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John Lewis warns of ‘significant’ impact from no-deal Brexit

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Ben Chapman@b_c_chapman
Thursday 12 September 2019 09:13
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Leo Varadkar warns Boris Johnson 'if there is no deal, it will cause disruption for British and Irish people alike'

John Lewis has warned of a "significant" impact from a no-deal Brexit as the department store chain swung to a £26m half-year loss.

The retailer said its own preparations for a disporderly departure from the EU next month would not be able to fully offset the anticipated disruption.

Last night the government released the Operation Yellowhammer document which confirmed ministers are planning for the possibility of a no-deel Brexit causing two-and-a-half day delays at Channel ports, food price hikes affecting vulnerable people, public disorder and disruption to medicine supplies.

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Welcome to The Independent's live coverage of business and economics events.

John Lewis has become the latest firm to warn of the extent of the damage that could be caused by a no-deal Brexit.

With the 31 October deadline fast approaching the department store chain unveiled a £25.9m loss and highlighted weak consumer confidence.

Morrisons has also reported disappointing results with like-for-like sales for the six months to August 4 falling 0.2 per cent.

Later today, the European Central Bank is expected to unveil a package of loosening measures designed to support Europe's struggling economies.

ben.chapman12 September 2019 09:53
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Angry Birds maker's share price plummets

Shares in Finnish company Rovio, maker of Angry Birds, have crashed by 25 per cent this morning.

Rovio cut its earnings outlook and says margins will be tighter than it had previously thought.

The company says it will invest more heavily in the growth of successful new games including Angry Birds Dream Blast and Sugar Blast 

ben.chapman12 September 2019 10:03
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Regulate 'loot boxes' in computer games under gambling law say MPs

Loot boxes in video games should be regulated under gambling law and be banned from being sold to children, MPs have argued.

The feature appears in some games as packs of virtual objects players can buy using real money, but the contents of a pack are randomised and not known until after purchase, which has led to fears that it could act as a gateway to gambling for young people.

It is thought to be an integral money-maker for major games companies, generating billions in revenue.

A report published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport committee (DCMS) outlines a number of key recommendations for the Government to deal with the issue, and calls on game makers to accept responsibility for addictive gaming disorders.

Press Association

ben.chapman12 September 2019 10:21
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British American Tobacco cuts 2,300 jobs worldwide

Tobacco giant BAT is cutting 2,300 of its 55,000 staff and shifting its business towards vaping.

The Benson & Hedges maker says most of the cuts will happen by January but has not revealed where the axe will fall.

BAT employs almost 2,500 staff in the UK. It plans to invest heavily in high-growth areas such as vaping and heated tobacco products which are seen as less harmful to users.

However, concenrs have been raised recently over a mysterious lung disease linked to vaping which has claimed the lives of six people in the US.

ben.chapman12 September 2019 10:30
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Germany to fall into recession

The ailing German economy, long considered the engine of Europe, is likely to slip into recession this quarter, according to the Ifo Institute.

“Like an oil slick, the weakness in industry is gradually spreading to other sectors of the economy, such as logistics,” said Timo Wollmershaeuser, Ifo’s head of forecasts.

The Ifo expects a 0.1 per cent contraction this quarter, following 0.1 per cent decline between April and June

The Ifo, one of Germany's largest economic think tanks, joins with other respected forecasters including Germany's Macroeconomic Policy Institute in predicting a recession.

ben.chapman12 September 2019 10:42
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Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing shares fall after LSE bid proposal

Shares in HKEX slid 3.5 per cent this morning after the company made £32bn approach for the London Stock Exchange Group.

It suggests investors may be worried about political and regulatory hurdles in the way of the deal.

The LSE will be seen as a strategic asset while HKEX is largely owned by the Hong Kong state

Seven of HKEX's 13 board members were appointed by Hong Kong's government and its chairman is drawn from the Hong Kong executive council.

Activist investor David Webb, who sat in the HKEX board until 2008, told the Financial Times that Beijing exerts influence over the company via Hong Kong's executive.

“Through the Hong Kong government, Beijing controls the exchange here and lists vasts amounts of state-owned enterprises on it,” Mr Web told the newspaper.

ben.chapman12 September 2019 10:52
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Royal Navy frigate contract secures 2,500 jobs

Engineering giant Babcock has been named the preferred bidder for the £1.3bn contract to build a new fleet of Royal Navy frigates.

The five ships will be assembled at its Rosyth Dockyard in Fife and will involve supply chains throughout the UK.

More than 2,500 jobs across the UK are expected to be supported as a result of the Type 31 programme, including 150 jobs for new technical apprenticeships.

The firm said work on the fleet will begin immediately once the formal contract is awarded later this financial year, with detailed design work first and manufacture starting in 2021.

Archie Bethel, Babcock chief executive, said: "Driven by innovation and backed by experience and heritage, Arrowhead 140 is a modern warship that will meet the maritime threats of today and tomorrow, with British ingenuity and engineering at its core.

"It provides a flexible, adaptable platform that delivers value for money and supports the UK's National Shipbuilding Strategy.

"Arrowhead 140 will offer the Royal Navy a new class of ship with a proven ability to deliver a range of peacekeeping, humanitarian and war-fighting capabilities whilst offering communities and supply chains throughout the UK a wide range of economic and employment opportunities."

Press Association

ben.chapman12 September 2019 10:53
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Falling sales and surging costs plunged John Lewis into a £25.9m loss in the first half of its financial year and the company warned that Brexit will continue to hold buyers back.

If Britain leaves the EU without a deal, the impact will be even larger and the retailer will not be able to mitigate it, despite preparations such as stockpiling, John Lewis said on Thursday.

“Brexit continues to weigh on consumer sentiment at a crucial time for the sector as we enter the peak trading period,” the company said, noting that it tends to make the majority of its profits in the second half of the year.

The full story on John Lewis is here:

ben.chapman12 September 2019 10:55
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On-demand bus operator Snap makes a comeback

The innovative inter-city bus operator, Snap, is to resume services later this month, travel correspondent Simon Calder reports.

The firm, which runs “demand-driven” inter-city buses, launched services in October 2016 but “paused” operations in June 2019 to seek fresh funding. 

It has now announced that links from London to Bristol and Nottingham will resume on 27 September – coincidentally the date of the next British Airways pilots’ strike.

Tickets are on sale starting at £5 one-way from five pick-up points in Bristol to Baker Street and St Pancras stations in London, and from five locations in Nottingham to a series of stops in the capital – ending on the edge of Covent Garden.

Here's the full story:

ben.chapman12 September 2019 11:47
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Breaking: European Central Bank cuts deposit rate to lowest ever level

The ECB has cut the rate charged on commercial bank deposits to its lowest ever level - minus 0.5% - as part of a stimulus package aimed at preventing a recession in the eurozone.

The bank has left its benchmark interest rate at zero per cent and will restart its bond-buying programme.

The ECB will buy €20bn of bonds every month, starting in November.

ben.chapman12 September 2019 12:56

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