Sunday, 10 December 2017

Fake Christmas

Border officials have seized £1.5m worth of counterfeit Calvin Klein pants, along with fake Dyson fans, Superdry hoodies and Nike shoes. The authorities are using the hauls to highlight the risk of buying cut-price, substandard counterfeits at Christmas. Every year dire warnings are issued over the dangers posed by fake goods, from poisonings to electrical fires. In the run up to Christmas a surge in counterfeits enters the country, from designer watches to children's toys, as shoppers, keen to save money at a costly time of year, are either hoodwinked or turn a blind eye to the lack of authenticity. And border officials step up their efforts to block them, employing huge x-ray machines to check that the items inside shipping crates match the accompanying documents. By highlighting the range of products seized, the authorities hope to alert consumers to the chance that if a price is too good to be true for a sought after item, the product probably isn't genuine.

Saturday Job?

A Saturday job used to be a rite of passage for many children, but pressure to succeed at school and other factors means that's no longer the case. The number of schoolchildren with a part-time job has fallen by a fifth in the past five years, new figures show. The findings come from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to all local authorities across the UK responsible for issuing child employment permits.  Employers need to apply for a licence to hire staff under the age of 16. The number of permits fell by more than 20 percentage points between 2012 and 2016 - from 29,498 to 23,071. Dr Angus Holford said he believed young people in compulsory education are fearful that a part-time job could hinder their performance at school. Geoff Barton said: "Properly regulated part-time work is a good way of helping young people learn skills that they will need in their working lives. Employment regulations state that work for 13 to 15 year-olds must be light duties only and between the hours of 7am and 7pm (including holidays). Jobs that need a permit include retail work, newspaper rounds, waiting on tables, office or clerical work, and leaflet delivery. The rules are different for baby-sitting or the odd job for families and individuals.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Favourite Festive Sweet

A new survey of 1,000 people along with analysis of annual sales and food manufacturers’ research has found that the most popular festive sweet in the UK is the Ferrero Rocher, which beat After Eights and Quality Street to the honour. The survey was carried out by Andy Baxendale, an advanced food manufacture scientist known as the sweet consultant. ‘Everyone develops a sweet tooth at Christmas and for some people the festive period just isn’t the same without certain chocolates and sweets, some of which they will have enjoyed each year since they were children,’ he explains. ‘Everyone will have their own favourites and ones they hate, so choosing which sweets and chocolates to buy is a very important task in the run up to Christmas, as failure to get it right can be the cause of heated family arguments. ‘With Ferrero Rocher sales have risen approximately 17% each year and in the UK sell around 130 million – and that’s enough for two each for every member of the UK population.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Mirry Christmas

Air New Zealand has launched a Christmas campaign with a difference with a self-referential campaign poking fun at the distinctive Kiwi accent. The light-hearted push sees a confused Santa receiving Christmas orders from children around New Zealand but struggling to interpret their heavily accented dialects – resulting in a succession of humorous misunderstandings. Brushing up his pronunciation skills Air New Zealand chief marketing and customer officer Mike Tod said: “While it’s no secret the Kiwi accent has been misunderstood at times, it’s also a signature part of our service. In fact, for many Kiwis, being welcomed onboard an Air New Zealand flight by crew after being offshore for some time makes them feel instantly back at home.”

Holy Sprout

This year Waitrose has found an unusual way to incorporate the green veg into Christmas celebrations, even for those who usually turn their noses up to eating the divisive veg. This year the supermarket will be launching its very first sprout wreath. The sprout wreath is a limited edition decoration available in Waitrose Food & Home branches as a trial this year, but if popular it will extend to more branches for Christmas 2018.  The Brussels Sprout Wreath, £35, will be on sale in selected Waitrose shops from the beginning of December.

Royal Wedding Business

When Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle announced their engagement on Monday, the UK’s souvenir firms sped into action. Royals are big business for the UK, and one analyst expects this year’s wedding will amount to £60m in additional sales. “The design team have been working very hard,” said Pamela Harper, chair and chief executive of London-based Halcyon Days, which will release commemorative china products once the date has been set. Kensington Palace has said the wedding will be in May 2018, but the exact date hasn’t been announced. The marriage of Harry’s older brother, William, to Kate Middleton in April 2011 boosted the number of visitors to the country by 350,000 that month alone, according to the UK Office of National Statistics. That wedding accounted for a £527m increase in UK retail spending, including £199m on wedding souvenirs and memorabilia on the public holiday, according to an estimate from the Centre for Retail Research – although Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out a bank holiday this time around.

