Amazon, Apple, Google: 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.

AmazonAmazon sales grew in 2022 against expectations

Amazon’s sales increased 9% in the three months to 31 December 2022, rising to $149.2bn (£122.3bn), against $137.4bn (£113bn) in the same period in 2021. Sales in North America grew 13% year-on-year, while international sales decreased by 8% to $34.5bn (£28.2bn).

For the full year, sales were up 9% to $513bn (£421bn) last year, compared with $469.8bn (£385bn) in 2021, better than analyst’s expectations.

The fourth quarter results exceeded expectations, according to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. “We’re appreciative of all our customers who turned to Amazon this past holiday season,” he said.

Amazon’s operating loss fell to $2.7bn (£2.2bn) in the fourth quarter, compared with $3.5bn (£2.9bn) in 2021.

There’s no questioning the tricky period most businesses are operating in right now. However, Jassy said: “In the short term, we face an uncertain economy, but we remain quite optimistic about the long-term opportunities for Amazon.”

The company noted “obsessing over the customer experience” as a highlight of the last year. It noted a “record breaking holiday season” with the business’s biggest Black Friday and Cyber Monday period to date, as well as results from Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings reboot, which brought in more than 100 million viewers.

Apple sales drop amid ‘challenging environment’

AppleThe tech giant’s sales fell 5% from 2021’s levels in the three months to 31 December last year. Apple had net sales of $117.2bn (£96bn) in this period, against 2021’s $123.9bn (£102.6bn).

Within the breakdown, iPhone sales dropped from $71.6bn (£58.7bn) in 2021, to $65.8bn (£53.6bn) in 2022.  Meanwhile, Mac computer sales fell from $10.6bn (£8.7bn) in 2021 to $7.7bn (£6.3bn) in 2022.

Noting the “challenging environment” the company is operating in, CEO Tim Cook said Apple remains “focused on the long term “ and is leading with its “values in everything” it does.

Apple’s profits were hit in the three month period, falling 13% to $30bn (£24bn).

The company’s services business, however, hit an “all-time revenue record” of $20.8bn (£17bn),“in spite of a difficult macroeconomic environment,” said CFO Luca Maestri.

Apple is one of the few tech giant’s to not undertake mass layoffs in recent months. In an interview yesterday (2 February) with the Wall Street Journal, Cook called layoffs a “last resort kind of thing”.

Google parent company revenue down as YouTube misses ads target

Google’s advertising revenue fell by 4% in the 3 months to 31 December 2022, only the second quarterly drop in the company’s history. It dropped from $61bn (£52bn) to $59bn (£48bn).

Overall revenues at Alphabet grew marginally from $75.3bn (£61.8bn) in 2021 to $76.04bn (£62.4bn) in 2022, a 1% increase. YouTube’s ad revenue fell from $8.6bn (£7bn) in 2021 to $7.96bn (£6.5bn) in 2022.

According to comments from CEO Sundar Pichai, the company is on “an important journey to re-engineer” its cost structure in a “durable way”.

“Our long-term investments in deep computer science make us extremely well-positioned as AI reaches an inflection point, and I’m excited by the AI driven leaps we’re about to unveil in Search and beyond,” he said.

READ MORE: Google’s advertising sales fall in sharper than expected slowdown

Adidas launches first new label in 50 years in response to consumer behaviour changes

Adidas’s new label, ‘adidas Sportswear’ will bridge the space between its pre-existing Performance and Originals labels, the company says as it takes on its first new label in half a century.

The new label is “built for the new generation”, with actress Jenna Ortega, alongside footballer Son Heung-Min, WSL player Mary Fowler and gamer Carolina Voltan featuring in the kick-off campaign.

“With consumer behaviour showing a noticeable change over the last few years, there’s no surprise that certain trends and desires are accelerating, particularly amongst the next generation,” says Adidas general manager for sportswear and training, Aimee Arana.

Arana notes that Adidas saw the need to “adapt” to meet the needs of the new generation of consumers. “Despite many lifestyle brands across different categories broadening their ranges to incorporate sportswear products, our offering has a clear point of difference,” she adds.

Starling continues support for women in football with Jill Scott-fronted campaign

‘Kick On with Starling Bank’ aims to “level the football playing field for women and girls”, says Starling.

The campaign from the digital bank is donating free football kit, coaching vouchers and equipment to grassroots female teams in the UK. It comes  in response to research which highlighted how clubs are struggling in the cost of living crisis to deliver “equal training opportunities”.

