This is an amalgamation of the “best bits” of the daily weekday newsletter/blog woven together to form a concise and coherent view on the things that matter in the commercial and economic news of the week.
THE DAY IN BRACKETS REFERS TO THE EDITION WHERE THE STORY APPEARED IN WATSON’S DAILY. Clicking on the day will take you to the appropriate edition of Watson’s Daily.
THIS WEEK WAS ABOUT ELECTION DISAPPOINTMENT, FORCED ESCAPES AND LUCKY ESCAPES...
- The Spanish election proved to be a disappointment (Monday) as PM Pedro Sanchez was left with an even smaller majority for his PSOE Socialists party – but actually he managed to negotiate a coalition government with far left party Podemos soon after (although I would say that isn’t really ideal – more the least worst option!). Drama is sure to continue here…and then Bolivia’s Evo Morales “resigned” (Monday) after being in the top job since 2006, leaving a power vacuum and a dent in the socialist movement in Latin America
- Meanwhile in Europe, there were close shaves all around with Germany managing to avoid recession (Friday) by turning out a sliver of growth thanks to consumers spending money and the UK also managed to avoid a recession (Tuesday) thanks to a strong performance from the services sector. Phew!
CHINA'S ALIBABA DID IT YET AGAIN, WALMART CONTINUED ITS WINNING RUN WHILE UK RETAIL PAINTED A MIXED PICTURE...
- In China, Alibaba had another record-breaking Singles’ Day event (Tuesday) as it took $38bn in sales – in one day! This year’s performance easily smashed last year’s total of $30.8bn
- In the US, Walmart announced its fifth consecutive year of sales growth (Friday). It’s the first major retailer to report and will be followed next week by Target, Best Buy and Macy’s. Meanwhile, Amazon opened its first supermarket (Tuesday) in Los Angeles. It will be distinct from Whole Foods (the top end chain it bought two years ago), the cashierless Amazon Go and its “four star” stores (where it sells goods that were rated four stars or more) and is expected to have Amazon’s branding
- In the UK, Sainsbury’s signed a wholesale deal with Australia’s Coles (Monday) to provide them with a range of cupboard essentials such as soup, beans and dried pasta as well as its homeware. This is part of Coles’ efforts to broaden its own-brand ranges. Meanwhile, Aldi and Lidl continue to take market share (Wednesday) from the incumbents
- Elsewhere on the UK high street, Burger King teamed up with Unilver to produce a “Rebel Whopper” (Tuesday) for the European market while Greggs put in another solid performance (Tuesday) and raised its profit forecasts for the fourth time this year. Retailers continue to call for a rates review (Tuesday) as retail landlords Land Securities (Wednesday) and British Land (Thursday) suffer with lower rents and disappearing tenants
...AND IN FAANG NEWS...
- Facebook announced a new service called Facebook Pay (Wednesday) that will let you pay companies and individuals via WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger and Facebook itself. It will launch in the US this week before a more widespread rollout
- Apple announced a new app with a really exciting name – “Research App” (Friday) where users will allow the company access to information collected by their Watches and iPhones and use it to create new products based on “live time” data
- Netflix put a brave face on the impact of the Disney+ launch (Friday) although it is going to find things much harder (and probably more expensive) with the advent of new competitors in streaming
- Google came under scrutiny for the way it shares its data in healthcare (Tuesday, Thursday) but also announced its intentions to wade into banking (Thursday)
(the other “A” in “FAANGs” is for Amazon – but I already mentioned it in the previous section😜)
...AND THEN THERE WERE SOME BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS...
My favourite “alternative” stories this week are about a cat – Potato the googly-eyed cat’s stunned expression makes people think he’s ‘broken’ (The Mirror, Luke Matthews https://tinyurl.com/tujt5t9) – and a dog in How One Woman Taught Her Dog to Talk (Inside Edition, https://tinyurl.com/runt4ra). Have a great weekend!