Ricicles Recycled

Kellogg’s are axing Ricicles in a bid to become health conscious. The cereals giant has announced plans to cut sugar in their products between 20% and 40% by the middle of next year, so Ricicles have been sacrificed.Kellogg’s will also stop adding on-pack promotions aimed at children on boxes of Frosties. Meanwhile, old favourites like Rice Krispies will see their sugar content cut by 20% and sugar in Rice Krispies Multi-grain Shapes will be reduced by 30% per serving. A new and ‘improved’ Coco Pops recipe, which contains 5.1g of sugar per 30g serving, is set to be introduced in July 2018. Children between the ages of seven and 10-years-old should consume no more than 24g of sugar per day, according to the Government. Cunning shoppers who recently bought boxes of Ricicles are cashing in by selling them on eBay for as much as £9 per box. And cereal fans are taking advantage of the opportunity to stock up before Ricicles are gone forever, even though they are on sale for much more than the normal cost of £2.79 for a 450g box.

Friday, 24 November 2017

The Budget 2017

The Budget is the government's yearly announcement about how it's going to spend the nation's money. The Budget is worked out by the person in charge of the country's money, called the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with help from their office, which is known as the Treasury.The chancellor will try to explain why they may be raising or lowering taxes, and speak about the country's economy. The budget impacts every individual & business in the UK in a variety of ways. Watch the following clip to see this years winners & loosers from the announcements made last week. Would you have done anything different?


Unpaid Workers Secret Message

Unpaid factory workers allegedly left notes for customers to find when they were shopping at a Zara chain. Shoppers in Istanbul said they had found pleas for help from unpaid workers on tags inside Zara clothes. Messages were said to have read: “I made this item you are going to buy but I didn’t get paid for it.” According to the Associated Press, workers from an outsourced manufacturer for Zara and other retailers have been going into the stores and leaving the secret messages inside the clothes.The notes are a bid to raise awareness of workers who were left underpaid after a Bravo Tekstil factory that made clothes for Inditex, Zara’s parent company shut down overnight.Workers were left owed three months’ worth of wages and a severance allowance when the factory closed. A petition online created to raise awareness of their plight already has over 19,000 signatures.

Takdir Expansion

Popular Indian restaurant Takdir has relocated to new larger seafront premises on East Parade, Whitley Bay, thanks to the help of Barclays. The restaurant, one of the longest serving in Whitley Bay after being established in 1979, is now run by second generation brothers Mamun and Suffian Rahman. Previously located 11 East Parade, the restaurant has moved to 7-8 East Parade, creating a contemporary seafront eatery and cocktail bar. Paul Smith, Barclays business banking manager, put together the funding package for the deal. He said: “It’s been fantastic to work with Mamun and Suffian and see their business grow and flourish.” “The new premises will provide them with more flexibility to expand for the future and they provide a first class offering in Indian cuisine to the local North East community.


Black Friday Bonaza

Wallets will be feeling a bit lighter this weekend as shoppers turn out in search of a bargain ahead of Christmas. It's estimated that £10bn could be spent in the UK over the Black Friday period, £2.5bn in a single day. Retailers like Dixons Carphone say it's a critical chance to boost their market share and provide customers with "real deals," But the chief executive of the fashion chain Fat Face has suggested it is "bonkers" to cut prices now. Anthony Thompson said his stores won't be taking part. "It's bad for customers, it's bad for business, it's bad for UK retail," said Mr Thompson."What customers are looking for at Christmas is great value for money, not make-believe promotions and fake prices, and that's often what they get on Black Friday. ome shoppers say they are weary of the custom, imported a few years ago from the United States.There's the scrum to get to the best deals, the sales gimmicks, and guilt that you've spent more than you planned. On top of that consumer group Which? has highlighted that many supposed deals may not be money-savers at all.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Take-away-over

