5% and Morrisons 9.5%. Co-op, Waitrose and Iceland’s shares are 6.0%, 4.8% and 2.2%, respectively. Online specialist Ocado has 1.8% of the market.
WHSmith partners with Deliveroo on rapid delivery
Deliveroo is making its first significant step into the delivery of general merchandise by partnering with books and stationary retailer WHSmith.
The online delivery company says it will be able to deliver a range of products to customers in 20 minutes, from novels to printer cartridges. Some 600 WHSmith products will be included as part of the initial trial.
The partnership launches today (29 March) in WHSmiths in Reading and Berkshire, before rolling out in nine further stores across the country over the next week.
Sean Toal, managing director at WHSmith High Street, says: “We’re always exploring new ways to delight our customers both in-store and online by providing them with an exceptional shopping experience.
“We’re really excited to be partnering with Deliveroo for this trial which will complement our existing offer and enable our customers to receive the products that they want and need from us as fast as possible from their local store direct to their door; whether that’s a greetings card, working from home essentials, a last-minute gift or a newly released book.”
The retailer reported a £116m loss for 2021, despite a profitable year of high street trading, as travel restrictions derailed plans to expand in airports and railway stations. However, the high street business achieved a £36m profit.
ISBA launches consultation on cross-media measurement ad levy
ISBA is conducting an eight-week consultation of UK advertisers to understand their interest in paying an advertising levy as a way of funding cross-media measurement initiative Origin.
Origin is an advertiser-backed initiative to create a “blueprint” for cross-media measurement in the UK. In theory the programme will provide advertisers with a standardised, common measurement approach across media – particularly digital platforms and TV.
The consultation process aims to confirm if advertisers support the proposal of part-funding Origin through a levy on the media activity measured by the tool. The levy will cover the cost for advertisers to receive the basic level ‘core’ measurement report.
Initial planning has been based on an assumed levy of 0.1% of gross media spend on those channels measured by Origin, ISBA said. A cap is envisaged for the largest spenders, “at a level to be determined to reflect the value received”.
ISBA aims to understand whether advertisers are comfortable with the proposed levy, and over what timeframe the industry would be able to adapt its processes to accommodate it.
The consultation closes on 20 May. On 20 April, ISBA will host an online session for anyone in the industry to ask questions.
Heineken and Carlsberg to offload Russian businesses
Beer giants Heineken and Carlsberg Group are planning to fully offload their Russian businesses amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, with both companies to take a considerable hit as a result.
Heineken had already stopped new investments and exports to Russia, and had ended the production, sale and advertising of the Heineken brand in the country.
However, the business has now determined it is “no longer sustainable nor viable” in the current environment to own its Russian business and intends to transfer it to a new owner. Russia makes up around 2% of the Dutch beer company’s global sales.
Heineken guaranteed the salaries of its 1,800 employees in the Russian business would be paid through to the end of 2022, while it would do the “utmost” to “safeguard” their future employment.
The company expects to take a €400m (£336m) hit from the move. Once the transfer is completed, the business will no longer have a presence in Russia.
Meanwhile, Carlsberg is also seeking a full disposal of its business in Russia, claiming it is “the right thing to do in the current environment”.
In 2021, the business in Russia reported revenue of DKK 6.5bn (£734m) and operating profit of DKK 682m (£77m), equating to 10% of the group’s total sales and 6% of its operating profits. Carlsberg owns Baltika, Russia’s biggest brewer, which has market share of almost 30%.
Carlsberg says it “deeply regrets” the consequences the disposal will have on its 8,400 employees in Russia, and will maintain the recently announced reduced level of operations to sustain the livelihoods of these employees and their families until the completion of any deal.
Euler Hermes rebrands as Allianz Trade to support growth plans
World leading trade credit insurer Euler Hermes has changed its name to Allianz Trade, four years after becoming fully part of the Allianz Group.
According to the business, which operates in 52 countries and has more than 5,500 employees, changing its brand name to Allianz Trade means “reinforcing” its position as a global player. It will also enable the brand to benefit further from the “reputation and strength” of the Allianz Group.
The business also claims its new name will “directly” support the implementation of its 2025 strategic plan, which underlines its “strong ambition” for growth.
Clarisse Kopff, CEO of Allianz Trade, summarises the implications of the rebrand in one word: “more”.
“More global expertise and knowledge inspiring more local solutions. More confidence in tomorrow with more opportunities to help businesses grow. More foresight and customised service. More ability to keep up even better with technological transformations. More visibility to attract new talents, and more career opportunities for our employees. There is a lot to be excited about, and we have only just begun to explore the possibilities,” she says.
“We are entering a new, exciting phase for our company, and I am thrilled to begin this journey by becoming Allianz Trade.”
Chris Townsend, member of the board of management of Allianz SE, adds the group is “convinced” the rebrand will bring benefits in awareness, business development, growth and innovation for Allianz Trade.
Monday, 28 March
Sainsbury’s investors call for supermarket to pay staff ‘real Living Wage’
Investors have called for Sainsbury’s to become the first Supermarket “real Living Wage” employer by launching a campaign to raise pay to £9.90 an hour, or £11.05 in London.
