Mike Ashley attempts to take full control of Debenhams
Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has launched a coup in a bid to take full control of Debenhams.
The move would see the retail tycoon appointed to the board and oust all directors except for the retailer’s finance director. He would step down from his current roles at Sports Direct.
Ashley already owns a 30% share of the ailing department store, with his growing portfolio including House of Fraser, Flannels, Evans Cycles and Sofa.com.
Debenhams says it is “disappointed” with Sports Direct.
“The board has been engaging with Sports Direct and our other stakeholders and is disappointed that Sports Direct has taken this action,” it said.
“In the meantime, we remain focused on delivering the restructuring of our balance sheet, and our discussions are well advanced.”
LK Bennett goes into administration
LK Bennett has collapsed into administration, putting the future of its 39 shops and 500 jobs at risk.
Accountancy firm EY, which has been put in charge of the process, has blamed rising business rates and rents for the fashion brand’s administration.
It has shut five stores with immediate effect but says it is hopeful it will find a buyer and will work to ensure trading will continue. Web sales, however, will be temporarily suspended.
In a note to staff, founder Linda Bennett said she had “fought as hard” as she could to “turn the business into the success” she knows it deserves to be, adding: “These are difficult and unstable times, and we are doing everything we can to identify the best way forward.”
The retailer reported an operating loss of almost £6m in the year to the end of July 2017, with accounts showing that founder Bennett has invested around £11.2m into the business.
Facebook and Comic Relief team up for Red Nose Day
Facebook users in the UK will be able to donate to Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day campaign this year straight from their news feed.
People will also be able to raise funds via the social network’s fundraiser tool, as well as donate directly to Comic Relief on its Facebook page.
Meanwhile, Facebook will match up to £1m in donations made to the charity on Red Nose Day on 15 March.
“Since Facebook launched its charitable giving tools, we have seen our community mobilise around causes they care about and raise millions of pounds for charities,” says Anita Yuen, Facebook’s head of social good partnerships for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
“Red Nose Day is an institution in the UK and Comic Relief is a charity which has helped so many thousands of people over the years. We’re happy that Facebook can support in their work and help even more people get involved by making fundraising and donating even easier.
Alpro unveils first fully edible takeaway
Alpro has created a 100% plant-based, zero waste takeaway meal in entirely edible packaging.
The ‘Plant-Based Bucket’ is a twist on a traditional chicken and chips meal deal, with mushroom ‘nuggets’, sweet potato fries and a creamy garlic dip served in packaging made from a combination of nuts, seeds and spices.
‘PBB’ launches in London and Manchester this week for Plant Power Day and is available via Deliveroo Editions for £5 (including delivery).
“We’ve always said that the future of food is plant-based, because this way of eating is good for people, and good for the planet – and now, thanks to Alpro, plant-based could be the future for takeaways too,” says Stephanie Balsom-Eynon, head of plant power at Alpro.
“For us, it’s even more exciting to bring this ‘world first’ to life on Plant Power Day,” continues Balsom-Eynon, “because we created this day to encourage people to add more plants to their plates and see how tasty and exciting easy it can be.
“Hopefully, in launching PBB, we will inspire even the most carnivorous Deliveroo customers to give plant-based eating a try – on Plant Power Day, and beyond.”
Co-op joins ethical living app
Co-op has become the first nationwide retailer to join ethical living app CoGo, which helps businesses to tap into the opportunities available in the world of conscious consumerism.
286 London Co-op stores will feature on the CoGo app, connecting with consumers on the issues they care about and to position the retailer as a “champion of ethical trade”.
CoGo links businesses to consumers’ payment cards, providing insight on how spending is benefiting them and their communities. It also allows shoppers to be matched to local, ethical and sustainable businesses that align with the values they care about.
Ali Jones, customer director at Co-op, says joining up with GoGo is a “natural fit” for the supermarket.
“At Co-op we’ve been taking action on what matters most for decades,” Jones says. “We listen to our members and customers to shape our policies and energise our work.
“The products we sell impact millions of people, communities around the world, as well as the planet and that’s why we work hard to make our products different, we always have done. To make them good for our customers, and the planet we share.”
Thursday, 7 March
Zuckerberg outlines privacy-focused future for Facebook in major overhaul
Mark Zuckerberg has outlined his vision for a private and secure communications platform that enables people to “connect more naturally”.
In a blog post, he says while Facebook and Instagram have helped people connect with friends, communities and interests publicly in “the digital equivalent of a town square”, private messaging and small groups are “by far the fastest growing areas of online communication”.