Just Eat's takeover of rival Hungryhouse has been officially given the green light by the competition watchdog. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ruled in its final decision that the deal - worth up to £240m - does not raise competition concerns, given the rise of new entrants such as Deliveroo, UberEATS and Amazon. Just Eat welcomed the announcement and said it now expects to complete the takeover on 31 January. Also last week Tesco's £3.7bn takeover of food wholesaler Booker has been provisionally cleared by the UK's competition regulator. Booker is the UK's largest food wholesaler, and also owns the Premier, Budgens and Londis store brands. More than 30% of its sales are to the catering sector, which Tesco does not supply, although the supermarket is keen to get a foothold in the market. The CMA concluded that the wholesale market would "remain competitive in the longer term", because Booker's share of the UK grocery wholesaling market, at less than 20%, "was not sufficient to justify the longer-term concerns".

Zoella £50 Advent Calendar

YouTube sensation Zoella has been fiercely criticised for an advent calendar which costs a whopping £50 and only has 12 doors. Boots were forced to cut the price of the “Zoella 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar" after substantial numbers of customers vented their frustrations it was extortionate. The retailer will now be selling the Christmas calendar at the reduced price of £25 from 16 November. But others argued the 27-year-old vlogger, who has over 11 million subscribers to her YouTube channel, had no influence on the price tag of the advent calendar and sought to defend her. Zoella has been criticised in the past for consumer products which are emblazoned with her name and branding, with people arguing they are not good value for money.

Merry Greggsmas

Greggs has apologised after publicity shots for its new ad campaign included a nativity scene in which baby Jesus is replaced by a sausage roll. Photos promoting the baker’s new Advent calendar showed three wise men gathered round a manger in the traditional fashion but, rather than gazing in wonder at the son of God, their eyes fall upon a Greggs pastry. The stunt was apparently meant to be taken in a light-hearted way but numerous people pointed out that the fresh take on the 2,000-year old scene could cause offence because Jesus was Jewish and eating pork is forbidden in the Jewish faith. Greggs said in a statement: “We’re really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention.” The advent calendar goes on sale in selected Greggs outlets on Monday costing £24 and includes a £5 Greggs gift card on Christmas Eve.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Singles Day

Now in its ninth year, the day is officially called the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. 11.11 stands for the 11 November, when it is held. The two numbers were chosen to symbolise the wishes of single people to be in a relationship, as two elevens next to one another appear like two couples. It was originally a non-commercial festival started by male college students who didn't have a girlfriend. They created a day to get together to celebrate bachelorhood. But the Chinese retailer Alibaba caught on to it and has turned it into the largest online shopping day in the world. Alibaba says more than one million retailers worldwide took part this year, including US department store Macy's. Alibaba says this year's sales amounted to $25.3bn (£19bn), $7.5bn more than in 2016. Only half way into this year's Singles Day, sales had already surpassed last year's total.

Christmas Adverts

The Christmas advert season is upon us and John Lewis’ high profile campaign again attracted vast attention on social media and pitting it against fellow retailers for creativity, emotional appeal and charm. The group reportedly spends around £7m on the whole campaign, though a spokesperson for the company declined to confirm that figure. According to the Advertising Association, seasonal advertising spend is expected to reach a record high of £6bn during the final quarter of this year, marking a 37 per cent increase on the 2010 level and a fresh all-time high. Recent research by the association also showed that nearly half of Brits admit to having been moved to tears by Christmas adverts that they’ve either seen or heard. “Christmas is a key time for advertisers large and small,” said Karen Fraser, director at advertising think tank Credos.

Sea2See

Off the coast of Catalonia, an intriguing experiment in the circular economy is taking place. Dozens of fishing vessels are heading out to sea and bringing back tonnes of plastic waste alongside their usual haul. About 10kg of waste is collected for each pair of glasses it sells. Sea2see separates what it can use for the glasses and the rest is sold off to other companies for use in different processes such as manufacturing nylon thread. The plastic is then used as the raw material to make recycled designer sunglasses for Barcelona-based company, Sea2see. Thanks to agreements with 22 Catalonian port authorities, the company helps fishermen across the region bring in around a tonne of plastic waste every three days.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Interest Rates Rise

