Top 10 Stories of Last Week! 01/04/2019

This week’s news includes; Gender pay gap figures, Kim K launches lawsuit against Missguided, Boston Tea Party sales dip after single use cup ban, Beyonce teams up with Adidas

Below are our top 10 stories that you need to know about. Be sure to check our twitter page and Facebook page for regular posts of important headlines. Get all the important stories and insights straight into your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list here.

Opinion articles of the week: 

  • BBC News – Are internet unicorns really worth billions?
  • Investopedia – Why Lyft Could Plunge 42% In Warning Signal To IPO Investors
  • BBC News – Will we be able to leave the boring jobs to robots?

1. BREXIT EXTENSION

The Brexit stalemate continues as Theresa May seeks another extension to Brexit. May has written to the EU asking for an extension to June 30 2019. This the day before the new European Parliament holds its first session. MPs also voted last week to take no-deal off the table by just one vote. Despite this, the UK is still set to leave the EU on April 12 unless a deal or extension is approved.

Theresa May reached out to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party to try and find a way through the impasse. Labour have been committed to a customs union, showing Theresa May is seemingly willing to soften on her red lines.

May was supposedly willing to include assurances for a closer relationship with the EU in the non-binding political declaration. Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer however, claims  that Mrs May’s team has offered no changes to the deal. Theresa May has said that Brexit would not be possible without Labour’s support.

Meanwhile, the EU are set to propose a 12 month “flexible” extension to Brexit. The UK will have the option to end the extension if a deal is passed through Parliament. This would however, require the UK to partake in the next set of European elections. Many Tory ministers have expressed that the UK engaging in these elections would be unforgivable and they could seek to oust May. Many EU leaders have stated that they will not support an extension unless the UK proposes a clear reason for extending

There is an emergency EU summit on 10 April where Theresa May’s extension request will be considered.

2. GENDER PAY GAP FIGURES RELEASED

The UK’s largest firms released gender pay gap figures, and the gap is growing marginally. The average median gender pay gap of large companies increased by 0.02%. Although less companies are now paying women less than men. 553 companies on average pay women less than men and this is less than 582 companies last year.

The average pay gap stood at 10.34%, with 239 companies reducing the gap and 209 seeing the gender pay gap widen in favour of men.  Large companies are defined as those employing over 5,000 staff. 10,444 companies filed their comparison data. Those who failed to do so without a valid reason could face legal action.

Check out the pay gap figures of companies here.

3. SAUDI ARAMCO

Saudi Aramco has been crowned the most profitable company of 2018. Saudi Aramco is owned by the Saudi Arabian government and is a core source of income for the government. The company turned over $355.9 billion last year, with $111 billion in profit. This dwarfed all American tech giants including Apple, Amazon and Alphabet. Apple is the closest competitor in terms of income, with $59.5 billion in 2018. Saudi Aramco has announced plans for an IPO. The company could be valued at a staggering $2 trillion.

4. SUPERMARKET SHARE SHAKEUP

Aldi has now drawn in more shoppers than Morrisons, edging it closer to taking the fourth spot. Aldi saw a 10% growth in sales over the past quarter and has allowed Aldi to hit a record 8% market share. This is narrowly behind Morrisons who boasts 10%.

Asda has now also overtaken Sainsbury’s in terms of market share. Asda now boasts 15.4% of the market , edging Sainsbury’s by 0.1%. With the merger between the two giants on the brink of collapse, this growth could be significant. The substantial market share of the two stores does mean that a huge number of store sell offs to get the merger through is inevitable.

5. KIM K vs. MISSGUIDED

Missguided has ignored a trademark lawsuit filed against it by Kim Kardarshian. Kim K alleges that Missguided used her name and image without authorisation on their merchandise.  

Kim K’s legal team will now seek a default court judgement and monetary damages for the failure to respond. This would obligate Missguided to comply with the judgement. The initial complaint aimed to permanently bar Missguided from using Kim K’s name and images in addition to a minimum $10 million. Kim K’s legal counsel will now have to prove the damages. If the court rules in favour of Kim K, Missguided will have the right to appeal. 

BBC News explains how the Kardashians made their money

6. BONMARCHE COULD BE BOUGHT FOR £5.7m

High street retailer Bonmarche has received a £5.7 million takeover bid from billionaire Philip Day. The retailer has been struggling recently and has issued warnings of heavy impending losses. Day has now bought a 52.4% stake triggering a takeover bid. His takeover bid however, offers shareholders just 11.445p, over 35% lower than Bonmarche’s current share price. Bonmarche’s directors are currently considering the offer. The company shares would be delisted if the takeover bid is approved.

Bonmarche currently employs 1900 people but hundreds of jobs are expected to be slashed in a bid to turn the business around.  There will be a “store-by-store profitability assessment” after which underperforming stores could face closure.

7. CMA LAUNCHES PROBE INTO VIDEO GAMING

The Competition and Markets Authority has launched a probe into the video gaming industry. A number of console makers including,  Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo have auto-renewal policies for their online gaming services. There is concern that companies have breached consumer protection law. The gaming sector has grown exponentially over the past few years. In 2018, the global videos games industry reached a value of $135 billion, up over 10% from 2017.

8. ITS NOT THAT EASY BEING GREEN

Independent coffee chain Boston Tea Party (BTP) has suffered a huge hit to sales after banning single use cups last year. The brand banned disposable cups in June 2018. Customers must bring reusable cups, drink in store or pay a deposit on a cup which can be returned to any branch. 

BTP previously hit sales of £1 million from takeaway cups but the ban has seen sales fall by £250,000. The company is still firmly committed to the ban and has encourage other coffee shops to follow suit. Through the ban, BTP has 22 branches in England and has stopped over 125,000 cups going to landfill.

Other major coffee chains offer discounts on beverages for customers who bring reusable cups. It will, however, take a seismic shift for bigger companies to adopt a ban like BTP has.    

9. ADIDAS X BEYONCE

Adidas has linked up with Beyonce to relaunch her Ivy Park Brand. Adidas aims to create signature both lifestyle and performance gear. The Ivy Park brand was launched in 2016 in collaboration with Topshop. Beyonce bought out Topshop in November 2018 and now hopes to attract more female customers. Sportswear brands have been seeking to increase their presence in women’s clothing market. Puma recently teamed with Rihanna to launch the Fenty Puma range.

10. SUPERDRY BOARD BATTLE

Superdry co-founder Julian Dunkerton has won a campaign to re-join the company’s board, leading to the resignation of the entire board in protest. Superdry has sought to turn around its business after sales and profits have struggled. For the past six months, Dunkerton had sought to be reinstated to the board. He needed a majority and last week he won 51.5% of shareholder votes and will return as a non-executive director. The board believed Dunkerton does not understand the fashion industry and was hinderance. After the vote, an emergency board meeting was held which culminated with all directors resigning. Superdry shares crashed by 9% in response to the vote.  

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