Everything is cheaper- Burberry UK sees tourist boom

The Burberry British fashion house said tourists’ higher spending power due to the drop in sterling drove the rise.

The Burberry British fashion house said tourists' higher spending power due to the drop in sterling drove the rise.

Comparable European sales, which exclude new store openings, were higher in the first half of the year, marking the first rise for over a year.
The firm, which makes just 15% of its sales in the UK, said the pound’s fall would increase full year profit.
The pound has fallen almost 20% since the Brexit vote on 23 June, and around 16% against the euro. The drop has helped to drive overall tourist spending higher.
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Louis Vuitton handbags are cheaper in London than anywhere else.
According to FTSE 100-listed payments processor Worldpay, foreign card spending growth was up 3.4% in August compared with the previous year, and online sales growth rose by 5.3%. High Street sales were up 3.0%.
The most recent official statistics also show signs of a tentative rise in tourism, with overseas residents making a whopping 3.8 million visits to the UK in July, up 2% on the same month last year. In total, they spent some £2.5bn.
However, the boom in UK tourism hasn’t been enough to offset Burberry’s other woes.
Total sales at the designer fell, with Burberry blaming the 4% drop to £1.16bn in the six months to the end of September on a fall in wholesale and licensing revenues, which dragged down its overall performance.
Nonetheless, Burberry, which has been overhauling the business including redesigning its website and offering customers the opportunity to personalise products, sai

December 18, 2016   Posted in: Building Businesses, Business Development, Business Finance, Business Growth, Business Jobs, Business Profits, Business Sales, Business Services, Business Survival, Business Win, Finance Business, Growing Businesses, Growing Economy, Growing Sales, Uncategorized  No Comments

Netflix shares soar as video service posts jump in subscribers

Netflix has shaken off growth worries with new subscriber numbers that beat estimates and sent its shares soaring.

Netflix has shaken off growth worries with new subscriber numbers that beat estimates and sent its shares soaring.

The video streaming company added 3.2 million international customers in the last three months, far more than the 2 million analysts had predicted.
In the US numbers rose by 370,000, as hit shows such as Stranger Things and Narcos won over more subscribers.
It helped quarterly revenues rise 31% to £1.88 billion, sparking a 20% jump in Netflix’s share price.
In the three months to the end of September Netflix had about 83.3 million subscribers.
The company said that it plans to license content to existing online service providers in China rather than operate its own service in China in the near term.
Netflix has been expanding in international markets to counter slowing growth in the US. The service has a strong presence in more than 130 markets worldwide, except China.
Concern that Netflix’s growth was slowing had overshadowed the company. Its shares had fallen about 13% this year.
But in after-hours trading on Wall Street the shares jumped 20% to about $119.
Analysts said that the figures should dispel fears that Netflix was running out of momentum, at least in the short term.
Neil Saunders, chief executive of retail consultants Conlumino, said: “We maintain our view that over the next few years international expansion will pay dividends, but for the current cycle Netflix will be very reliant on domestic performance to ensure it ends the fiscal year on a high note.”

December 17, 2016   Posted in: Building Businesses, Business Development, Business Finance, Business Growth, Business Profits, Business Sales, Business Services, Business Survival, Business Win, Digital Business, Finance Business, Global Businesses, Growing Businesses, Growing Jobs, Growing Profits, Uncategorized  No Comments

Tech Talent: Map of the UK’s digital clusters

There are more than 1.5 million “digital tech” jobs in the UK, and the sector is said to be growing faster in terms of turnover and productivity than the wider economy.

There are more than 1.5 million "digital tech" jobs in the UK, and the sector is said to be growing faster in terms of turnover and productivity than the wider economy.

Those assertions were outlined in a report from the Tech City UK quango and innovation charity Nesta a little while back, which highlighted how many of the innovation-focused enterprises had benefited from clustering together.
What’s striking is that at first glance, the numbers seem to confirm that London’s cluster is well ahead of any other – and indeed the capital hosts several of tech’s better-known names.

But once you combine the data with official population statistics, another picture emerges.

Based on a calculation of how many tech jobs there are per head of the local population, Cambridge, Reading and Bracknell, and Oxford and Abingdon take the lead. It’s no coincidence that all three have universities with strong reputations for science, engineering and computing.
Southampton and Manchester also do well. And Ipswich is another standout, thanks to the fact that many firms there have congregated around the headquarters of BT Research – the telecoms firm’s R&D division.
The figures should still be treated with caution: Tech City UK may have been generous in the way it defined some of the jobs as being tech-related.
And it’s also notable how few of the firms in the list below are the kind of household names you would associate with Silicon Valley.

