New pay ratio regulations, which came into force at the start of this year, make it a statutory requirement for major UK retailers (listed on the stock market and with over 250 employees) to disclose annually from 2020 their top bosses’ earnings and explain the gap between them and the average worker’s salary. Alongside this, firms will also be required to set out how the growth in their share price impacts executive pay.
The British Retail Consortium has written to the prime minister and chief Brexit negotiator highlighting the potentially damaging consequences of a no-deal Brexit, while the British Fashion Council CEO has joined 170 business leaders who have sent a letter to the prime minister calling for a second referendum.
One area in which Brexit is set to have a prominent impact is intellectual property in the fashion industry. With the post-Brexit loss of blanket European IP protection, fashion businesses, especially smaller ones will have to devote more thought, effort and resources to protect what is theirs or risk facing a drawn out litigation battle.
Austrian group ‘None of Your Business’ has filed formal complaints against several business giants including Amazon, Apple, YouTube (owned by Google), Netflix and Spotify after it was found that individuals could not access information held on them in an ‘easily understandable’ format as required by GDPR. The four streaming giants also failed to supply required additional information such as a list of other companies with which user information was being shared. This comes after Apple CEO Tim Cook said users should not have to tolerate indiscriminate data collection, calling for laws allowing consumers to track and delete all personal data held on them by a company if they so wished.
In a series of rare events for Apple, it has announced a landmark partnership with Samsung, the first time the tech titan has allowed a third-party company access to its software, and issued a near-unprecedented revenue warning which sees its share price drop 7%. US financial services organisation Citi Group expects weakening demand for Apple’s entire iPhone range, predicting sale figures of £45 million, the lowest since 2012.
A review of the Arcadia group (consisting of retailers such as Burton, Topman, Topshop and Dorothy Perkins) carried out by Deloitte reveals that chairman Sir Philip Green has closed down more than 200 stores across his portfolio in the past two years. One media outlet reports that, as it currently stands, the fashion group risks losing 100 stores when their leases come to an end in late 2020.
After HMV’s collapse into administration, as reported in our December aggregator, Mike Ashley has handed an offer to administrators KPMG for a takeover of the music store. KPMG has confirmed a number of proposals have been put forward for the retailer.
Following Debenhams’ rejection of Mike Ashley’s £40 million loan offer (also reported in last month’s aggregator), the Sports Direct chief executive has pushed chairman Sir Ian Cheshire and CEO Sergio Bucher off the board by voting against their re-appointment. Bucher will remain in charge of the company for the time being, albeit reporting to the board rather than sitting on it. This comes alongside talk of a radical rescue plan which would involve closure of more than half of Debenhams stores and the loss of around 10,000 jobs.
Additionally, due to weak Christmas trading, things are certainly not looking up for Debenhams as credit ratings agency Moody’s downgrades its assessment from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’, with shares plummeting by almost 19% to an all-time low. The company is currently in discussion with lenders in a bid to refinance £320 million worth of debt.
It has been revealed Britain’s retailers have suffered the worst Christmas trading since 2008. With 175,000 jobs expected to be lost and 23,000 shops set to close, 2019 looks like being another trying year for the high street. The growth of the internet is generally seen as a driving factor in the decline and forecasts support this view as UK consumers appear set to spend £25 billion through smartphones in 2019, an increase of £10 billion on 2018. Data from uswitch.com says UK shoppers are now more likely to purchase an item via a smart device than visit a shopping centre.
A new Amazon feature, ‘Amazon for Teens’, has been developed to target a new demographic, the 13-17 year old market. It allows teenagers to have their own account, browse and make purchases without the need to use a parent’s login while also getting access to any privileges enjoyed by their parents’ account, such as Prime. The feature comes with several safeguards, such as the option for adult users to set spending limits, receive alerts on purchases or have final say on all orders before they are placed. Vice president of Amazon Household Michael Carr stated the feature gave teens the independence they crave with the convenience and trust parents need.