For the first time in more than 10 years, the Bank of England has raised interest rates. The official bank rate has been lifted from 0.25% to 0.5%, the first increase since July 2007. It is likely to rise twice more over the next three years, according to Bank of England governor Mark Carney. Almost four million households face higher mortgage interest payments after the rise, but it should give savers a modest lift in their returns. Mr Carney expects banks to pass on the rate rise to savers, but said many mortgages, loans and credit cards would not see an immediate impact. He said that British households have been "savvy" with their finances and have mostly taken out fixed-rate mortgages, which means it will take some time before the rise has an impact on them. The Bank estimates that almost two million mortgage holders have not experienced an interest rate rise since taking out a mortgage. Watch to see how this tricky concept is explained by some 10 year olds.

iPhone X Launches

The new £999 iPhone X has hit shelves in more than 50 countries - but what drove fans to line up in the middle of the night for it? The queue was already 100-strong when Nick Davies arrived at Apple's flagship UK store at 02:30. If it is a big hit, the US tech firm could even become a trillion dollar company, according to some analysts. The phones were available to order in the UK from 27 October - but plenty missed out, and so queued up on Friday to be among the first to get their hands on one. Apple chief executive Tim Cook is predicting the iPhone X will help the company record its "biggest quarter ever" in the three months to the end of the year. It sold more than 46.6 million phones in the July to September period, up 3% year-on-year. That produced $28.8bn, or more than half of its revenue. Other products, including the Mac, iPad and Apple Watch, also did well, growing in the double digits.

Cheese Advent Calendar

Asda is to stock "the world's first" cheese Advent calendar this Christmas following a social media frenzy about the product. The So Wrong It's Nom calendar was the brainchild of food blogger Annem Hobson - will go on sale in stores across the UK from 9th November, priced at £8. It features 24 individually wrapped 20g pieces of cheese with a "cheesy" joke or serving suggestion behind each door. The idea gained traction last year when she shared images of her prototype online. The idea was so popular that 11,000 people registered an intention to buy within four days. The price was estimated to be between £20 and £25 when in development but through working with Norseland they got the price down to £8 to make it more affordable. The packaging allows one half to be torn off after the first 12 days of Christmas to maximise fridge space.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

LegoLand New York

Merlin Entertainments is to invest £265m in opening a Legoland theme park in New York as it presses ahead with global expansion. The owner of Madame Tussauds and Alton Towers said that the new Legoland will open in 2020 and be located in Goshen, Orange County, 60 miles north-west of the Big Apple. The resort will create over 1,000 US jobs, in addition to 800 construction jobs in its development phase. The move comes after Merlin also said it would build Legoland parks in South Korea with plans for further parks in China. Boss Nick Varney said: "Legoland New York is the first new major theme park in the North East of the US for several decades, and is perfectly located for visitors from New York, Boston, and Philadelphia and beyond. Its London attractions - which include the Coca-Cola London Eye and the London Dungeons - saw a marked drop-off in visitor numbers after the recent spate of attacks, while the group's theme parks also suffered in a "difficult" market after the UK's threat level was raised.

Posh Squash

Britvic is adding two new Robinsons products to its portfolio, including a cordial that has twice the amount of fruit than original Robinsons. Fruit Creations comes in nine fruit flavours including Mandarin & Lime and Fresh Pear & Blueberry. It contains no added sugar and falls under the threshold of the UK sugar tax, which is due to be implemented next year. Britvic said the range, which launches next month, is designed to appeal to adults "looking for more exciting flavour blends". At the same time, Britvic will launch Robinsons Cordials, which it describes as a "more sophisticated cordials range". The three flavours - Pressed Pear & Elderflower, Raspberry, Rhubarb & Orange Blossom and Crushed Lime & Mint – come packaged in 50cl glass bottles for a "premium look and feel", the company said. The launches will be supported by a GBP3m (US$4m) through-the-line campaign primarily focusing on Fruit Creations, Britvic said.

