business news 27 August 2021

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Department stores departed, Green list updated, Skills mismatch? Apple, Oil & the US economy.

Department stores departed

The UK High Street has lost 83% of its main department stores in the five years following the collapse of the BHS group. More than two-thirds of these shops remain unoccupied as shoppers have switched to online stores, commercial property information provider CoStar Group found. Some 237 big stores that were once occupied by retail giants like Debenhams and House of Fraser, were empty as of July 2021.

Green List

Seven new countries have now been added to the UK government’s green list, including Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Azores, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Lithuania effective August 30.

Skills mismatch?

Half of the youth surveyed by the World Economic Forum said they’re either “not confident at all” or just “somewhat confident” that the skills they currently have would guarantee them a job in the next five to 10 years. The participants,  aged between 20 and 30 and coming from 187 countries,  suggested universities adopt curricula more in line with today’s labour market, ending “exorbitant” tuition fees, and providing tax credits for companies and investors when they invest in re-skilling employees.

Hays upbeat amid ‘dramatic’ jobs recovery
London-listed recruitment company Hays has forecast profits ahead of pre-pandemic levels following a “dramatic” recovery in the global jobs market. Its final-quarter fees jumped by nearly 40%, with fees in June reaching the highest levels seen since the start of the pandemic. Alistair Cox, chief executive, said: “Overall, the strength of the recovery has been dramatic. We now see a clear route back to, and then exceeding, pre-pandemic levels of profit, faster than we envisaged even six months ago.”

HGV driver shortage pushes pay up 10%
Severe labour shortages have driven up pay for HGV drivers by more than a tenth in just five months, according to figures from jobs site Indeed. The increase is more than 13 times the 0.8% average rise across all jobs during the period. Hays, the recruitment firm, said labour shortages were driving up wages in other areas too, particularly technology and life sciences.

Quarter of all food and hospitality suffer low stock levels
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show 27% of food and hospitality firms have been hit by low stock levels in recent weeks. Low stock levels were also reported by 23% of manufacturers and 25% of firms in the wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles industry. The latest ONS fortnightly business poll revealed that firms across the UK have been struggling to get hold of materials, goods and services.


Apple CEO Tim Cook is due to receive the final part of his pay deal agreed when he took over from Steve Jobs a decade ago – having sold 5 million shares in the company for more than  $750 million. Apple shareholders in return have seen revenues more than double and the shares  return more than 1,100%,and its market cap rising above $2 trillion. The bonus represents a 50% increase in his net worth with the 60-year old said to be currently worth $1.5 billion.

Separately, Apple has offered limited concessions to developers on its app store, in response to the class-action lawsuit brought by the makers of Fortnite. In the concession, app makers would be able to inform users about ways to pay for services other than through Apple’s payment system, thus avoiding having to pay Apple a large slice of revenue.

10m pensioners risk running out of money — poll
New analysis has found that nearly 10m British pension savers risk running out of money in retirement because they do not know how to make their savings last.

Over 2m people receive less than £100 per week from state pensions
Data from Hargreaves Lansdown has revealed that more than 2m Brits receive less than £100 per week from state pension payments. Helen Morrissey, Senior Pension and Retirement Analyst at the firm said: “We often talk about State Pension in terms of the maximum amount of money you can receive but data shows there are still many who receive far less than this.” According to Morrissey many pensioners get a “nasty shock” when they realise that they are not entitled to the full state pension rate as they were not aware of the eligibility criteria. Workers have to have 35 years’ worth of National Insurance credits to qualify for the full state pension, meaning that those who have taken time out the workplace, lived abroad or earned under the threshold for paying NI could be penalised


Oil Prices are on the rise on Friday, on track to post big gains for the week, on worries about supply disruptions as energy companies began shutting in production in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of a potential hurricane forecast to hit on the weekend

US Economy

The US Economy grew at a slower pace than expected in the second quarter of this year as Americans reined in spending despite restrictions easing in many states over the period, according to official figures. The Bureau of Economic Analysis revised the US economy second quarter annualised growth rate up to 6.6% from its previous estimate of 6.5%.

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