Starling is partnering with footballer and Euros winner Jill Scott to launch the campaign, which follows on from the bank’s activity around the Women’s Euros tournament last year. This activity included sponsorship of the tournament, a fantasy football league for women and OOH activity across London and Manchester.

“The Women’s EURO was just the beginning of Starling’s mission to change the game for good,” says brand and marketing director Rachel Kerrone.

“We believe that what starts on the pitch can ripple into social change, which is why we’re supporting grassroots pitches across the UK to help fulfil the Lioness’s legacy and get more women and girls in the game.”

Thursday, 2 February

Facebook Meta

Meta decreases marketing spend as it embarks on ‘year of efficiency’

Meta is calling 2023 its “year of efficiency” after fourth quarter profits fell 55% to $4.65bn (£3.77bn), despite a quarter of the global population – 2 billion people – using Facebook daily in December.

Company profits for the year to 31 December also fell, down 41% to $23.2bn (£18.8bn). Meta’s revenue fell 4% to $32.17bn (£26.1bn) during the fourth quarter, with full year revenue down 1% to $116.61bn (£94.6bn).

CFO Susan Li blamed the hit to fourth quarter revenue on “weak advertising demand” impacted by the “uncertain and volatile macroeconomic landscape”. Ad sales from financial services and tech companies declined, as did advertising demand from ecommerce and consumer packaged goods brands.

The social media giant spent $4.57bn (£3.7bn) on marketing and sales in the three months to 31 December, up 4% year on year. However, Meta noted this total investment was “partially offset” by lower marketing spend. Referring to the charges associated with its company restructure programme, Meta also spent $234m (£190m) on ‘severance and other personnel costs’ related to marketing.

Facebook daily users hit an average of 2 billion in December, up 4% year on year, while across its apps this figure reached 2.96 billion, an increase of 5%. The figures put the number of people using Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp daily at record levels.

During the fourth quarter, ad impressions delivered across Meta’s apps increased by 23% year on year, although the average price per ad fell 22%. For the 2022 full year, ad impressions increased by 18% compared to the same period in 2021, with the average price per ad down 16%.

While the current headcount of 86,482 is up 20% year on year, this includes the approximately 11,000 employees Meta announced it was making redundant in November 2022.

Speaking on a call with investors yesterday (1 February), CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company was “flattening” its organisational structure and removing some layers of middle management to make decisions faster.

“As part of this, we’re going to be more proactive about cutting projects that aren’t performing or may no longer be as crucial, but my main focus is on increasing the efficiency of how we execute our top priorities,” he added.

Zuckerberg noted Meta still needs to improve the ad monetisation of its Reels product, explaining the ambition is to show more Reels “without losing increasing amounts of money.”

He also claimed that during the fourth quarter, advertisers saw over 20% more conversions compared to the year before which, combined with a declining cost per acquisition, resulted in higher returns on ad spend.

Peloton slashes marketing spend despite push to ‘reignite growth’

Source: Shutterstock

Peloton cut marketing spend during the second quarter, despite stating its intention to “reignite growth”.

The fitness brand spent $217.1m (£176m) on sales and marketing in the three months to 31 December, down $131.8m (£107m) on the same period last year, reflective of lower media spend, “reductions in corporate payroll, retail field expenses and other variables”.

Revenue fell from $1.13bn (£917m) during the second quarter of 2023 to $792.7m (£643m). Peloton’s total revenue figure for the quarter comprises $381.4m (£309.3m) in sales of connected fitness products and $411.3m (£333.6m) in subscriptions. Over the three months to 31 December, the brand made a net loss of $335.4m (£272m).

Despite the loss, CEO and president Barry McCarthy described the second quarter result as by far Peloton’s “best quarterly performance” in his 12 months at the company. He also pointed to improvements in the “talent density” of the leadership team, noting the appointment last month of former Twitter marketing boss Leslie Berland as CMO.

Reporting to McCarthy, Berland’s remit spans brand and product marketing, creative, consumer insights, membership and global communications.

According to the CEO, the plan for 2023 is to return to year on year revenue growth, attract at least 1 million prospective members to trial the Peloton App, “restore international growth” and expand “corporate wellness” and other commercial partnerships.

“If this past year has been about restructuring Peloton’s business and stabilising its financial performance (and it has been), then almost certainly the next 12 months will be about capturing the moment to restore Peloton’s growth as we lean into the future of connected fitness,” McCarthy adds.