Liberty Advent Calendar

Retailing at £175 each, Liberty's luxury beauty advent calendar certainly doesn't come cheap. But that didn't stop eager shoppers queuing round the block for the coveted calendar this morning. Over half of the stock had sold online before the doors opened at 8.30am - that's 33 per minute - making it the fastest selling, and most successful product in the company's 147 year history. It takes a team of Liberty staff over a year to pull together the calendar and this year, sixty percent of products within the calendar are full sized - worth around £500 in total. Surprisingly, men outnumbered women in the queue 2 for 1, although many did declare that they were picking up the festive treat for their partner or loved ones. To celebrate the launch, 10 calendars in store also included a £100 gift coin in one of the drawers.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Stonewall Top Employer

Stonewall’s Top Global Employers list showcases the best multinational employers for lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) staff. The list is compiled from submissions to the Global Workplace Equality Index: a powerful benchmarking tool used by employers to create inclusive workplaces across the markets in which they operate. Stonewall aims to celebrates the pioneering efforts of leading organisations to create inclusive workplaces and advance equality for LGBT people, wherever they are in the world. At Stonewall we know that people perform better when they can be themselves. Financial company Accenture were just one of the companies recognised as making a difference in supporting inclusive workplaces. 

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Celebrating Immigration

British fashion brand Jigsaw is celebrating immigration it its new ad campaign. In answer to the idea that immigration threatens “British values”, the love immigration campaign comes with a manifesto, which begins “British Style is not 100 per cent British. In fact, there’s no such thing as 100 per cent British.” Peter Ruis, chief executive of Jigsaw, told The Independent that his team was discussing their next campaign and, as a relatively small brand that only runs one big marketing campaign a year, decided to go for something bold. “The world is such a crazy place at the moment … it seemed facile to do a nice little campaign,” he said. So, using the fact that there are 45 nationalities working within Jigsaw as a hook, the company created a celebration of Britain as a nation of immigrants. 

Friday, 13 October 2017

Future Of Retail

Can you imagine doing the weekly grocery shop in a store with no assistants and no way of paying with cash? Developments in self-driving vehicles, mobile payments, data analysis and wireless tagging of stock could all completely change our shopping experience. Meet the companies who want to revolutionise the retail world. Do you think this is the future of retail?

Sunday, 8 October 2017

McVegan


So prepare to rejoice with the news that the fast food chain has finally created a vegan burger! Catchily named the McVegan, it consists of a soy-based patty topped with tomato, salad, pickles and vegan McFeast sauce, sandwiched between a bun. Unfortunately for British vegans, however, the McVegan is currently only available in Finland, and for a limited time only. McDonald’s have decided to trial the burger in Tampere, Finland, from 4 October to 21 November. However, if it’s popular, we can hope the McVegan might be rolled out globally.
McVegan

Smell The Profits

Corporate giants such as Estee Lauder, L'Oreal and Coty have dominated the fragrance market but things may be about to change."Everything smells the same - people are getting bored of the big brands and want something different," says Nick Steward, the London-based founder of a new fragrance brand, Gallivant. He is convinced that there is a growing appetite for "something more personal that other people don't have". He now sells his fragrances online and via specialist retailers in the US, Italy, Germany and as far away as Australia.The Gallivant range of unisex fragrances are inspired by and named after cities such as Tel Aviv and London.They are packaged in air-travel-friendly 30ml bottles - smaller than the standard industry sizes.Mr Steward says that also makes them more affordable, reflecting consumers' desire to have a variety of fragrances to choose from. He is seeking a slice of the fragrance market - worth about $27bn (£20bn; €22bn) a year globally.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Right Back To Business

Former right-back Richard Eckersley, now 28, made his professional debut at the 'Theatre of Dreams' less than nine years ago, but is now running the UK's first zero waste food shop in the quaint Devon town of Totnes. Customers bring their own jars, bags, bottles and boxes and buy raw materials without packaging. "Football's incredible in the sense that it connects people all over the world - there's so many fans out there that are so passionate about football. But if we don't have a planet to live on, and it's not thriving and it's not healthy, then football doesn't matter, it doesn't make a difference any more."

Friday, 29 September 2017

Round The World in 60 Minutes

People will soon be able to fly from city to city within minutes, rocket and car entrepreneur Elon Musk says. Mr Musk made the promise at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia.  Mr Musk told the audience he aimed to start sending people to Mars in 2024. His SpaceX company would begin building the necessary ships to support the mission next year. He says he is refocusing SpaceX to work on just one type of vehicle - known as the BFR - which could do all of the firm's current work and interplanetary travel. As well as being the CEO and chief designer at SpaceX, Mr Musk also founded the Tesla electric car company and is chairman of SolarCity which specialises in renewables technologies, such as high-storage batteries.

