This eight-part series features business voices from all of the UK's regions and spans the nation's biggest industries. Here, Hasan Chowdhury visits Scotland. They call it Picasso, a gold-plated cuboid no heavier than a few bags of sugar and shorter than a standard-length ruler. Sitting inside a clean room overlooking Glasgow’s River Clyde, once renowned for its shipyards and tobacco trade, the compact piece of gear is a nano-satellite which will soon be fired 310 miles (500km) into the air. Within months it will be orbiting the Earth to measure atmospheric changes to help tackle climate change. Here at the headquarters of Clyde Space, Scotland’s aerospace industry is blossoming. Glasgow... … [Read more...] about Special report: Will Brexit create a black hole for Scotland’s space sector?
Fashion retailer Ted Baker descended further into crisis as it issued a stark profit warning, scrapped its dividend and announced the immediate departure of both its chief executive and executive chairman. Lindsay Page, the chief executive, has been replaced on an interim basis by finance director Rachel Osborne. Page had taken over from the company’s founder Ray Kelvin in April, after he was accused of a regime of “forced hugs” and harassment. David Bernstein, the executive chairman, has also quit and been succeeded by Sharon Baylay, an independent director, as acting chair. The retailer expects to make a full-year profit before tax of £5m, “with a potential outcome of up to £10m dependent on Christmas trading and final year-end review”. Last year, it posted a pretax profit of £50.9m. Ted Baker said trading in November and during the Black Friday period was worse than expected, and it expects difficult conditions to continue. Retail sales … [Read more...] about Ted Baker chief quits as it warns over profits plunge
Mothercare remained in the red in the first half after reporting a slowdown in international sales and placing its UK business in administration. The embattled retailer said like-for-like international sales slipped 5.7pc in the six months to October, compared with a 3.4pc fall for the same period last year. Pre-tax losses from continuing operations rose almost 15pc to £21.2m. Mark Newton-Jones, chief executive of Mothercare, said: “This has been an extraordinarily challenging period in Mothercare’s 58-year history, particularly for our committed, hard-working colleagues who have worked tirelessly to sustain our UK retail operation. "It was simply not financially viable to maintain the UK store... … [Read more...] about Mothercare international sales fall as losses mount
The eurozone is in a bind. Despite successive doses of monetary stimulus by the European Central Bank, inflation remains stubbornly below target. Conventional monetary policy, and even quantitative easing, evidently have limited potency when interest rates are at or near zero. Monetary sceptics worry that lowering rates further will damage Europe’s banks. Additional asset purchases beyond the monthly level of €20bn (£16.8bn) already agreed, they warn, will impair the liquidity of financial markets. By pushing up asset prices, the ECB could expose the financial system to stability risks when those lofty prices return to earth. The obvious event precipitating this return would be a recession. And when this downturn materialises, the ECB will have limited room for offsetting action, again because interest rates are already low. The solution to this conundrum suggested by the ECB president, Christine Lagarde, is greater reliance on fiscal policy. By purchasing government … [Read more...] about Can the eurozone economy be revived without budget deficits?
“Getting Brexit Done” runs through the Conservatives’ election campaign like the writing through a stick of rock. From there, all else follows to “unleash the potential” of the UK, Boris Johnson has argued. But maybe the Prime Minister’s second most pressing priority – when he’s pulled us out of the EU on Jan 31, that is –should be creating a new generation of capitalists. While the Tories are far enough ahead in the polls to make a Johnson majority look assured against a Labour Party determined to wreak havoc on the economy in two days’ time, addressing housing could be key to the Conservatives’ longer-term success. The PM has said he wants to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, but... … [Read more...] about After Brexit, Boris Johnson needs to create a new generation of capitalists