Jan 29, 2020

Coronavirus: Starbucks closes 2,000 Chinese branches

Starbucks has closed half of its outlets in China to protect its staff and support government efforts to contain the coronavirus. Starbucks has almost 4,300 outlets in China, making it the company's largest market outside the US. The number of deaths from the virus has risen to more than 130 and almost 6,000 confirmed infections. Starbucks chief executive Kevin Johnson said the firm was "Navigating a very dynamic situation". Starbucks opened its first Chinese store in Beijing in January 1999....

Jan 28, 2020

Insurer Aviva apologises to mistaken Michaels

Several thousand Aviva customers have received an apology after the insurer mistakenly called them all Michael. Michael has recently slipped in popularity among baby names. One accidental Michael, a life insurance customer whose real name is Andrew, said he was worried that the mistake may have signalled other errors. Aviva said customers, of any name, should not be concerned as there were no wider privacy issues. "We've apologised to these customers and reassured them that the only error in...

Jan 28, 2020

Northern Rail: Your tales of 'atrocious' service

Ian says he loves Buckshaw and its "Fantastic facilities", but says the train service into Manchester is "Lacking". "We're running old trains," he says, "And for the money that you pay for a ticket to go to Manchester, I think the actual service is atrocious." Stacey has a young family and says having to make up the time at work is tricky: "If the train's late or it's cancelled, I'm knackered. So I've got to then start trying to get after-school care, which instantly costs me £20.". He's put...

Jan 28, 2020

Twitter and Facebook accounts for 15 NFL teams hacked

More than a dozen teams in the US National Football League have had their social media accounts hacked. The Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts for 15 teams were compromised. Twitter confirmed the accounts were hacked by a third-party platform. "As soon as we were made aware of the issue, we locked the compromised accounts and are working closely with our partners at the NFL to restore them." It has hacked the Twitter accounts of Netflix, Marvel, Google's chief executive Sundar Pichai,...

Jan 28, 2020

Coronavirus: Facebook staff told to avoid China travel

Facebook has become the first big US firm to tell staff to avoid travelling to China, as the death toll from the coronavirus rises. China has imposed further restrictions on travel in and out of Hubei province, where the virus originated, as it tries to curb the spread of the virus and transport links in and out of the capital Wuhan is effectively in lockdown. Facebook, which has a division in China selling products such as Oculus virtual reality headsets, has asked employees to halt...

Jan 28, 2020

UK probes National Grid and ScottishPower over undersea cable

National Grid and ScottishPower, the UK arm of Spain's Iberdrola, are under investigation by Britain's energy market watchdog over the delivery and operation of a giant £1.3 billion subsea power cable to carry surplus electricity from Scottish wind farms to England and Wales. The joint project, which was billed at the time as the world's largest subsea interconnecting power cable, was originally due to be completed in late 2015 but electricity did not start flowing through until December...

Jan 28, 2020

Philips to sell unit as it focuses on healthcare

Royal Philips has said it is weighing the sale of its domestic appliances arm as the Dutch conglomerate seeks to focus on the healthcare sector. Over the past decade it has homed in on the healthcare sector, marketing equipment and services. The group on Tuesday reported overall sales of €19.5bn for 2019, up 4 per cent from the previous year on strong demand from China. Profit margins rose 0.1 percentage points to 13.2 per cent of sales, falling short of the company's target "Due to...

Jan 28, 2020

Ryanair boss says UK was ‘blindsided by billionaires’ over Flybe

Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary has accused the government of being blindsided by billionaires in his latest caustic intervention over a state rescue package for the struggling airline. The email, which responded to a government letter sent on January 24, continues Ryanair's public criticism of the government deal with regional airline Flybe, which Mr O'Leary describes as a "Failed business model". Publicly, Flybe has said its agreement with the government is not a bailout but a...

Jan 28, 2020

Ring doorbell 'gives Facebook and Google user data'

Amazon Ring Ring doorbells are providing customer data to companies such as Facebook and Google, an investigation suggests. The company told Gizmodo: "Like many companies, Ring uses third-party service providers to evaluate the use of our mobile app, which helps us improve features, optimise the customer experience and evaluate the effectiveness of our marketing." AppsFlyer, a big data company - a range of information, including sensor data related to the magnetometer, gyroscope and...