The Spanish City

Launching in the summer of 2018, the iconic Spanish City will return to rekindle its love affair with the residents and visitors of Whitley Bay. A renaissance of the site is under way with a final goal of reawakening a truly unique visitor destination for the North East of England. Those visiting Spanish City will be welcomed by a wide range of options as the venue goes on to house a luxurious seafood fine dining restaurant, a traditional tea room, an ice cream and waffle house, a fish and chip restaurant and takeaway and a champagne and oyster bar.The restoration comes after North Tyneside Council invested £4m, successfully secured £3.47m of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and gained a Coastal Communities Fund grant of more than £2.5m, bringing the total investment to almost £10m.

The Apprentice is Back

The Apprentice is back with a new batch of ambitious entrepreneurs seeking to demonstrate their commercial insight and business sense to stay out of the firing line. There’s a £250,000 investment at stake and the chance to go into a business partnership with Lord Sugar. Over the course of 12 tough tasks, the 18 candidates will be whittled down until just one victor remains. And plenty of sparks are set to fly in the boardroom along the way! Each week the budding entrepreneurs will be divided into two teams - led by designated Project Managers - that lock horns under the watchful eyes of Lord Sugar's advisor Baroness Karren Brady and new aide Claude Littner. Why not meet a few of the candidates this year and see what skills they have...

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

150 Years On The High Street


A family-run hardware shop has been celebrating 150 years in business. Goldings in Bedford High Street, first opened its doors in 1867 and has survived the launch of DIY superstores and the rise of internet shopping. Its former owner, 71-year-old Victor Warner, who has been working there since 1961, has been sharing his secrets to business success. How do you think a Business like this can survive for so long? Take a look at the clip to find out!

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Ryan 'Up In The' Air

Ryanair is to cancel 40 to 50 flights every day for the next six weeks, in a bid to improve punctuality of flights. The move could affect up to 285,000 passengers, who will be offered alternative flights or refunds. Ryanair said that less than 2% of its flights would be cancelled and the move would help it hit its annual punctuality target of 90%. Ryanair made a profit of €1.32bn (£1.16bn) last year after it carried 120 million passengers.  So it can afford to risk annoying up to 400,000 of its customers by suddenly cancelling hundreds of flights at short notice. He apologised to shareholders for a “major management failure” that has cost Ryanair about 25million euro (£22million) and has caused a 10% drop in share prices.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Toys R Bust

It has 60,000 employees around the world and around 1,600 stores - all busily preparing for the crucial Christmas trading period. But even that scale hasn't been enough to protect Toys  R Us, it seems. The toy-retailing specialist has filed for bankruptcy in the US to provide it with protection against its creditors and huge debts. A comment from an industry analyst in this Sky News report suggests it might:"The past decade has seen a dramatic change in the domestic toy market with new channels, increased competition, and new technology all having a deleterious impact on the sector and traditional toy stores. Unfortunately, Toys R Us has not responded effectively to these challenges and, as a result, has found itself with both a weak balance sheet and falling sales."

Window Cleaning Robot

Proof that not every new innovation can be a clear success. This is a $400 window cleaning robot launched by a technology company Winbot. With a host of advanced window-cleaning and SMART DRIVE technologies, WINBOT 950 can clean automatically, effectively and thoroughly, freeing your hands from tedious chores. Do you think that the time it may save will make it worth the purchase for anyone?

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Apple iPhone X


Apple has revealed a high-end smartphone with an "edge-to-edge" screen that has no physical home button. The iPhone X - which is referred to as "ten" - uses a facial recognition system to recognise its owner rather than a fingerprint-based one. Apple said FaceID can work in the dark by using 30,000 infra-red dots to check an identity, and was harder to fool than its old TouchID system. It is Apple's most expensive phone yet. A 64 gigabyte capacity model will cost $999 (£999 in the UK) when it goes on sale on 3 November. A 256GB version will be priced at $1,149 (£1,149 in the UK). One expert commented that Apple's ability to get consumers to spend more on its smartphones than rivals' was "legendary".

Growing Clothes

Clothes that grow with your child have won the UK's annual James Dyson prize for innovation. The prototype garments fit children aged between six months and three years, and were created by engineering graduate Ryan Yasin. His creation is now being considered for a worldwide prize. Parents spend more than £2,000 on clothes for one child before they even reach the age of three. Does this solve a problem? Why might this idea not make the shops?