London Based Tech Jobs

Digital tech jobs: 328,000
Tech jobs per 100 residents: four
Specialisms: Financial tech, social networks, digital media
Foreign-owned firms: Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft
Locally headquartered: Shazam, Transferwise, Deliveroo, Citymapper

Manchester Based Tech Jobs

Digital tech jobs: 52,000
Tech jobs per 100 residents: 10
Specialisms: App development, digital marketing, digital entertainment
Foreign-owned firms: Google, Priceline
Locally headquartered: Apadmi, The Lad Bible, PushDoctor, UKFast

Reading & Bracknell Forest Based Tech Jobs

Digital tech jobs: 40,000
Tech jobs per 100 residents: 14
Specialisms: Cybersecurity, business software, data analytics
Foreign-owned firms: Nvidia, Microsoft, Symantec, Wipro
Locally headquartered: Altitude Angel, Cloud Direct, Fantoo

Bristol & Bath Based Tech Jobs

Digital tech jobs: 37,000
Tech jobs per 100 residents: six
Specialisms: Education tech, semiconductors, video games
Foreign-owned firms: Amazon, HP, Oracle, Unity
Locally headquartered: Opposable Games, Tribal Group, Xmos

Birmingham Based Tech Jobs

Digital tech jobs: 36,000
Tech jobs per 100 residents: three
Specialisms: Business software, Online gambling
Foreign-owned firms: N/A
Locally headquartered: Majestic, Yumzee, Intouch Games

Glasgow Based Tech Jobs

Digital tech jobs: 26,000
Tech jobs per 100 residents: four
Specialisms: Cloud computing, e-commerce, financial tech
Foreign-owned firms: Cloudwick Technology, FanDuel
Locally headquartered: Iomart, M Squared Lasers, SwarmOnline

Oxford & Abingdon Based Tech Jobs

Digital tech jobs: 25,000
Tech jobs per 100 residents: 13
Specialisms: Cybersecurity, cloud computing, video games, health tech
Foreign-owned firms: Proofpoint, Tripadvisor, Zynga
Locally headquartered: Rebellion, Sophos, Oxford Instruments

Southampton Based Tech Jobs

Digital tech jobs: 25,000
Tech jobs per 100 residents: 10
Specialisms: Hardware, e-commerce, data analytics
Foreign-owned firms: Artificial Solutions, Pivotal Software
Locally headquartered: Symetrica, nquiringminds, SPI Lasers

Leeds Based Tech Jobs

Digital tech jobs: 24,000
Tech jobs per 100 residents: three
Specialisms: App development, e-commerce, video games
Foreign-owned firms: Rockstar Games
Locally headquartered: Double Eleven, Sky Bet, Instantcart

Newcastle & County Durham Based Tech Jobs

Digital tech jobs: 22,000
Tech jobs per 100 residents: three
Specialisms: Financial tech, analytics, video games
Foreign-owned firms: Ubisoft, Epic Games, CCP Games
Locally headquartered: Sage, Orchard Systems, Eutechnyx

December 9, 2016   Posted in: Building Businesses, Business Communications, Business Development, Business Finance, Business Growth, Business Jobs, Business Profits, Growing Business, Growing Jobs, Growing Profits, Uncategorized  No Comments

Micro Focus – from takeover target to FTSE 100 newcomer

Almost exactly five years ago the UK software group Micro Focus was on the verge of being taken over.

Almost exactly five years ago the UK software group Micro Focus was on the verge of being taken over.

Valued at just over £500m the company was being wooed by a clutch of private equity firms.
But “market volatility” killed the talks. Since then Micro Focus’s fortunes have changed dramatically.
This year it joined the FTSE 100 and has bought the software arm of Hewlett Packard Enterprise to become one of the UK’s largest tech firms.
To complete the irony, the collapse of the Micro Focus talks in 2011 coincided, almost to the day, with Hewlett-Packard’s disastrous $11 billion takeover of rival software group Autonomy.
The remains of Autonomy, massively written down, are among the assets that Micro Focus is now buying for £6.6 billion from Hewlett Packard Enterprise – a spin-off from HP’s computer and printer business.
It is the latest and biggest purchase on Micro Focus’s shopping list, drawn up by executive chairman Kevin Loosemore.
As part of the shopping spree, the Berkshire-based company has bought two other US software companies – Attachmate for $1.2bn in 2014 and Serena Software this year for $540m.
Mr Loosemore, who took the helm in 2011, said: “I contacted HPE in about February this year. We are in regular contact with most players in the mature software space, it’s what we do, and HPE had just separated from HPI (Hewlett Packard Inc) at the back end of last year and I was personally intrigued as to what their new strategy was going to be.”
The core of Micro Focus’s business is this “mature software space”, specifically linking old software technology to new.
So for instance, it can make old cash machines talk to the latest banking software, or connect a supermarket’s old inventory control system to the latest generation of mainframes.
These businesses can be made to generate huge amounts of cash. Since 2011 Micro Focus has delivered annual compound shareholder returns of 39%. And its stated strategy is to deliver 15-20% returns to shareholders each year.

