Next consortium in pole position to buy Philip Green's Topshop empire

Arcadia, which employed 13,000 staff in 500 outlets when it collapsed, up for auction

A consortium that includes high street giant Next is thought to be in pole position to buy Sir Philip Green’s Topshop empire out of administration.

Arcadia, which employed 13,000 people across 500 outlets at the time of last year’s collapse, is being auctioned, with Monday being the deadline for final bids.

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Close coffee shops and nurseries during lockdown, voters say in new poll

Observer Opinium survey finds a majority think lockdown rules should be tightened yet further

Most people now believe takeaway coffee shops, cafes and children’s nurseries should be closed in a further tightening of the national lockdown, according to the latest Opinium poll for the Observer.

A majority of voters also think lockdown rules should be tightened on outside exercise with a ban on people walking or exercising with anyone from a different household.

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FTSE 100 has worst week since October as fears rise over Covid fallout

Increased lockdown measures in Germany, France and China dent prospects for rapid recovery in 2021

The FTSE 100 has recorded its worst week since late October as concerns increased about the economic fallout from tougher lockdown measures around the world.

The index of leading UK company shares ended the week down by 138 points compared with the previous week, a fall of about 2%, at 6,735, after official figures showed the British economy edged closer to a double-dip recession in November. After a strong start to the year, gaining by about 6% since the start of January, the performance was the worst weekly decline for the FTSE 100 since the last week of October as England headed for a second national lockdown.

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German economy shrank by just 5% in 2020 amid Covid-19

Manufacturing and ‘decisive’ fiscal action behind smallest anticipated fall in Europe

Germany’s economy shrank by 5% last year, according to official figures, among the smallest declines anticipated in Europe despite the coronavirus pandemic causing the deepest recession since the 2008 financial crisis.

The German recession is expected to be among the least severe in Europe, with analysts crediting a decisive fiscal response and the avoidance of overly optimistic forecasts. By comparison, national output is expected to drop by more than 9% in Italy and France, and by 11.3% in the UK – the worst performance for more than 300 years.

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