New £10 Note


The new £10 note featuring novelist Jane Austen has entered circulation - marking a return of a woman in addition to the Queen on Bank of England notes. The launch comes after a four-month period when women, apart from the Queen, have not been represented on the Bank's notes.One billion polymer Jane Austen £10 notes have been printed and will be fed into general circulation over the coming weeks and months. There is also less than a month to spend or bank the old £1 coins which will be withdrawn from circulation on 15th October. 

Monday, 4 September 2017

Hot Crisps

Claimed to to be the UK's first 'hot crisps', Essex's very own 'artisan' snack purveyor Fairfields Farm is bringing out a new product called Heat & Eat. The range of potato crisps comes in 'patented triple-layered packaging', which allows the snack stay crunchy despite 30 seconds in the microwave. The idea is that the crisps taste as if they've come straight out of the fryer – warm, crispy potato, glistening with oil and dusted with seasoning. Fairfields Farm said: "Ever wondered what hot handcooked crisps taste like fresh from the fryer? With Heat & Eat, you can experience the most delicious hot crisps ever, straight from the microwave in just 30 seconds". Heat & Eat has been created to "revitalise the snacking market and give consumers a whole new eating experience". Fairfields Farm believes that manufacturers have been focusing their innovation on flavours, rather than new, bolder concepts. 

Smile to Pay

Diners at a KFC store in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou will have a new way to pay for their meal. Just smile. Customers will be able to use a “Smile to Pay” facial recognition system at the tech-heavy, health-focused concept store, part of a drive by Yum China to lure a younger generation of consumers. Diners can pay by scanning their faces at an ordering kiosk and entering a phone number - which is meant to guard against people cheating the system.The store’s menu offers seasonal produce, made-to-order salads and paninis. The chicken on the menu is “roasted”, while drinks include freshly squeezed juices, gourmet coffees and craft beer. KFC have also launched a limited edition smartphone to celebrate 30 years since it first opened in China.

McStrike

McDonald's workers are staging their first UK strike after walking out at two stores in a dispute over zero-hours contracts and conditions. Some workers at Cambridge and Crayford, south-east London, began the 24-hour action at midnight. A union called it a "brave" move by low-paid staff. The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union said staff wanted a wage of at least £10 an hour and more secure jobs. McDonald's said only 14 of the 33 union members balloted had joined in. McDonald's, which employs about 85,000 people in the UK, announced in April that workers would be offered a choice of flexible or fixed contracts with minimum guaranteed hours, saying that 86% had chosen to stay on flexible contracts. And it pointed to a series of pay rises as evidence that it treated its staff well.

Friday, 16 June 2017

The Better Burger

Burgers used to be fast and cheap - the epitome of fast food. But now a different type of patty exported from the US is rapidly expanding across the globe. US burger chain Five Guys International, is "the complete fundamental change" that has taken place with people prepared to pay more and wait longer for a more upmarket burger.So called millennials, the generation that came of age after the 2008 financial crisis, are their core customers. The trend of diners wanting to know where their food comes from, how it was prepared, and the "story" behind it has also helped drive the better burger's rapid expansion. Nonetheless, it's a profitable market, worth some £3.3bn in the UK last year, according to market research firm Mintel.Making sure its overseas burgers taste the same as those in the US is important, he says. "Unless you have consistency there is no brand... you've got to have some confidence that the burger you have in Dubai and Paris is the same as the one you have in California and Miami," he says.

Rosemary Water

If you can bottle it, it might make you a fortune. That is according to market research carried out by the world’s drinks industry. Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) says sales of bottled water outstripped sugary soft drinks in the US for the first time last year, while Zenith Global, a consulting firm, estimates that the global market has grown by 9 per cent annually in recent years and is now worth $147bn. It’s an increasingly crowded market, but an eye-poppingly lucrative one if you can get it right. Traditional beverages are losing ground to niche, healthier brands that communicate a story about purpose and function. After carrying out formal experimentation with various botanical scientists, he raised £2m worth of investment, which included £1m of his own money, and secured an exclusive deal with Harvey Nichols to sell his product - Rosemary Water. Retailing at £3.95 for a 750ml bottle, the water is made with rosemary extract and contains no sugar or preservatives.

