Oct 18, 2018

John Lewis trials £10,000 experience to lure in shoppers

John Lewis is trying to tempt shoppers to its new Cheltenham store by offering them a chance to have the shop to themselves if they spend £10,000. Retailers are having to go to more effort to attract shoppers who are choosing to buy online rather than in store. John Lewis' new Cheltenham store is hoping to win over customers with extensive personal shopping services, which allow the customer to sit back with a glass of sparkling wine while staff locate the items on their shopping list. "You...

Oct 18, 2018

'Facebook baby ads taunted me after stillbirth'

Anna England-Kerr was shown ads for cots, cribs and IVF, despite trying to turn them off.

Oct 18, 2018

Unilever sales growth picks up after spat

Sales growth accelerated at Unilever in the third quarter as the Anglo-Dutch consumer group increased prices to offset higher commodity costs. Pinar Ergun, an analyst at UBS, said the results would "Revive the debate on whether Unilever can sustainably strike the right balance" between raising prices and protecting volumes. Unilever needs to be able to raise prices to offset rising commodity costs on everything from petrol to plastics, but it must ensure it does not do too much, too fast, or...

Oct 18, 2018

EpiPen shortage: Chemists told to quiz parents on children's need

The guidance from NHS England relates to devices for children who weigh less than 25kg (four stone).

Oct 18, 2018

Facebook in fresh video metrics row

Legal action brought by advertisers claims the social network knew about problems in metrics in 2015.

Oct 18, 2018

Amazon creates 1,000 'highly skilled' jobs in three UK cities

Amazon has revealed plans to create more than 1,000 jobs in the UK in Manchester, Edinburgh and Cambridge. Doug Gurr, Amazon's UK country manager, described the new roles as "Silicon Valley jobs in Britain". Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, said the new positions were an "Enormous vote of confidence in the UK". Amazon will have about 27,500 employees in the UK by the end of this year, with 6,500 people in its corporate, AWS and R&D divisions. The development centre in Cambridge...

Oct 17, 2018

The Facebook cleaners: 'I've seen hundreds of beheadings'

What's it like to be someone who watches banned content on social media so you don't have to?

Oct 17, 2018

Asos: Animal print and plus-size clothing boost profits

Sales and profits at Asos continue to soar as the online fast fashion expands apace in Europe and the US. The firm posted a £500m rise in revenue to £2.4bn for the year to 31 August, while profit jumped 28% to £102m, just ahead of expectations. Shares in the fast-growing retailer have slumped this year after the firm missed analysts' forecasts. Asos maintained its guidance for the current year despite record investment. Chief executive Nick Beighton said : "The potential for our business is...

Oct 17, 2018

Opening Quote: Asos growth ‘slows’, Crest finance director goes

In July, Asos said sales growth had slowed to 21 per cent at constant currencies when analysts had been led to believe it would be 25 per cent - sending its share price down 10 per cent. Asos then warned full-year sales growth would be at the "Lower end" of a 25-30 per cent range. Reuters said the analysts' consensus estimates were for group revenue of £2.41bn and pre-tax profit of £101m. What was said: Chief executive Nick Beighton said "Quot;This has been another year of substantial...

Oct 17, 2018

Asos shares bounce as profit and sales climb

Shares in Asos, the online fashion retailer, rose as much as 15 per cent in early trading after the company met its downgraded forecasts for full-year profits and made no changes to its medium-term guidance. Pre-tax profit for the year to August 31 was £102m, up from £80m last year. John Stevenson, an analyst at Peel Hunt, said the results were "Outstanding" and pointed out Asos absorbed many costs at the operating level that other companies would treat as exceptional. Asos is spending around...

Oct 17, 2018

Why has Twitter banned 1500 accounts and what are NPCs?

Twitter has suspended hundreds of accounts after users on pro-Trump Reddit forum r/The Donald coordinated efforts to set up 'non-player character' profiles mocking liberals on the social networking site. The character "Is often used as a reaction image to represent feelings such as melancholy, regret or loneliness," according to Know Your Meme. When some of the accounts started tweeting false information regarding the upcoming mid-term elections, Twitter took action to suspend a number of the...