BrewDog takes on Guinness with stout launch

BrewDog Black Heart
Source: BrewDog

BrewDog is looking to steal market share from Guinness with the launch of new stout Black Heart.

Making direct comparisons with Diageo’s flagship product, BrewDog CEO James Watt described Black Heart as a “21st century stout” that offered consumers choice beyond just “one option”.

“When was the last time you walked into a bar and saw a stout on tap that wasn’t ‘that’ one? You know the one. First brewed in 1759, comes from a big brewery in Dublin, starts with a ‘G’,” Watt wrote in a LinkedIn post.

“Your lager choices aren’t the same. Neither are your pale ales, or IPAs. So why stout? Why just the one option?”

Available in BrewDog bars nationwide, the Scottish brewer began trailing the Black Heart launch on social media on 31 January, asking its Twitter followers to name the first thing they think of when they hear the word ‘stout’. In response BrewDog tweeted: “Getting a lot of replies about old people and an Irish product that begins with the letter ‘G’.”

Earlier this week, the brewer also published the results of an anonymous staff survey, which Watt claimed showed “huge strides forward” in improving the business culture following allegations made by former staff of a “toxic” working environment.

He said the survey revealed BrewDog was scoring “significantly better” than the hospitality industry, pointing to the decision made last year to share 50% of each bar’s profits with the team. Watt also credited his move to give salaried employees £100m of his equity in the company to ensure they had a stake in the business.

“I know we’ve had our detractors in the past and I will always hold my hands up personally where we haven’t got things right,” said the BrewDog CEO. “But it suits some agendas to say we’ve done nothing, when the reality is we have done so, so many brilliant things that make us a great place to work.”

ChatGPT explores subscription fee

AI chatbot ChatGPT is trialling a $20 (£16) a month subscription fee for users in the US, as creator OpenAI seeks to “refine and expand” the experience.

Known as ChatGPT Plus, the subscription service will offer members general access to the conversational AI chatbot during peak times, faster response times and priority access to new features and improvements.

The company says it will begin inviting people from its waiting list to join over the coming weeks, with plans in place to expand access to the subscription service beyond the US to other countries and regions. OpenAI says it is also exploring options for lower-cost plans, business plans and “data packs”.

The company will continue to offer free access to ChatGPT, claiming that offering subscription pricing will help support free access for as many people as possible.

OpenAI says it is still learning about the system’s strengths and weaknesses, having already made “several important updates” based on the feedback of the “millions of people” who have used the chatbot to date.

The company reports that since the system launched in November it has already seen users utilising ChatGPT for drafting and editing content, brainstorming ideas and learning about new topics. While the company is yet to release any further user data, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman tweeted within days of launch to confirm the service had been used more than 1 million times.

READ MORE: ChatGPT firm trials $20 monthly subscription fee

Global hits 26 million weekly listeners

Global has hit 26.3 million weekly listeners, marking the commercial radio station’s highest audience figures to date.

Claiming the top three radio brands in the UK – Heart, Capital and Smooth – according to fourth quarter RAJAR figures, Global also recorded an all-time high share of the radio market at 25.4%.

Over the period, Heart reached 10.9 million listeners weekly, over 3 million more than Radio 1, making it the UK’s number one commercial radio brand in terms of reach, hours and share. According to the RAJAR data, Heart’s weekly reach is up 750,000 compared to last quarter.

Capital reached 7.7 million weekly listeners during the fourth quarter, adding 314,000 new listeners in three months, while 5.8 million people tuned into Smooth Radio over the period, with the radio brand adding 255,000 new listeners.

Elsewhere, news talk station LBC now attracts more than 3.1 million weekly listeners, while Classic FM added 325,000 listeners over the quarter, taking it to a total of 5 million weekly listeners.

Describing the results as “magnificent”, director of broadcasting and content, James Rea noted that audiences have increased across each radio brand in the Global stable.

Beyond Global, Bauer Media Audio UK also achieved record listening numbers during the quarter, increasing its audience by 5% year on year to 21.6 million.

Bauer’s Hits Radio Brand Network, comprising Hits Radio and Greatest Hits Radio Networks, grew 20.2% over the period to 10.1 million listeners, while the Absolute Radio Network reached 5.2 million listeners.