Museum of Failure

Don't let the name fool you — Samuel West's "Museum of Failure" is an act of celebration. On June 7, West, a collector and self-described innovation researcher, debuted 51 failed products in a museum exhibition in the Swedish city of Helsingborg, all in the name of honoring the creative process. Visitors will get reacquainted with familiar names like Betamax and Blockbuster, and perhaps meet lesser-known flops — Twitter Peek, anyone? — all of which West has been collecting for the past year. "Even the biggest baddest most competent companies fail," West tells Business Insider. "The trick is to create an organizational culture that accepts failure so that you can fail small ... rather than failing big."
Museum of Failure

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Breaking 2

For Nike, this was glorious failure. The sportswear giant’s attempt to propel one of its athletes to the “impossible” feat of a sub-two-hour marathon may have come up an agonising 26 seconds short, but the #Breaking2 “moonshot” is likely to be remembered for setting new standards in sports marketing regardless. Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge became the fastest person in history to run a marathon when he set a time of 2 hours and 25 seconds, about 2 and a half minutes faster than the current world record. But that will not trouble Nike, which is today basking in the praise of Kipchoge’s remarkable run, which was broadcast live simultaneously on Facebook and Twitter and can be watched in full on YouTube.Kipchoge and the two other runners who were attempting to smash the two-hour barrier were each wearing a specially customised shoe called the Zoom Vaporfly Elite. Having now been splashed all over the world's media, these futuristic trainers will soon go on sale to casual runners around the world backed by acres of earned media coverage.

Starbucks Launch Two New Healthier Drinks

Starbucks is launching two new coffee-based drinks in the UK, as it strives to tap into consumers’ growing appetite for healthy beverages. The Cold Brew Vanilla sweet cream and the Cappuccino Freddo, will both be available in stores throughout the UK from Thursday. The former combines vanilla syrup and semi-skimmed milk with cold brew coffee – coffee that has been brewed by steeping beans in cold water for 20 hours or more. The latter is espresso topped with foam made from skimmed milk. Starbucks said that both drinks are lower in calories than the average coffee drink it sells. Starbucks is not alone in facing the challenge of changing consumer behaviours and tastes, and swelling demand for healthier products.

The Bakers Who Boogie

This bakery encourages its staff to dance among the cakes to aid well-being and improve performance. A choreographer worked with the bakery in Burnley to turn their work movements into a dance. Their aim is to reduce repetitive strain injuries and also bring some motivation and joy to the members of staff. 

Monday, 1 May 2017

Boohoo Profits Double


Annual pre-tax profits at online fashion retailer Boohoo have almost doubled to £31m - up from just under £16m last year.  Its sales have jumped by 51% to almost £300m, thanks to new overseas markets.  The Manchester-based firm puts its success down to "combining cutting-edge, aspirational design with an affordable price tag". Its booming sales growth has also been reflected in its share price, which has more than trebled in the past year. On its stock market flotation in 2014, it was valued at £560m. It is now worth about £2bn. The firm has gone from strength to strength in recent years, while its High Street rivals have had to deal with increasing competition from Boohoo and other online retailers. The company now has 5.2 active million customers worldwide, and crucially is able to rely on social media "influencers" and video bloggers - "vloggers" - to spread the word to its 18 to 24-year-old target market.

Happy Hiring

You can turn up for your Timpson interview with the world's finest CV or resume, and all the interviewer will do is work out whether you are a Mr Lazy (you don't have a hope), or a Mr Cheerful (you have a very good chance). "We purely interview for personality," says Mr Timpson, who has been leading his family's firm for the past 42 years. "We're not bothered by qualifications or CVs. We just look at the candidate and work out who they are, are they Mr Grumpy, Mr Slow, Mr Happy? "If they tick all the right boxes then we put them in the shop for half the day. That's it, I dreamt that up years ago." In explaining the thinking behind this rather novel approach to recruitment, Mr Timpson, 74, says that while you can train someone to do a job, you cannot train their personality. And if you look at the continuing performance of the business, the Mr Men method appears to work rather well. Timpson, a household name in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, saw sales rise 8% to £130m in the year to September 2015, with pre-tax profits up 65% to £10.3m.