That explains why Micro Focus has little problem funding its acquisitions.

But its rise from mid-cap company to FTSE entrant and the near-doubling of its share price in the last year has taken many by surprise, so much so that many of the top technology analysts in London simply did not cover the stock.
One analyst said: “I think many have steered clear of it because it is a complex company, a kind of portfolio business and until recently was not considered big enough. But that will all change now.”
Software companies that were developed in the nineties have been “maturing” over the last five years and have fueled Micro Focus’s dramatic acquisition programme and rapid expansion.
“Micro Focus has realised that as technologies mature and go into decline they, as a management team, can make them more profitable by supporting them and making them work in the new environment. You could call them asset managers of software products.
“For instance, Autonomy, which made up about 6% of HP’s business will now make up over half of Micro Focus’s business. But it is hoping it can take its profit margins from the 20-30% range up to 40% which is the average for Micro Focus’s businesses.”
Asked whether Micro Focus had the skill to hold together such a rapidly expanding group of companies, Mr Amin said: “It’s exactly what they are good at, taking in declining companies, turning them round and supporting them.”

December 8, 2016   Posted in: Building Businesses, Business Communications, Business Development, Business Exports, Business Finance, Business Growth, Business Jobs, Business Profits, Business Sales, Business Services, Business Survival, Business Win, Connected Business, Flying Businesses, Growing Business, Growing Economy, Growing Jobs, Growing Profits, Growing Sales, Uncategorized  No Comments

UK sees record number of foreign investment projects

A record number of investments were made by foreign firms in the UK in the year.

A record number of investments were made by foreign firms in the UK in the year.

The Department for International Trade recorded 2,213 inward investment projects, up 11% on the previous year.
The data shows the UK is the most popular destination in the European Union for overseas firms.
However, there is concern over how the UK’s vote to leave the EU may affect future investment decisions.
Commenting on the figures, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: “These impressive results show the UK continues to be the place to do business. We’ve broadened our reach with emerging markets across the world to cement our position as the number one destination in Europe for investment.”
The report suggested that 116,000 jobs were created or safeguarded by overseas investment last year.
The US remains the biggest source of inward investment, accounting for 570 projects, followed by China with 156 and India with 140.
Simon French, chief economist for Panmure Gordon said attractive tax rates, the use of English, a reliable legal system, and Britain’s membership of the European Union were factors that have made the UK an attractive location for foreign investors.
“What will be far more important than Brexit will be whether the political forces that shaped the vote to leave also put pressure on the UK to be a more closed/protectionist nation. This would have much larger (negative) ramifications for future inward investment flows,” he said.
The current financial year has already seen one high profile foreign deal, with the purchase of UK computer chip designer ARM Holdings by Japan’s Softbank for £24bn.

December 3, 2016   Posted in: Building Businesses, Business Communications, Business Development, Business Finance, Business Growth, Business Jobs, Business Profits, Business Sales, Business Win, Digital Business, Growing Business, Growing Economy, Growing Jobs, Growing Profits, Growing Sales, Online Business Growth, Online Marketing, Professional Services, Search Engines, Uncategorized  No Comments

Royal Mint sees surge in demand for gold bars and coins

It seems the quest for gold is not currently limited to the venues of Rio de Janeiro.

It seems the quest for gold is not currently limited to the venues of Rio de Janeiro.

The Royal Mint has said that it saw a “surge” in demand for the precious metal following the Bank of England’s cut in base rates to 0.25% on 4 August.

During that week the Mint saw a 25% increase in transactions on its bullion website. It also experienced a 50% increase in sales of gold bars and coins, compared with the previous week.

It is thought investors are turning to gold as cash and bonds offer diminishing returns, exacerbated by lower interest rates.

So far this year, the price of gold has risen by 45% in sterling terms, and 25% in dollar terms. However there is a warning that gold prices will not necessarily continue rising.

“It’s worth pointing out gold is by no means a one way bet – in 2011 it was trading at above $1800 an ounce. It’s an insurance policy for the rest of your investments and as such should make up no more than 5-10% of your portfolio.”

Gold is currently trading at $1344 an ounce.