Wednesday, 1 February

Mondelez UK sales ‘holding up well’ despite HFSS restrictions in-store

Cadbury’s parent company Mondelez has reported a less significant impact on sales than expected from the introduction of high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) restrictions in UK stores, with CEO Dirk Van de Put expecting volumes to return to growth in the near future.

While the full extent of the government’s plan to restrict the advertising and promotion of HFSS foods has yet to be finalised, the first wave of restrictions were introduced in October, placing limitations on where products can be promoted in-store. Stores over 2,000 sq ft are no longer allowed to place HFSS items near checkouts, entrances or at the end of aisles, with additional limitations in place online.

Around 40% of the chocolate and snacks company’s UK sales are “impulse” buys, so the new rules have had some effect on sales, Van de Put admitted on a call with investors yesterday (31 January). However, initial signs suggest that impact is “less bad” than expected, as the business partners with stores to find secondary promotional locations and to make its brands stand out in aisles.

Category volumes were down 1.1% in December, and down 4.5% over the last 12 weeks.

“I would say the category is holding up quite well as it relates to the changes we’re seeing in-store… yes, there is an effect, but it’s far from the magnitude that we could have taken, and I’m expecting that [as] the consumer gets used to this new setup of the stores that the volume growth will come back,” he said.

Meanwhile, 2022 was a “record year” for Mondelez. Net revenues increased 9.7% to $31.5bn (£25.6bn), while gross profit increased by $58m (£47.1m) to $11.3bn (£9.2bn).

Paperchase’s chief digital officer exits following Tesco acquisition

Chief digital officer and marketer Rhea Fox has left Paperchase following the acquisition of the ailing retailer’s brand by Tesco.

Tesco bought the brand and its IP shortly after it went into administration yesterday (31 January), but will not be taking on Paperchase’s store estate. The news leaves the jobs of 820 shop staff in doubt, as well as those of head office employees, following a difficult few years for the business as costs have risen while sales have suffered.

Announcing her departure on LinkedIn, Fox wrote: “I’m immensely proud of the work our team did on replatforming and reforming CRM/performance marketing – driving site-record CTR [click through rate], AOV [average order value] and conversion.

“For my contacts recruiting e-commerce traders, copywriters and product managers, there are fantastic ex-Paperchasers available. It’s been a privilege to work on a much-loved brand with a very talented team.”

Tesco plans to sell the stationary brand’s products in its stores across the UK. The supermarket’s managing director of home and clothing, Jan Marchant, called Paperchase a “well-loved brand” and said the acquisition will further Tesco’s plans to “bring more brands and inspiration to the ranges we currently offer”.

In a separate announcement, Tesco announced plans to cut more than 2,000 roles across its stores, replacing 1,750 team manager posts with lower paid shift leader positions. The grocer will also close its counters and hot delis due to lack of customer demand, as well as eight pharmacies.

Asda announced similar sweeping job cuts last week, as it also cuts the number of pharmacies in its stores and reduces the opening hours of its Post Office outlets.

Snap forecasts up to 10% revenue decline this quarter

Source: Shutterstock

Snap, parent company of social media platform Snapchat, has warned revenue for the first quarter of 2023 could decline by as much as 10%, as the business struggles amid a challenging digital advertising market.

The business generated $4.6bn (£3.7bn) in revenue in 2022, up 12% compared to 2021. However, revenue in the fourth quarter remained flat at $1.3bn (£1.1bn).

In a letter to shareholders, the business said its Q4 revenue was impacted by an 11% decline in its brand-oriented advertising business, despite growing revenue in its direct response business by 4%.

The number of advertisers spending on Snapchat did increase, however, as did the platform’s audience. The number of daily active users grew by 300,000 to 375 million.

But overall the company reported a net loss of $288m (£234m), compared to the $23m (£18.7m) profit reported for 2021. Shares in the business fell by almost 15% following the announcement.

2022 was a challenging year for our business, as we continued to experience the impact of macroeconomic headwinds, platform policy changes, and increased competition,” the company said.

“Given this challenging operating environment, we’ve taken action to refocus our investments to support our three strategic priorities: growing our community and deepening their engagement with our products, accelerating and diversifying our revenue growth, and investing in the future of augmented reality.”

Across 2022, Snap’s shares have tumbled by around 80% as it has battled with inflation, a slowing digital ad market, and growing competition from the likes of TikTok. In August the business cut 20% of its workforce, or 1,300 employees, which led to projects such as drone camera Pixy and Snap Originals being axed.