Oct 17, 2018

G4S branches out into cryptocurrency storage

G4S, the UK security company, has launched its first foray into the nascent crypto sector with a new digital currency storage service. G4S said it had already started providing the service to an unnamed cryptocurrency exchange based in Europe. In May, Nomura said it was developing custody services, while Goldman Sachs, Northern Trust and JPMorgan Chase have said they are exploring similar services. The new G4S "Secure vault storage" service, which will be available globally, uses technology...

Oct 17, 2018

eBay files lawsuit against Amazon over 'seller recruitment'

EBay has filed a lawsuit against Amazon, accusing the US retail giant of using illegal tactics to recruit sellers. Amazon declined to comment on the case, which follows a letter from eBay demanding an end to the activity. In the lawsuit filed in Santa Clara County, California, eBay says Amazon representatives created eBay accounts to solicit sellers, often sending messages within minutes of setting up their profiles. EBay was alerted to the issue a few weeks ago by a seller and asked Amazon...

Oct 16, 2018

Paul Allen: Microsoft co-founder and billionaire dies aged 65

The billionaire businessman, who also owned the Seattle Seahawks NFL team, died in Seattle on Monday.

Oct 16, 2018

UK cyber-centre thwarts hostile hackers

The UK's top cyber-defence centre has stopped Britain falling victim to almost 1,200 attacks in the last two years, its annual review reveals. The National Cyber Security Centre was currently defeating about 10 attacks every week, it said. Most of the attacks were carried out by state-sponsored hackers employed by hostile nations, it added. "We are calling out unacceptable behaviour by hostile states and giving our businesses the specific information they need to defend themselves," said...

Oct 16, 2018

Merlin shares hit by flatlining Legoland sales

Merlin Entertainments, the theme park operator behind Alton Towers and Legoland, revealed sales have flatlined at its previously fast-growing Lego-themed parks. Merlin said like-for-like revenues at its resorts division that comprises Alton Towers and Peppa Pig world, rose 8.3 per cent in the 40 weeks to October 6, compared to the same period last year. Growth at the Lego-themed attractions, which had previously been supported by releases of blockbuster Lego movies, came to a halt in a...

Oct 16, 2018

HSBC, Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered pull out of Saudi event

The chief executives of HSBC, Google and Credit Suisse have become the latest people to pull out of a business conference in Saudi Arabia next week. HSBC's John Flint, Google's Diane Greene and Credit Suisse's Tidjane Thiam will not now go to next week's event, dubbed "Davos in the Desert". It follows tensions between the US and Saudi Arabia over Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance. Ford chairman Bill Ford and Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi are among others not attending...

Oct 16, 2018

Audi fined £700m over diesel emissions scandal

AFP Audi has been fined €800m to settle an investigation by German prosecutors into violations of diesel emissions rules. Audi, whose ex-boss Rupert Stadler is being investigated over "Dieselgate", said affected cars spanned 2004-18. Audi said in a statement that some V6 and V8 diesel engines were "Placed on the market with an impermissible software function". In 2015, US investigators discovered that some VW diesel cars were fitted with what became known as "Defeat devices" to flatter...

Oct 16, 2018

Netflix soars on record subscriber total

Netflix shares jumped more than 10% in after-hours trade after the firm added more subscribers than forecast. The firm said it added nearly seven million members during the quarter, ending September with more than 137 million members world wide. The strong growth followed an unusually weak second quarter that had fanned worries about the online streaming firm's future. Netflix is among the first of the major US technology companies to report earnings to investors this quarter. Revenue...

Oct 15, 2018

Royal Mail staff claim their shares were sabotaged

Hundreds of Royal Mail staff have complained that they have been short-changed as a result of a dramatic fall in the company's share price. Since the announcement on 1 October the shares have fallen by 28%. However, Royal Mail said it had no choice but to tell the City as soon as it realised profits would be lower. Postal staff have waited five years to sell the free shares they were given at the time of privatisation. The shares have fallen by 45% since they peaked at 632p in May this year,...

Oct 15, 2018

Gatwick Airport second runway 'by the back door'

PA Gatwick Airport is due to unveil plans to use its emergency runway to increase capacity. Opponents to expansion at the West Sussex airport have called it "a second runway by the back door". The airport's spokesman said Gatwick was "Exploring how to make best use of its existing runways, including the possibility of bringing its existing standby runway into routine use". The airport was also looking at using the existing runway "More intensely", aided by the use of modern technology, the...

