Business Briefing

Mary Portas and Charlotte Tilbury back ‘Shop Out to Help Out’ campaign

Brits repay £1.2bn during ‘frugal February’, Nike sues over ‘Satan shoes’, and other breaking business news

1

Retail 

‘Immediate action’ needed to help save the high street 

Retail brands and figures from the world of fashion are calling for the launch of an Eat Out to Help Out-style scheme to help boost the tills of independent stores across the UK’s high streets. 

The Save The Street campaign, which has been labelled “Shop Out to Help Out”, has been backed by retail expert Mary Portas and beauty entrepreneur Charlotte Tilbury. They are urging the government to support the sector after 12 April by offering customers 50% off the cost of goods at independent retailers up to a maximum price of £10, Retail Gazette reports. 

It’s predicted that 21,000 stores will disappear this year and in an open letter the Save The Street campaign urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to take “immediate action”. Portas said “we need to act now and harness the support, need and love that people have for our high streets”.

2

Personal finance

‘Frugal February’: Brits pay off £1.2bn in debts and overdrafts

Britons repaid £1.2bn in credit card debts, personal loans and overdrafts last month, contributing to the biggest fall in consumer borrowing in 27 years. According to the Bank of England, consumer borrowing fell by 9.9% annually – “marking the biggest contraction since records started in 1994”, The Guardian reports. 

Closed high streets and limited spending options in the final month of full lockdown led to a “frugal February”, says City A.M. And the reduced disposable income spending is “leading to a glut of personal savings too”.

3

Retail 

Satan shoes: Nike sues MSCHF over blood trainer 

Sportswear giant Nike has filed a lawsuit against New York art collective MSCHF after the launch of a controversial pair of “Satan shoes” which contain a drop of real human blood in the soles. 

The $1,018 (£740) trainers were made using modified Nike Air Max 97s and feature an “inverted cross, a pentagram and the words ‘Luke 10:18’”, the BBC reports. Coinciding with rapper Lil Nas X’s latest song Montero (Call Me By Your Name), 666 pairs of the shoe sold out in less than a minute. 

Hours after the launch Nike confirmed in a statement to Entertainment Weekly that it had “filed a trademark infringement and dilution complaint against MSCHF today related to the Satan shoes”.

4

Banking 

‘Goldman snacks’: bank sends food hampers to overworked staff

In response to junior staff complaints of working “inhumane” 100-hour weeks, bosses at Goldman Sachs have sent “sympathy snack boxes” to their overworked London bankers.

Described by The Guardian as “Goldman snacks”, the one-off food hampers are “understood to have been paid for by managing directors out of their own pockets”. The gift “pales in comparison with perks announced by rival lenders”, the paper adds. Workers at other firms have received bonuses and Pelotons.

5

Publishing 

News Corp buys Lord of the Rings publisher in $349m deal

The books and media segment of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, home of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, has been bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in a cash deal worth $349m (£252.2m). 

HMH Books & Media has “one of the most extensive and successful backlists in the publishing industry”, says Yahoo! Finance. And works include other titles by J.R.R. Tolkien and George Orwell. The business will be folded into News Corp subsidiary HarperCollins Publishers.

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