Earlier this week, the World Gold Council reported that global investment demand for gold hit a record level in the first six months of this year. However consumer demand in countries such as India and China, traditionally among the strongest buyers of gold, was lower.

November 28, 2016   Posted in: Business Development, Business Finance, Business Growth, Business Sales, Business Services, Business Win, Finance Business, Growing Business, Growing Sales, Uncategorized  No Comments

Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26bn

Microsoft is buying the professional networking website LinkedIn for just over £18 billion in cash.

Microsoft is buying the professional networking website LinkedIn for just over £18 billion in cash.

The software giant will pay $196 a share – a premium of almost 50% to Friday’s closing share price.

The deal will help Microsoft boost sales of its business and email software. Microsoft said that LinkedIn would retain its “distinct brand, culture and independence”.

Ever had one of those annoying LinkedIn emails inviting you to “endorse” a contact for some skill or another? Perhaps LinkedIn chief executive Jeff Weiner and its founder Reid Hoffman deserve to be endorsed for salesmanship after today’s deal.

After a tricky period in which the shares have fallen amid widening losses, they have persuaded Microsoft to make its biggest deal. The software giant is paying a 50% premium on Friday’s closing share price to buy LinkedIn, a price which amounts to $250 (£170) for every active user. To put that into context, that’s about the market value of Sky, or eight times as much as Daily Mail owner DMGT – and they are both profitable.

But this deal is about more than money: it is meant as a powerful signal of where Satya Nadella is now taking Microsoft. He sees its future as a cloud computing business providing all sorts of professional services to clients – including a social network to connect them to each other.

“We are trying to ride the wave of the new technologies,” Mr Nadella told me from Seattle. “It’s about AI, it’s about mobile, it’s about cloud and we’re trying to bring those things together.”

However, the deal to buy Nokia’s mobile phones division had a similar logic – and the entire value of that purchase was written off just a year later. So Microsoft’s investors may look at that $26bn price tag nervously, while anyone with a few LinkedIn shares may be using the network to send a message of congratulations to their board.

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said he had long admired LinkedIn: “I have been thinking about this for a long time. The deal was key to our bold ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes”, he added.

The company planned a different approach to integrating LinkedIn to preserve its culture and brand, Mr Nadella said: “That’s what’s going to be very very different about this.”

Microsoft had a long record of successfully integrating acquisitions, he explained, citing Minecraft – the video game whose maker it bought in 2014 for $2.5bn – as well as its very first purchase: the presentation software PowerPoint for $14m in 1987.

LinkedIn shares soared 47%, or $61.50, to $192.60 in New York following the announcement of the deal.

Shares in the company, which floated in May 2011, have fallen by more than 40% this year.

The stock plunged by a quarter in February after the company issued a profit warning for the first quarter and reported an annual loss of $166m.

Jeff Weiner will remain chief executive, reporting to Mr Nadella. He and Reid Hoffman – the chairman, co-founder and controlling shareholder of LinkedIn – both backed the deal.

“Today is a re-founding moment for LinkedIn,” said Mr Hoffman. “I see incredible opportunity for our members and customers and look forward to supporting this new and combined business.”

LinkedIn has been trying to expand by offering users more messaging options, mobile apps and a revamped “newsfeed” to help boost engagement. Last year, the site pledged to send less frequent and “more relevant” messages after numerous user complaints.

The takeover is by far the biggest acquisition made by Microsoft, which paid $8.5bn for Skype in 2011 and bought Nokia’s mobile phone business for $7.2bn in 2013.

November 23, 2016   Posted in: Building Businesses, Business Communications, Business Development, Business Growth, Business Services, Connected Business, Digital Business, Global Business, Growing Business, New Business Development, Online Business Growth, Uncategorized  No Comments

Raspberry Pi maker Premier Farnell bought by Daetwyler

The maker of the Raspberry Pi mini computer is being bought by Swiss electronics company Daetwyler Holdings for 1bn Swiss francs (£700m).

The maker of the Raspberry Pi mini computer is being bought by Swiss electronics company Daetwyler Holdings for 1bn Swiss francs (£700m).

The deal values Premier Farnell shares at 165p each. The shares soared 50% to 164p after the takeover was announced.

Daetwyler distributes more than 500,000 electronics products under brands such as Nedis.

Premier Farnell has been trying to put its business on a firmer footing in recent months. It has cut dividend payouts to shareholders, and sold its industrial products business, Akron Brass, for £186 million.

Eben Upton, the pioneer of the Raspberry Pi, was made a CBE in the Queen’s latest Birthday Honours list.

The Pi has proved hugely popular with electronics hobbyists and many children use the devices to get a taste of computer coding.