“As I think about the future of the internet, I believe a privacy-focused communications platform will become even more important than today’s open platforms. Privacy gives people the freedom to be themselves and connect more naturally, which is why we build social networks,” he says.
While he admits Facebook is perhaps not in the strongest position to talk about privacy given the various scandals it’s been hit by in recent years, he believes there’s an opportunity to build a “simpler platform that’s focused on privacy first”.
“I understand that many people don’t think Facebook can or would even want to build this kind of privacy-focused platform – because frankly we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services, and we’ve historically focused on tools for more open sharing.”
But he says the business can “evolve to build the services that people really want”, which he believes is private messaging and stories.
“I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever. This is the future I hope we will help bring about.”
He outlined six new principles of privacy and safety for Facebook and messaging, including private interactions, encryption, reducing permanence, safety, interoperability, and secure data storage.
Paddy Power bets on name change as it looks to take on US
Paddy Power Betfair wants to change its name to Flutter Entertainment as it looks to diversify the company and gain an “early leadership position” in the US sports betting market following the overturn of a federal ban last May.
The firm’s CEO Peter Jackson says: “The opening of the US online sports betting market has the potential to be the most significant development to occur within the sector since the advent of online betting. Rather than announcing our plans, we have moved quickly to give ourselves the best chance to win in that market.”
It comes as Paddy Power Betfair posts profit before tax of £219m for the year ending 31 December, down 11% on 2017, while revenue rose 7% to £1.87bn.
The decision to change its name to Flutter Entertainment is subject to approval by shareholders at an upcoming general meeting.
BBC plans to update iPlayer to rival Netflix
The BBC must plan for a future where many people never watch its traditional TV channels and iPlayer is a rival to Netflix, according to an upcoming speech to be made by director general Tony Hall.
He is expected to outline a future for iPlayer that goes beyond catch-up TV, with proposals for more titles, box sets and programmes to be available for at least 12 months after being broadcast, rather than just a month, according the Guardian.
There are also plans to introduce more live programmes and archive material, as he believes the platform has lost the advantage it had when it launched a decade ago thanks to regulation and increased competition.
His proposal comes a week after the BBC joined forces with ITV to launch streaming service BritBox.
Nestlé to increase number of top female execs to 30% by 2022
Nestlé is accelerating its plan to increase the number of women in senior executive positions globally over the next three years to drive “better decisions, stronger innovation and higher employee satisfaction”.
The FMCG giant has increased the number of women in managerial positions to 43% in recent years. It now plans to boost the proportion of women in the group’s top 200 senior executive positions from around 20% today to 30% by 2022 as part of its Gender Balance Acceleration Plan.
To achieve its goal, Nestlé will be support managers to foster an inclusive workplace and ensure they are trained on unconscious bias; encourage the use of Nestlé’s paid parental leave programme and flexible work policies; and enhance mentoring and sponsorship programmes to prepare high-potential women for senior executive positions. It also plans to hire and promote more women in senior executive positions; and ensure it pays men and women equally by eliminating conditions that create gender pay gaps.
It will review results with senior leaders and report progress in its annual Creating Shared Value report.
Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider says: “We believe that a more diverse workforce with more women at the top will reinforce our inclusive culture and make Nestlé an even better company. We are setting measurable goals to hold ourselves accountable. We know that improving gender balance will lead to better decisions, stronger innovation and higher employee satisfaction.”
Oasis unveils brand refresh
Fashion retailer Oasis has unveiled a brand refresh and will be launching a new ad campaign next week, featuring presenter and activist Katie Piper, cook Nadiya Hussain and actress Kara Tointon.
The refresh includes a new brand identity and marketing proposition, including a new strapline, ‘Lovely does it’, while its signature bright pink has been toned down to a more subtle coral.
The changes have been made by new CEO Hash Ladha who joined the business in October and also oversees Warehouse.
Wednesday, 6 March
Mars, Kellogg’s and Mondelez given ad bans
Mondelez, Mars and Kellogg’s have all had ads banned by the ad regulator over inappropriate targeting for the first two and exaggerated health claims for the latter.
Mars’s offending ad was for its chewing gum brand Orbit, which shows a young couple kissing on a bed, with the boy wearing just his underwear. The ad was placed in Lego Masters on Channel 4’s on-demand service, which the Advertising Standards Authority deemed was inappropriate because the show is popular with children and the ad contained adult themes.
