Dame Sharon White, chairwoman of the John Lewis Partnership, is set to leave her position in 2025, making her the shortest-serving chairman in the company's history. During her tenure, she faced criticism for her management of the retail group, including closing stores, scrapping staff bonuses, and experiencing heavy losses. Her plans to diversify the group's profits outside of retail were also stalled. Retail expert Richard Hyman said that while White understood the social contract of John Lewis, she failed to realize that profitability was essential to its success.
Food Price Inflation Falls Below 10% for the First Time in Over a Year
The rate of food price inflation in the UK has fallen below 10%, providing some relief to struggling shoppers. Wholesale costs have decreased, leading supermarkets to lower prices on essential items such as milk, margarine, fish, and vegetables. The rise of budget-friendly Aldi and Lidl, as well as the popularity of cheaper own-brand ranges, have cushioned consumers from the effects of grocery price inflation. New figures from the British Retail Consortium show that food inflation eased to 9.9% in September, marking the fifth consecutive month of a falling rate of price increases.
Housing Prices in the UK Experience a 5.3% Fall
The average house price in the UK has dropped by 5.3% compared to last year, the first decline since the aftermath of the financial crisis. The South West region has seen the biggest decrease in housing prices, falling by 6.3% to an average price of £301,600. Property experts attribute the decline to higher mortgage costs, with fewer mortgages being approved. The rising mortgage rates have made it more difficult for first-time buyers to afford monthly payments.
Birkenstock Valued at Over $9 billion Ahead of New York Stock Market Listing
German sandal brand Birkenstock is set to be valued at more than $9 billion in an upcoming stock market listing in New York. The company saw increased investor support following a boost from its feature in the Barbie film. This hints at a renewed enthusiasm for company listings in the US, while London has experienced a record low number of listings this year.
Car Dealership Pendragon Sees Shares Rise as Takeover Offer Improves
Shares in car dealership Pendragon rose by 5% after one of its bidders, Lithia, sweetened its takeover offer. Lithia is now offering £397 million for just the UK showrooms in a deal that would expand Pendragon's technology to the US. Pendragon had previously agreed to a £280 million deal with Lithia to sell all of its UK showrooms and retain its software business.
Analysts Predict Oil Prices Could Fall to £70 a Barrel in 2022
Analysts at Citi have forecasted that oil prices could fall to £70 a barrel next year. The price of pump fuel is determined by wholesale oil costs, which have increased due to supply cuts by Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Companies Warned About Invasive Employee Monitoring
Companies have been cautioned against excessive monitoring of their employees, particularly as remote working becomes more prevalent. Monitoring activities, such as capturing screenshots of social media, webcam footage, and audio, have raised concerns about privacy. The Information Commissioner's Office has stated that action will be taken if individuals' privacy is deemed to be at risk.
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