PayPal becomes latest tech firm to announce mass job cuts

PayPal is planning to cut around 2,000 jobs, or 7% of its workforce, as the online payments service continues to address the “challenging macroeconomic environment”.

Already a number of tech giants have announced major job cuts this year, including Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

In a statement delivered to staff, president and CEO Dan Schulman said PayPal had so far made “substantial progress” in “right-sizing” its cost structure, while continuing to invest to meet “customers’ needs”. However, there is “more work to do”.

“We must continue to change as our world, our customers, and our competitive landscape evolve,” he said. “Addressing these changes requires us to make hard decisions that will impact some of our colleagues.”

Some areas of the business will be more affected by the layoffs than others, Schulman added, with more information to be shared with teams over the coming weeks.

“Change can be difficult – particularly when it includes valued colleagues and friends departing. We will face this head-on together, drawing on the unparalleled scale of our global platform, the strategic investments we have made to strengthen our core capabilities, and the trust and loyalty of our customers,” he said.

Earlier this year Amazon announced plans to cut over 18,000 jobs, while Alphabet is set to shed 12,000. Microsoft is expecting 10,000 job losses.

Shop price inflation jumps to new high

Shop prices have ‘yet to peak’, according to data from the BRC-NielsenIQ Shop Price Index, as annual shop price inflation accelerated to 8% in January.

This marks a 0.7 percentage point increase from the 7.3% inflation recorded in December, leaving shop prices at record highs.

Food inflation hit a new record of 13.8%, up from 13.3%, as did non-food inflation at 5.1%, up from 4.4%. Fresh food inflation accelerated to 15.7% due to increased food production costs and higher wholesale fruit and vegetable prices, while ambient food inflation hit 11.3% as sugar and alcohol wholesale and bulk prices rose.

“With global food costs coming down from their 2022 high and the cost of oil falling, we expect to see some inflationary pressures easing,” says CEO of the British Retail Consortium, Helen Dickinson.

“However, as retailers still face ongoing headwinds from rising energy bills and labour shortages, prices are yet to peak and will likely remain high in the near term as a result.”

Tuesday, 31 January


Ford follows Tesla in slashing electric vehicle prices

Ford is cutting the price of its Mustang Mach-E electric car models as it responds to “changes in the marketplace”.

It comes just two weeks after Tesla owner Elon Musk said the firm was slashing the price of its models for the first time.

Ford is reducing the price of all models by an average of 5.85% just six month after raising the figure, with reductions ranging from $600 for the Select eAWD Standard range, which now costs $48,995 (£39,684), to $5,900 for the GT Extended range, now $63,995 (£51,833).

Tesla, meanwhile, dropped the price of its Model 3 from a starting price of £48,490 to £42,990 and its Model Y Performance from £67,990 to £59,990.

Ford is also expanding production of the Mach E model, increasing capacity from a target of 78,000 units for customers in North America and Europe this year to 130,000 vehicles.

“We are responding to changes in the marketplace,” says Marin Gjaja, chief customer officer for Ford Model e-division. “We want to stay competitive.”

Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson predicted the ensuing price war after Tesla slashed its prices earlier this month. He also highlighted the seven pitfalls of price discounting Musk’s brand will now face as a result.

READ MORE: Ford’s slashing Mustang Mach-E prices in latest volley in EV price wars

UK expected to be only major economy to shrink in 2023

The UK economy is expected to shrink by 0.6% in 2023, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF), as high energy prices and inflation continue to bite.

The IMF had previously predicted the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would grow 0.3% this year, but has downgraded its forecast to reflect the “very challenging environment” and the UK’s “high dependence on liquid natural gas”.

The UK is the only country, both advanced or emerging, predicted to see a year of declining GDP, according to the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook.

IMF chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas told the BBC the UK had “fairly robust” growth at 4.1% in 2022, which was “one of the strongest growth numbers in Europe”.

“But it is true that we are forecasting a sharp slowdown in 2023, with growth that would turn even negative for the year,” he added.

“As a response to this high inflation there is a tightening of monetary policy by the Bank of England and in the UK this feeds quickly into mortgages, because a lot of mortgages are adjustable rates.”

The fact employment is still below pre-pandemic levels is also a factor, he said.

The IMF does expect the UK economy to bounce back in 2024, however, predicting growth of 0.9%, up from the 0.6% it stated previously.