Mondelez was also reprimanded for inappropriately targeting children, this time with ads for its Cadbury’s Freddo chocolate bar. The ASA pulled it up for targeting children with food high in fat, sugar and salt and banned a poster, website, downloadable content and two YouTube videos.
Finally, Kellogg’s also had an ad banned for exaggerating the health claims around folic acid and its benefits to pregnant women.
The ASA has said none of the ads must appear in their current form again and reminded advertisers of their responsibilities around targeting and health claims.
PepsiCo creates global chief commercial officer role to run marketing
PepsiCo is shaking up its senior leadership team, creating a new position of global chief commercial officer as it looks to focus on its long-term strategy and on developing its commercial and marketing capabilities.
Laxman Narasimhan, currently CEO of Latin America, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa, is taking on the new role, which reports directly to CEO Ramon Laguarta. He will oversee PepsiCo’s global category groups, insights, commercialisation, design, global R&D, ecommerce and strategy.
Narasimhan joined PepsiCo in 2012 from McKinsey & Company, where he worked for almost 20 years in various positions including co-leader of its global consumer and shopper insights practice. Since joining PepsiCo he has held several senior leadership positions, most recently overseeing its food and beverage business across Latin America, Europe and Africa with a focus on finding synergies between the two organisations and developing talent.
Laguarta says of the appointment: “Laxman is the ideal executive to take on this important new role with his vast operating experience, strategic acumen and successful track record unlocking growth opportunities across our businesses and sectors. He will be instrumental as we sharpen our integrated long-term growth strategy and execute our plans to deliver sustainable, attractive marketplace and financial performance.”
The appointment comes alongside changes to delayer its leadership team as PepsiCo looks to become “faster and more locally focused”. Leaders of key businesses and geographies will now report directly to Laguarta, a move that has already been made in North America.
Just Eat sees revenues rise despite competition pressure
Online delivery service Just Eat reported a sharp rise in revenue in 2018, with its chairman Mike Evans saying the results show the “strategy set out last year is working”.
Revenue was up 43% to £779.5m, while the company reversed a loss in 2017 to report profits of £80m in 2018. Just Eat now expects full-year revenue for 2019 to come in at between £1bn and £1.1bn.
Just Eat now has six million active customers, with order growth up 28% to 221 million. In the UK, order growth was up 17% and it now serves a fifth of adults in the market, consolidating its number one position following the acquisition and integration of main rival HungryHouse.
Peter Duffy, interim CEO, comments: “We are creating a leading hybrid offering founded on our unrivalled marketplace, combined with the targeted roll-out of delivery. This gives our growing customer base access to the greatest choice of restaurants and drives even more orders to our Restaurant Partners, ultimately strengthening the network effects of our business.
“We have a clear plan for the year ahead as our highly experienced team works hard to accelerate the execution of our strategy and we remain focused on long-term returns for shareholders.”
Duffy took on the interim CEO role in January after former boss Peter Plumb stood down. Duffy joined Just Eat in May last year as chief customer officer, replacing global CMO Barnaby Dawe. He had previously worked in marketing roles at easyJet and Audi.
Virgin Atlantic drops make-up and skirts rule for female flight attendants as it looks to be more inclusive
Virgin Atlantic has dropped strict rules that forced female flight attendants to wear make-up and skirts as it looks to reflect shifting views about what staff should wear.
The move is reflective of a wider shift in the aviation industry, which had been notorious for putting a premium on female flight attendants’ appearance. At Virgin Atlantic, they were made to wear red skirts, red shoes and bold red lipstick, while British Airways still requires female flight attendants to wear makeup although it recently dropped its no trousers rule.
Newer airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet both have more relaxed rules. But on American Airlines female staff are required to wear lipstick or lip gloss.
“We want our uniform to truly reflect who we are as individuals while maintaining that famous Virgin Atlantic style,” says the airline’s executive vice-president Mark Anderson. “We have been listening to the views of our people and as a result have announced some changes to our styling and grooming policy that support this.”
The changes mean women are no longer required to wear make-up although the company’s guidelines still contain recommendations on lipstick and foundation. Trousers will also be provided as part of the uniform as standard where before they were only available if requested.
“Not only do the new guidelines offer an increased level of comfort, they also provide our team with more choice on how they want to express themselves,” Anderson adds.
Government puts focus on confidence in new THINK! driving campaign
The government is focusing its THINK! driving campaign on new drivers as it looks to address nerves around driving and offer tips to deal with the challenges of driving solo.