In April 2016, the Pi became the most popular British computer ever made. More than eight million have been sold since it was launched in early 2012.

The Raspberry Pi is a series of small single-board computers developed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and in developing countries.

The original model became far more popular than anticipated, selling outside of its target market for uses such as robotics. Peripherals (including keyboards, mice and cases) are not included with the Raspberry Pi. Some accessories however have been included in several official and unofficial bundles.

November 17, 2016   Posted in: Building Businesses, Business Communications, Business Development, Business Finance, Business Growth, Business Profits, Business Sales, Business Services, Business Win, Connected Business, Growing Business, Growing Economy, Growing Jobs, New Business Development, Uncategorized  No Comments

Amazon sees profits and sales surge

Amazon has reported a profit of £351 million in its first quarter, helped by a 28% jump in sales.

Amazon has reported a profit of £351 million in its first quarter, helped by a 28% jump in sales.

Sales hit £37.8 billion for the three months to the end of March, helped by rising sales of its Kindle reading devices and Fire tablet computers.

Both sales and profits were higher than analysts had been expecting and Amazon shares jumped in after hours trading. The company reported strong growth in customers for its Prime service, which includes free delivery and TV shows.

The results were a positive sign for investors who had been rattled by disappointing earnings from Apple and Microsoft.

Amazon’s cloud services unit was an important source of sales growth.

The cloud business rents data storage space and software services to companies, and is Amazon’s fastest growing unit.

Revenue rose 64% year-over-year, reaching £3.25 billion.

Investors have been watching Amazon’s cloud operation closely, particularly after one of its biggest customers, Apple, announced it would be moving some of its business elsewhere.

Since the start of the year Amazon has added new televisions shows and films to its Prime service, which helped to attract new users.

In April, Amazon introduced options to pay monthly for the service.

The plan is part of an effort to compete with video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

The company also attributed the increased number of Prime members to the expanded list of products eligible for free two-day shipping.
Device sales

Amazon did not detail sales of devices like the Kindle and Fire table, but did say that the division has seen growth.

“Amazon devices are the top selling products on Amazon, and customers purchased more than twice as many Fire tablets than first quarter last year,” chief executive Jeff Bezos said.

November 8, 2016   Posted in: Business Communications, Business Development, Business Finance, Business Growth, Business Profits, Business Sales, Business Services, Business Win, Global Business, Growing Profits, Online Marketing, Professional Services, Uncategorized  No Comments

Adele has been named as Britain’s richest ever female musician

Adele named as UK’s richest female musician ever as fortune hits £85m

Adele named as UK's richest female musician ever as fortune hits £85m

A list of the top 50 music millionaires in the UK and Ireland puts the singer’s £85m fortune in 30th place – an increase of £35m compared to last year.

The only female singer with a bigger fortune on the list – which also covers Ireland – is Irishwoman Enya on £91m.

The 27-year-old’s fortune was boosted by the release of 25 – her first album in four years.

The singer made her debut on the under-30s list in 2011 in ninth place, but by 2012 she had secured the top spot, a position she has held onto ever since.

Adele is now ranked at number 30 in the overall UK and Ireland music millionaires list, above Sir Cliff Richard, Gary Barlow and Kylie Minogue, and up from 43rd place last year.

She’s one of just three solo women to make it onto the 2016 list.

Top 10 music fortunes

1. Sir Paul McCartney and Nancy Shevell £760m

2. Lord Lloyd-Webber £715m

3. U2 £500m

4. Sir Elton John £280m

5. Sir Mick Jagger £235m

=6. Olivia and Dhani Harrison (wife and son of the late George Harrison) £220m

=6. Keith Richards £220m

8. Ringo Starr £200m

9. Michael Flatley £198m

10. Sting £185m

Earlier this year Adele made history for a solo artist when she picked up four Brit awards, winning best female solo artist, Brits global success award, best single for Hello and British album of the year for 25.

Her album 25 has now sold over 15 million copies.

Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney topped the overall Sunday Times Rich List of musicians with an estimated £760m fortune.

Sir Paul is worth £30m more than last year, according to the ranking, boosted by his American heiress wife’s £150m stake in her family’s US trucking business.

It puts him well ahead of his nearest rival on the list, Andrew Lloyd Webber, who is estimated to be worth £715m.

The Rolling Stones – with combined fortunes of £630m, up £40m on 2015, were ranked the wealthiest band in Britain and Ireland, ahead of U2 with a joint fortune of £500m.

November 1, 2016   Posted in: Business Communications, Business Growth, Business Jobs, Business Profits, Business Win, Flying Businesses, Growing Business, Uncategorized  No Comments