READ MORE: UK only major economy to shrink in 2023 – IMF

Spending on promotions drops to lowest level since 2008

Supermarkets are seeking alternative ways to offer customers value, with the spending on promotions falling to its lowest level since at least 2008, according to Kantar.

Grocers are instead looking to bolster their own brand ranges, as well as offering everyday low prices and using their loyalty schemes to deliver value.

Indeed, sales of supermarkets’ own brand ranges have consistently grown over the past nine months. In January alone, own brand sales increased by 9.3% versus 1% for branded alternatives.

“Aldi, Waitrose and Lidl’s efforts seem to have been particularly well received by shoppers,” says Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insight, Fraser McKevitt. “Our latest customer satisfaction data shows that Aldi scores best on pricing and overall value for money, while Waitrose stands out for knowledgeable staff, product quality and clean shops. Meanwhile, Lidl delivers on easy access to stores and on-shelf availability.”

It comes as grocery price inflation hit a record 16.7% in the four weeks to 22 January, up 2.3 percentage points compared to December, and the highest level since Kantar began tracking it in 2008.

It means households now face paying an extra £788 per year on groceries if they don’t change their shopping behaviour.

Aldi was again the fastest growing supermarket in the UK, with sales up 26.9% year on year. Lidl’s sales increased by 24.1%.

Although its sales fell by 1.9%, Morrisons’ performance has continued to improve for the eleventh month in a row.

10 million customers affected by JD Sports cyber attack

JD sportsJD Sports says it has been hit by a cyber attack, which could impact millions of customers.

The retailer says the names, addresses, email accounts and order details of 10 million customers “may have been accessed” by hackers. The last four digits of these customers’ bank cards could also have been accessed.

JD Sports has apologised for the security breach and says it is contacting all affected customers.

“We want to apologise to those customers who may have been affected by this incident,” said Neil Greenhalgh, chief financial officer of JD Sports. “Protecting the data of our customers is an absolute priority for JD.”

The data relates to online orders placed between November 2018 and October 2020 on the JD, Size?, Millets, Blacks, Scotts and MilletSport brands.

READ MORE: JD Sports says 10 million customers hit by cyber-attack

EasyHotel appoints marketing director to drive growth

EasyHotel has appointed Daniel Thompson marketing director, one of five key hires as the chain looks to achieve its target of 100 hotels by 2026.

Thompson has worked across retail, media, gaming and property throughout his career, most recently as head of PR, brand and digital marketing at property management firm FirstPort. He has also held roles at Paramount and retailers Ocado, Iceland and Pep&Co.

His appointment comes as the low-cost hotel group looks to “maximise development opportunities”. EasyHotel has already opened its first hotel in Dublin this year, with further openings planned in Paris and Zurich in the coming months.

As well as strengthening its marketing operations, the hotel chain has also hired a European head of construction, a head of development in France and Belgium and a development analyst to help drive it expansion plans, as well as an IT manager to deliver the group’s digital strategy.

Karim Malak, CEO of easyHotel, says the appointments will “significantly enhance” its international offer.

“Last year the business saw strong financial results, introduced new hotels to the portfolio, as well as a support office in Paris, and launched a new design of our low-carbon rooms, in partnership with Saguez & Partners. 2023 is set to be an even bigger year as we expand further across Europe and implement low-carbon investment throughout the network.”

Monday, 30 January

Flybe collapses and cancels all flights

Airline Flybe collapsed into administration in the early hours of Saturday morning (28 January), resulting in all its flights being immediately cancelled.

The airline had operated routes from Belfast, Birmingham and London Heathrow to airports across the UK and to Amsterdam and Geneva. On Saturday morning, some passengers scheduled to travel found out the airline had gone into administration hours before they were due to fly.

David Pike and Mike Pink from Interpath Advisory have been appointed as the joint administrators of Flybe. Interpath said around 75,000 customers had future bookings with the airlines.

Sky News reports 277 of Flybe’s 321 staff have been made redundant. The remaining 44 have been retained.

Flybe only resumed operations in April 2022, after it collapsed into administration in March 2020 when the pandemic took hold in the UK. Around 2,500 staff were made redundant at this point. It was bought by Thyme Opco Ltd, a company related to hedge fund Cyrus Capital for an undisclosed sum.

READ MORE: Flybe collapses and cancels all flights, with hundreds of jobs lost

Number of UK companies issuing profit warnings rises 50% in 2022

The number of UK companies which issued warnings over profit last year rose by 50% to 305. That figure represents almost 18% of UK-listed companies.