The campaign features a Jeff Bridges-style character – the Road Whisperer – who will feature in a series of films and GIFs throughout March. The films will focus on a series of tips relating to situations where new drivers might feel vulnerable or have the highest road casualties – including driving at night, on country roads and on motorways. Advice will also cover tyre safety and looking out for vulnerable road users.
Road safety minister Jesse Norman says: “Everyone feels some nerves when they’re on the road for the first time, but it takes a good driver to admit it.
“Confidence comes with time and practice, so it’s important to keep learning and build up experience to become a better driver. And that commitment to keep learning is what this THINK! campaign, with its tips and guidance, aims to create.”
The campaign, created by VMLY&R, comes after research found that while 17- to 30-year-old male drivers often feel vulnerable on the road but believe they need to appear confident in front of other people. It hopes to encourage young men to accept their inexperience and not give into the perceived pressure to perform.
It follows on from THINK’s ‘Mates Matter’ campaign which led to a big shift in young men’s attitude to drink driving. It is also part of wider measures from the Department for Transport to improve road safety, particularly among younger drivers.
Tuesday, 5 March
Paperchase and Giraffe announce closures in a bid to save costs
Stationary retailer Paperchase and fast casual dining chain Giraffe have become the latest casualties of the slump in consumer confidence, with both businesses looking to close locations across the UK.
Paperchase plans to close 145 of its stores, with a further 23 at risk as part of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) process that sees the retailer attempt to cut rents at its remaining locations by 50%.
The stationary retailer has been hit by fewer customers, surging costs and rising rents and rates. According to accounts filed at Companies House, reported by the BBC, Paperchase made a loss of £6.3m last year, despite turnover increasing by 6% driven by growth online and in its international business.
Closures are also imminent across the Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG), owner of the Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner chains, which is planning to shut 27 of a combined 87 restaurants, putting 340 jobs at risk. The brands are also expected to enter a CVA insolvency process.
Restaurants are set to close in Aberdeen, Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Holland Park, west London.
BRG acquired Giraffe from Tesco in 2016 for £13m and then the same year purchased the Ed’s Easy Diner chain for £10m, rolling the two chains into one company called Giraffe Concepts Ltd. The Guardian suggests that if creditors agree to the CVA, BRG will inject £10m into Giraffe Concepts.
Guinness celebrates debut partnership with Women’s Six Nations
Guinness is celebrating becoming an official partner of the 2019 Women’s Six Nations with a new ad campaign following the rivalry between two rugby playing sisters on opposing national teams.
Created by AMV BBDO the ‘Sisters’ campaign, released ahead of the England vs Scotland match on 16 March, tells the real-life story of sisters Harriet and Bridget Millar-Mills. Having grown up playing rugby together, the sisters went head-to-head in the 2013 Women’s Six Nations championship, playing for the opposing England and Scotland teams.
The latest advert in Guinness’ ‘Made of More’ series, Sisters is the brand’s first campaign championing players from the women’s game.
Niall McKee, head of Guinness Europe, says: “Harriet and Bridget have both had exceptional careers in rugby and no doubt the greatest experience was representing their country against each other in the 2013 Women’s Six Nations. We’re proud to be able to tell their story, especially in our first year as official partner of Women’s Six Nations.”
As a partner of the Women’s Six Nation’s championship, Guinness has sought to raise the profile of the championship by improving the player and fan experience on game days, including running an official ‘Pitchside Pundit’ at a number of games throughout the championship.
The brand’s interest in the women’s game supports its six-year deal as title sponsor of the men’s Six Nations Championship.
Aldi and Lidl continue to grow share despite slowing grocery market
Discounters Aldi and Lidl continue to grow their share and sales despite a general slowdown across the grocery market.
Aldi’s sales rose by 13.3% in the 12 weeks to 23 February compared to the same time last year, the greatest increase of any grocery retailer during the period according to Nielsen data. The supermarket also grew its market share to 8.9%, up from 8.1% during the same period in 2018.
Discount rival Lidl saw a 10.3% increase in sales, while the retailer managed to up its share of the UK grocery market from 5.5% to 5.9% during the 12 weeks to 23 February.
While the discounters are still behind the top four in terms of market share, they are making significant gains. The Nielsen data shows that while Tesco is still the UK’s biggest supermarket, its share fell from 27.2% in 2018 to 26.8% during the same period in 2019, with sales up 1.2%.
Asda’s share during the same period dropped to 13.8%, with sales up 0.9%, while Sainsbury’s claimed a 14.8% share, despite being the only supermarket to see a sales decrease, on this occasion of 0.9%. Morrisons now claims a 9.8% share of the UK grocery market, with sales rising 1.4% during the 12 weeks to 23 February.