Jan 28, 2020

Deliveroo backers say UK regulator jeopardising start-up investment

Index Ventures and Accel partners claim CMA probe into Amazon deal harmful to sector

Jan 28, 2020

Human rights expert to keep Zuckerberg in check

Facebook has picked British human rights expert Thomas Hughes to lead its new oversight board. Mr Hughes started in the role a week ago, but Facebook is yet to announce who will sit on the board with him. Facebook, which will fund the board and its staff for at least six years, has also proposed a set of rules for the board to follow. "He [Hughes] will face enormous challenges making Facebook's oversight board credible," said Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group, a non-profit...

Jan 28, 2020

Apple 'closely monitoring' coronavirus

Apple chief Tim Cook said the firm is "Closely monitoring" the coronavirus outbreak, which has clouded its forecast for the upcoming quarter. Apple said sales in the last three months of 2019 rose 8% year-on-year to $91.8bn, while net profits increased 11% to reach $22.2bn. The gains were driven by demand for iPhones and accessories such as watches and AirPods and marked a change from recent performance, which had disappointed with weak iPhone sales. Overall, Apple said it made about $79bn...

Jan 25, 2020

Facebook and YouTube moderators sign PTSD disclosure

Content moderators are being asked to sign forms stating they understand the job could cause post-traumatic stress disorder, according to reports. The Financial Times and The Verge reported moderators for Facebook and YouTube, hired by the contractor Accenture, were sent the documents. The reports come as Facebook faces lawsuits from former content moderators over a range of mental health issues in California and Ireland. Case of PTSD and other mental health issues have been on the rise among...

Jan 24, 2020

Tesco chief executive on getting rid of multi-wrap plastic use

Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis on the plan to ditch the plastic wrap on tinned food.

Jan 24, 2020

Tesco to ditch plastic-wrap for multipack tins

Tesco is removing plastic wrapping from its multipack tins in an effort to cut down on waste. More than 40% of Tesco customers buy tinned multipacks, with 183,000 sold across its stores every day. "We are removing all unnecessary and non-recyclable plastic from Tesco," said Tesco chief executive, Dave Lewis. "It's great that Tesco are getting rid of multipack plastic packaging that's completely pointless and are also pressuring their branded suppliers like Heinz and Branston to do the same,"...

Jan 24, 2020

What can you use instead of Google and Facebook?

He has abandoned using the services of internet giants like Google and Facebook and is using smaller rivals, which promise greater privacy. "I'm uncomfortable with the power of the major service providers such as Google and Facebook. We think everything is free, but the cost is our data and privacy," he says. If Google knows everything you have ever searched for, it has a detailed catalogue of your interests, hopes and fears. Despite the alternatives, Facebook is growing at an ever-faster...

Jan 24, 2020

Sir Adrian Montague: City or Westminster?

Departing chairman of Aviva has a reputation for his political antennae

Jan 24, 2020

Tinder to add panic button and anti-catfishing tech

Tinder is adding a panic button and other safety features to the dating app. Match Group said it had invested in Noonlight, which provides the online emergency response services and personal safety products that Tinder will use. If they then hit the panic button emergency services will be alerted with the details, along with accurate location data. Match Group chief executive Mandy Ginsberg said it will be the first dating company to invest in an emergency response service. "We've found...

Jan 24, 2020

Amazon owed £3m tax rebate amid Rugeley floor space row

Amazon is to get a £3.2m council tax rebate after winning a legal row about the nature and size of its warehouse. Business rates on the Staffordshire site will be revised and back dated to 2011 after Amazon argued its mezzanine should not count as floor space. Councillor Gordon Alcott, town centre regeneration boss, said Amazon had challenged the calculation of its business rates based on the amount of floor area the Rugeley warehouse occupied. Stuart Richards, of union GMB West Midlands,...