Consumer facing businesses were the most likely to issue these warnings to investors, with over one third in the sector doing so. Some 36 retailers and 25 travel and leisure companies issued profit warnings in 2022, according to analysis from EY Parthenon.

Clothing brand Superdry became the latest listed business to issue a profit warning on Friday (27 January). It told investors it was likely to just break even this year, after its wholesale business has struggled post-pandemic.

Rising costs were the most common reason cited for businesses struggling when profit warnings were made. The last three months of the year saw the slowdown of the UK economy begin to kick in for businesses. In this period, one in five of those issuing profit warnings cited waning consumer confidence as a reason.

The number of companies to issue warnings in the second half of 2022 was 169, representing the highest total in this period since 2015.

While warnings were up 50% on 2021, they were down from 2020. In the year which saw the pandemic take hold, 35% of UK-listed companies issued warnings.

READ MORE: UK company profit warnings up 50% last year

Nike and Tiffany tease collaboration

Source: Shutterstock

A collaboration between Nike and Tiffany & Co has been teased on Instagram by both brands.

Both Nike and Tiffany posted photos to the social media platform of a Nike shoebox in the luxury jewellery brand’s signature blue. The image bears the text “A Legendary Pair”. The collaboration between the two brands had been rumoured for some time.

There is no word on when the collaboration might be launched, with the Instagram posts simply stating, “coming soon”.

Tiffany has been shaking up its marketing presence since it was acquired by Louis Vuitton owner LVMH in 2021. Since then, the brand has been appealing to a more youthful audience through moves like enlisting Beyonce and Jay-Z for an ad campaign and collaborating with clothing brand Supreme.

In its recent trading update, LVMH called 2022 a “record year” for the jewellery brand driven by “increased desirability”.

Collaborations are a staple of Nike’s marketing playbook. It has collaborated with athletes and celebrities, as well as brands as diverse as Louis Vuitton and Ben and Jerry’s.

Costcutter owner takes stake in Sainsbury’s

Bestway Group, which is one of the UK’s largest grocery wholesalers and the owner of convenience store chain Costcutter, has bought a £200m stake in Sainsbury’s.

This gives it a 3.45% stake in the group, making it the sixth biggest shareholder in the supermarket chain. The group said it “may look” at acquiring more shares in the company “subject to availability and price”.

The group, which acquired Costcutter in early 2021 and also owns the Well Pharmacy chain, said it was not considering a takeover bid for Sainsbury’s. Under takeover panel rules, this prevents it from making a bid in the next six months, unless a rival takeover bid emerges.

However, The Telegraph reports Bestway executive Dawood Pervez, the son of the firm’s founder, discussed taking over the supermarket chain last year. Costcutter founder Colin Graves told the newspaper he had discussed a takeover bid with Pervez around 10 months ago.

Pervez had expressed concerns that the Bestway Group needed pulling together, as it was currently too fragmented.

“I told him that the simplest answer would be to go out and to take Sainsbury’s private and combine the two groups. And it now looks like Bestway has taken my advice,” he said.

Shares in Sainsbury’s rose 6.6% when it was announced Bestway had taken a stake.

READ MORE: Costcutter owner Bestway takes near £200m stake in Sainsbury’s

Walkers launches competition to find heart-shaped crisp

Walkers is launching a campaign ‘Love From Walkers’, to give consumers the chance to win £100,000.

The crisp brand is asking UK consumers to find a heart-shaped crisp in their packet of Walkers and upload it to social media for a chance to win the cash prize.

The competition will be promoted through an out-of-home campaign, with posters being placed in strategic cities such as London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds. The campaign has been developed with Walkers’ agency of record VCCP.

The posters, which are designed to mimic reward posters, will also appear on trains travelling through the West Midlands, South East and London.

Entrants to the competition must take a picture of their heart-shaped crisp on a plain surface and share it on either Twitter or Instagram, tagging and following @walkers_crisps with the hashtag #LoveFromWalkers for a chance to win.

“January is a notoriously dreary month for many, so we wanted to bring a little joy and levity to people’s lives to start the year,” says the brand’s senior marketing manager Rachael Smith.

“Through our hunt for the best heart shaped crisp we aim to do exactly that, by sharing some of the love that we receive as the nation’s most-loved crisps – and give people the chance to win a life-changing prize while enjoying their favourite snack.”



    Leave a comment