Looking at the wider picture, growth across the grocery sector has slowed since January, with sales up 2.5% compared to 3.3% last month. The slowdown is attributed to a drop in average spend per visit from £16.30 from £16.70 last year, as shoppers are opting for convenience and buying ‘little and often’.
UK digital ad spend to hit £15bn in 2019
Digital advertising spend in the UK is expected to rise to £15bn in 2019, according to a new report by Barclays Corporate Banking.
The Adtech Ascendancy report suggests out-of-home (OOH) advertising has significant potential for growth in 2019, after digital OOH surpassed traditional outdoor for the first time last year. The report suggests more companies will opt for highly personalised targeting tied to specific locations.
Barclays also believes that merger and acquisition activity will continue at pace in marketing services this year, with private equity firms maintaining an interest in the sector and restructures at holding companies, such as WPP, presenting a range of opportunities.
Furthermore, the report identifies a shift towards better transparency in advertising, as traditional retainers are increasingly replaced by project-based activity meaning more open and straightforward pricing models will become the norm.
This shift will be combined with a preference among advertisers for “end-to-end solutions”, rather than engaging multiple agencies, while other brands opt to bring services in-house. While posing a challenge to some agencies, Barclays believes this will provide an opportunity to niche or specialist services, such as data-driven creative or innovative digital out-of-home.
Harrods launches podcast series
Harrods has launched its first podcast series as part of a renewed emphasis on editorial content across the wider business.
The six-part series ‘Harrods: True Tales of Luxury’, hosted by journalist Mariella Frostrup, asks high profile figures in the world of luxury to dissect the “true meaning of modern luxury”.
Recorded inside Harrods’ London department store, each podcast invites a guest to discuss an object they believe epitomises true luxury and explain its value to them. Guests include fashion designer Roksanda Illincic and beauty mogul Terri De Gunzberg.
“Luxury has never simply been about collecting objects; it is completely personal, experiential and unique,” says Harrods chief marketing and customer officer, Amanda Hill.
“Harrods’ story, as one of the great luxury emporiums of the world, is already well known and we believe we are uniquely placed to explore what luxury truly means in 2019.”
The launch of the podcast coincides with a greater emphasis on editorial. Last year Harrods made a number of high profile appointments to its content team, including former Elle editor-at-large Stacey Duguid, who was made fashion editorial director. While in 2018 Harrods launched on new social media channels and refreshed its magazine portfolio, this year the retailer plans ramp up its focus on video content.
Monday, 4 March
Ted Baker’s CEO Ray Kelvin resigns following accusations of ‘forced hugging’
Ted Baker’s chief executive Ray Kevin has resigned following allegations of inappropriate behaviour such as ‘forced hugging’ toward employees.
His resignation comes after he took a voluntary leave of absence last December after the allegations first came to light. An internal independent committee has since been investigating those claims.
Kelvin has been criticised by former and current staff for a supposed regime called ‘forced hugs’ and alleged harassment at its head office. He denies all allegations of misconduct but has agreed to resign as chief executive and director of Ted Baker immediately.
The company’s current acting chief executive Lindsay Page has agreed to continue in this role, while the board has asked David Bernstein to act as executive chairman.
Bernstein says: “Ray Kelvin founded the business 32 years ago and has, together with the fantastic team around him, been the driving force behind it becoming the global brand it is today. As founder and chief executive, we are grateful for his tireless energy and vision. However, in light of the allegations made against him, Ray has decided that it is in the best interests of the company for him to resign so that the business can move forward under new leadership.
“As a board of directors, we are committed to ensuring that that all employees feel respected and valued. We are determined to learn lessons from what has happened and from what our employees have told us and to ensure that, while the many positive and unique aspects of Ted’s culture are maintained, appropriate changes are made. Sharon Baylay has agreed to act as the designated non-executive director for engagement with the Ted workforce. Led by Lindsay, we are confident that the strong and experienced team we have in place will build the Ted culture and move the business forward.”
The investigation is ongoing and will focus on Ted Baker’s policies, procedures and handling of complaints. It is expected that law firm Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), which was called in to investigate the claims, will end its investigation later this month or in early April.
The company plans to appoint a permanent chief executive by late November.
UK’s drinks body cracks down on ‘offensive’ alcohol marketing
The body responsible for alcoholic drinks in Britain is cracking down on “offensive marketing” and introducing a new unit-based definition for immoderate consumption, set by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO.)