Jan 24, 2020

Ladbrokes Coral review a conflict of interest, say MPs

MPs have criticised a Gambling Commission decision to let the owner of Ladbrokes and Coral lead a review of online betting for VIP customers. Carolyn Harris, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Related Harm, called it "a conflict of interest and woefully naive". Conservative MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who also sits on the APPG for Gambling Related Harm, said it was a "Bizarre" decision by the Gambling Commission. The GC's move comes despite the regulator fining Ladbrokes...

Jan 24, 2020

Barclays: pay knot

Chief executive Jes Staley is right to hold his line over the squeeze on bonus pool payouts

Jan 23, 2020

Strong Black Friday drives Asos sales growth

Online fashion retailer shows further signs of recovery following difficult year

Jan 23, 2020

Master of online retailing Asos regains momentum

Asos, previous master of online retailing, messed up the premier online shopping event of the year in 2018. Revenues for the four months to the end of December were up 20 per cent to £1.1bn. Analysts had expected growth of around 15 per cent. After some strategic mis-steps, Asos seems to be back on track. Spread betting group CMC says net operating income should be at the upper end of analysts' forecasts for the year; retailer Hotel Chocolat says sales growth that is in line with expectations...

Jan 23, 2020

Mothercare UK stock liquidation leaves £10m debt shortfall

Group says funds raised from clearance sales as it closed stores was ‘behind expectations’

Jan 23, 2020

Asos sells a black dress a second on Black Friday

Asos sold one black dress every second and one wedding dress every minute during record trade on Black Friday last year. Asos shares surged 12% on the signs of a turnaround at the firm, which was hit by supply problems last year. Asos said it had 27.7 million orders in the final four months of 2019, up 20% from a year earlier, while the number of visitors to its website rose 23%. Best sellers such as branded sneakers, overcoats and puffer jackets, as well as staples such as denim, jumpers and...

Jan 23, 2020

Amazon battles Microsoft over military cloud

Amazon has asked a court to "Pause" Microsoft's work on a multibillion dollar deal to provide cloud services to the US military. A month later, Amazon filed a notice in the US Court of Federal Claims, claiming the process had contained deficiencies and "Unmistakable bias". Amazon had been the favourite to win the vast contract, which is worth $10bn over the next 10 years. "In a statement, Amazon's cloud division Amazon Web Services said:"It is common practice to stay contract performance...

Jan 23, 2020

Morrisons supermarket axes 3,000 managers in huge shake-up

Morrisons is axing 3,000 management roles as part of a huge restructuring to create more shop floor jobs. The new jobs will be in customer-facing roles, such as more butchers, bakers, fishmongers, Morrisons said. Managers will be able to move to the new jobs, with the firm saying there will be roles "For everybody who wants to continue to work at Morrisons". "David Lepley, Morrisons group retail director, said:"Whilst there will be a short period of uncertainty for some managers affected by...

Jan 23, 2020

Morrisons to cut 3,000 manager roles in staffing overhaul

Wm Morrison plans to cut 3,000 managerial positions in its stores across the UK as part of a staffing revamp that will see it boost numbers of lower-level roles amid increasing pressure on established supermarkets. "This proposal means more frontline colleagues improving product availability and helping customers," said David Lepley, Morrisons group retail director. The move comes as Morrisons - along with other establishment supermarkets - struggled over the Christmas period and faces rising...

Jan 23, 2020

Twitter demands AI company stops 'collecting faces'

Twitter has demanded an AI company stop taking images from its website. Clearview has already amassed more than three billion photographs from sites including Facebook and Twitter. In a cease-and-desist letter sent on Tuesday, Twitter said its policies had been violated and requested the deletion of any collected data. Twitter's developer agreement policy says: "Information derived from Twitter content may not be used by, or knowingly displayed, distributed, or otherwise made available to any...

Jan 23, 2020

Davos 2020: People still want plastic bottles, says Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola will not ditch single-use plastic bottles because consumers still want them, the firm's head of sustainability has told the BBC. Customers like them because they reseal and are lightweight, said Bea Perez. The firm, which is one of the biggest producers of plastic waste, has pledged to recycle as many plastic bottles as it uses by 2030. The drinks giant produces about three million tonnes of plastic packaging a year - equivalent to 200,000 bottles a minute. In 2019, it was found to...