The move is co-ordinated by responsible investment group ShareAction, which said today the resolution has been filed by an investor coalition managing £2.2tr that includes Legal and General Investment Management, Fidelity International, HSBC Asset Management and Nest (National Employment Saving Trust,) Britain’s largest workplace pension scheme.
Shareholders are set to vote on a resolution at this year’s annual meeting.
More than 9,700 employers in the UK currently pay the Living Wage, including the likes of Nestle and IKEA, which is a voluntary may measure. As is stands, no UK supermarket has yet signed up to the scheme.
However, Sainsbury’s announced in January new pay rates for workers that will see it hit the real Living Wage for staff in inner London and outside the capital. Its rate of £10.50 for staff in outer London didn’t match the real Living Wage stipulations for the region.
The supermarket chain also didn’t make any commitment relating to the pay of third-party staff like cleaners and security guards, reports Reuters.
“Furthermore, Sainsbury’s have made no commitment that pay will continue to increase in line with the cost of living in future years. Accrediting as a Living Wage employer would remove this uncertainty and guarantee all workers a wage that they can live on,” ShareAction said.
“It is vital that we not only pay our colleagues fairly but that we are able to invest significantly to offer customers great value,” said a Sainsbury’s spokesperson.
Mettle, NatWest’s bank for small businesses, gains fivefold increase in customers
The Financial Times reports today that NatWest’s small business bank Mettle, which launched in 2018, has seen a fivefold leap in users since the start of 2021, “driven by a surge in startups launched during the pandemic”.
The rise of the side hustle and the need to make extra money as the cost of living rises has contributed the bank hitting 50,000 customers, Mettle’s CEO Andrew Ellis says. Ellis joined Mettle at the end of last year following more than two years as head of ventures at NatWest.
Mettle launched in a banking ecosystem of digital challengers such as Starling and Tide. The digital bank provides current accounts for sole traders and small companies, as well as tools to assist in business such as cash flow forecasting and invoicing.
The challenger released its first brand campaign last year aiming to encourage small businesses and sole traders to join the service, under its “The not-your-usual banking app” tagline.
Research from TUC in November last year found that the gig economy workforce in England and Wales had almost tripled in the last five years, with the majority using platform work to supplement other forms of income.
Ellis emphasises to the FT there is no “clear breakdown” between users taking on a second job out of employment or necessity, but said there was a “great deal of passion involved”.
P&O Ferries to face minimum wage law change
Government ministers plan to force all ferry operators operating from UK ports to pay at least the National Minimum Wage, reports the BBC.
Legislation will be introduced in the Commons later this week in a bid to urge P&O Ferries to reinstate the 800 employees it sacked, following the company’s boss Peter Hebblethwaite saying just days ago that not consulting on the sackings broke laws.
A source told the BBC that transport secretary Grant Shapps “hopes the company will see reason and step back”.
On Saturday, protests took place at several ports, led by unions at Dover, Hull, and Liverpool in response to the firings.
In the weeks since P&O ferries replaced its staff with it has been embroiled in a PR disaster. Yesterday, the Guardian reported on a P&O Ferries ad which suggested “no sea experience needed” while last week Marketing Week reported the company’s brand health nosedived by 18 points between 14 to 20 March according to YouGov.
Apple’s ‘CODA’ wins best film Oscar in a first for streaming services
“CODA” has won the Oscar for best picture at Sunday’s Academy Awards, making history as the first streaming service to win the accolade, beating Netflix in the process. It is also the first film with a predominantly Deaf cast to win best picture.
Additionally, the film won Best Adapted Screenplay, and actor Troy Kotsur is the first Deaf male actor to win an Oscar.
“We join our teams all over the world in celebrating Siân, Troy, the producers, and the entire cast and crew for bringing such a powerful representation of the Deaf community to audiences, and breaking so many barriers in the process,” says Apple’s head of worldwide video, Zach Van Amburg.
Netflix picked up one award for “The Power of the Dog,” best director for Jane Campion, after the streaming service was nominated for 27 awards overall.
Just last year, Apple picked up its first ever Academy Award nominations for “Greyhound” and “Wolfwalkers” – winning best film likely positions the service to ramp up on its talent and production deals, as Variety reports.
We don’t make purely financial decisions about the content [on Apple TV Plus]. We try to find great content that has a reason for being,” said Tim Cook on the company’s Q1 2022 earnings.
M&S apologises after shopper received 100 wrong parcel texts
M&S apologised over the weekend after some customers were sent other shoppers’ parcel tracking details, reports the BBC.
One particular customer received more than 100 text messages, each containing links to GPS locations and photographs of parcels on doorsteps, after a technical error at the company sent “incorrect text notifications”.
An M&S spokesperson said: “The issue was quickly identified and resolved. We’re apologising to [the customer] for the inconvenience caused,” adding that 1% of orders had been affected.
Said customer remarked that “Someone could have used that information to drive around and pick all those parcels up.” The customer continued to receive “a few” texts after alerting M&S about what was happening.
“Obviously the images of people’s parcels, web tracking links, location of delivery and tracking information is probably somewhat sensitive information,” he added.
In response to the customer, M&S told him: “While we believe there is no risk of harm to customers, we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused – we are continually working to keep your personal information as safe as possible. I hope we have reassured you how seriously we have taken this.”