The changes form part of the Portman Group’s sixth edition of the code of practice on the naming, packaging and promotion of alcoholic drinks in order to align with changes in the industry and society.
Changes to the code suggest a drink’s name, packaging or promotional material shouldn’t cause offence, meaning producers need to be careful when referencing race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age.
Additionally, it recommends single-serve, non-resealable containers shouldn’t be more than four units following the change in the CMO guidelines from daily to weekly. Mitigating factors for products up to six units such as premium status, pricing and share message inclusion may be taken into account.
A product should not suggest any association with illegal behaviour, nor should it claim to have mind-altering qualities or that it could change mood or behaviour.
“In completing this review we have been conscious throughout of the need to drive up standards and provide better protection for consumers while at the same time supporting producers to innovate and bring forward new and exciting brands and products. Our latest Code update reflects changes in the industry and wider society and strikes the right balance between protection and creative freedom,” says John Timothy, the chief executive of the Portman Group.
He adds: “There was strong support in the consultation to introduce a new rule around offence, showing that the industry understands that responsible marketing needs to evolve in line with changing standards in society.”
The code applies to all alcohol promoted or marketed by producers in the UK and will come into force in September this year.
Aldi champions British farmers in new campaign
Aldi has launched a new advert celebrating the Great British Roast and its ongoing commitment to supporting British Farmers.
The 30-second spot, titled Mustard, was shot in Oxfordshire and features a family of farmers as they sit down to enjoy a beef roast. It is narrated by actor Hugh Bonneville and is designed to remind consumers that the German discounters’ meat is 100% British, Red Tractor Assured. Aldi was also the first retailer to follow the National Farmers Union (NFU) fruit and veg pledge.
David Hills, group director of marketing and communications at Aldi UK, says the supermarket has a longstanding commitment to British suppliers
“All of our core range fresh meat, eggs, milk, butter and cream is sourced from British suppliers and we remain dedicated to ensuring our customers get the very best quality products, at the best value every time they shop at Aldi,” he adds.
Last year Aldi agreed a three-year partnership with the Prince’s Countryside Fund with the aim of improving the prospects of family farm businesses and the quality of rural life.
The advert, created by McCann Manchester, first aired yesterday (3 March) on ITV.
Amazon to stop selling Dash buttons as consumers move on
Amazon has stopped selling Dash buttons because consumers are using other methods to buy products.
Dash buttons launched in 2015 and were designed to be stuck around the home and pressed to reorder specific items from the online retailer. They were connected to the home WiFi and would automatically place an order on Amazon when pressed.
However, subscriptions and automatic recording have since grown, making dash buttons a redundant purchasing method.
In January, a German Court deemed the buttons illegal because they didn’t let customers see the price of products when they were ordered, though Amazon claims it was working to make the shopping experience “convenient and easy, and in some cases, even disappear”.
UK government to restrict telecoms companies’ use of Huawei technology
The UK government is proposing new security guidelines for the nation’s telecoms operators that would restrict their use of equipment from China’s Huawei across their networks, according to the Telegraph.
The plans come in response to emerging concerns that the Chinese government could intercept or disrupt critical communications.
The Telegraph reports that industry sources believe officials are considering a 50% cap on the proportion of equipment that can be supplied by the Chinese giant as part of new recommendations likely to be made part of a government review into the telecoms supply chain.
It’s due to be compete in spring 2019.
The rules would apply to the UK’s four mobile networks and would include new 5G networks.
It is not yet known how these proposed rules will apply but telecoms industry officials are saying new policies should only apply to new procurement.
The news comes as Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, is suing Canada over her arrest at the request of the US.
Victoria’s Secret to close more than 50 stores
Victoria’s Secret will close 53 of its stores across the US as it faces mounting competition from lingerie startups and larger retailers and fails to meet consumers’ growing demands for more inclusivity.
The news comes after its parent company, L Brands, revealed sales at stores open for more than 12 months fell 7% during its more recent quarter.
Victoria’s Secret has mainly followed its playbook of using celebrity models wearing push-up bras but has failed to adapt to consumers demand for more custom-fitted bras and inclusive messaging and advertising.
CNN reports that the lingerie giant also used heavy discounts to lure shoppers into its stores over the holiday period.
During a call with analysts, L Brands CEO Stuart Burgdoefer says the company has been “more promotional than we would like over the last several years”.
Meanwhile, the company lost 3.8 million customers during the last two years to the likes of Amazon and American Eagle’s Aerie, according to GlobalData Retail.
Victoria’s Secret still has more than 950 stores in the US.