Oct 15, 2018

Twitter exposes X Factor 'first class' trickery

If you tuned into the X Factor on Saturday, you might recall footage of excited contestants enjoying the high life in business class. An X Factor spokesperson said in a statement: "The contestants were shown sampling the business class cabins." The singers were seen posing for selfies and saying "First class" to the camera as they enjoyed drinks in the business class cabins. "The X Factor's statement in full read:"As part of Aer Lingus' partnership with X Factor, we flew contestants to...

Oct 15, 2018

Ford boss warns on 'disastrous' no-deal Brexit

The car giant's European boss says a no-deal Brexit could affect Ford's UK investment plans.

Oct 15, 2018

Virgin Media faces 'power issue'

Virgin Media says it is investigating a problem which has left many customers in London without internet access and TV services. The problems were first reported on tracking website Down Detector at about 16:00 BST. Virgin Media said engineers were working to fix the "Power issue". It said the problem was confined to London and was not a nationwide issue. Virgin Media's customer support line is currently so busy that the company has advised people to call another day. "A Virgin Media...

Oct 14, 2018

Unilever U-turn shows how angry shareholders are securing change

Iain Richards, head of responsible investment at Columbia Threadneedle and one of the consumer goods company's biggest shareholders, lambasted Unilever in a rare public statement in March, accusing the maker of Dove soap of not engaging with investors ahead of its decision. Unilever's about-turn was the latest example of how disgruntled shareholders are successfully pushing for change at the companies they invest in, after years of being criticised for not holding businesses to account. We...

Oct 14, 2018

West Coast rail: Virgin Trains and Stagecoach net £51.2m in dividends

Virgin Trains and Stagecoach shared in £51.2m worth of dividends from the West Coast main line railway, shortly before walking away from another franchise. The details come after the firms' East Coast franchise collapsed in June, with the government losing out on £2.3bn. Virgin said strong performance had led to record payments for taxpayers. Virgin owns 51% of the operator which runs the West Coast main line connecting London to Glasgow - known as Virgin Rail Group - while Stagecoach owns...

Oct 14, 2018

Barclays to challenge Goldman’s Marcus in US retail banking

Barclays is launching a US current account that will put the British bank in competition with Goldman Sachs' Marcus for customers who want the low costs of a digital-only bank and the security of dealing with a major financial institution. Barry Rodrigues, head of cards and payments at Barclays International, said the bank would "Leverage Barclays' UK knowledge and expertise" to create a current, or checking, account for its US online bank, which already offers credit cards, savings and loans...

Oct 12, 2018

Sky battles: Fighting back against rogue drones

Rogue drones have nearly caused air accidents, have been used as offensive weapons, to deliver drugs to prisoners, and to spy on people. Other security firms have installed net capture tech into interceptor drones that can lock onto a rogue drone and disable it in mid-air. Metis Aerospace boss Tony Burnell says: "We're looking at the protection of privacy and illegal and nuisance drones around football stadia, sports events, music venues and so on." A series of sensors around the perimeter of...

Oct 12, 2018

Sports Direct buys iconic Glasgow Frasers building

Sports Direct plans to buy the House of Fraser building in Glasgow in a £95m deal. The store, which is owned by a pension fund administered by Glasgow City Council, will continue to trade as Frasers. Sports Direct bought Frasers out of administration in August, acquiring 59 stores throughout the UK. The billionaire founder of the company, Mike Ashley, later paid a surprise visit to the store on Glasgow's Buchanan Street. The building is owned by the Strathclyde Pension Fund, which is...

Oct 12, 2018

Climate change: Is your Netflix habit bad for the environment?

Mr Andrae says data centres being built across the world need to be fed by renewable energy to minimise these emissions. The European Commission-funded Eureca project found that data centres in EU countries consumed 25% more energy in 2017 compared with 2014. Every time you sit down to watch or listen to something online, the amount of energy consumed might change. A mobile using wi-fi consumes less energy than one connected to 3G or 4G. Even if you're not using your device, by having home...