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. You will need a FULL SUBSCRIPTION to be able to click through all the links which take you to the relevant articles.
THIS WEEK SAW BREXIT DRAMA AND ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN...
- The week started off with the prospect of Parliament voting on May’s Brexit deal (Monday), but it failed spectacularly (Wednesday). Germany voiced concerns about the impasse (Friday) but didn’t do anything else concrete
- There were concerns of economic slowdown in China and Europe (Tuesday) as both Chinese exports and Eurozone industrial production weakened and Germany narrowly avoided falling into recession (Wednesday)
THERE WAS LITTLE TO CHEER ABOUT FOR CAR MANUFACTURERS THIS WEEK...
- India overtook Germany to become world’s fourth biggest car market (Monday) with some predicting it’ll get Japan’s #3 spot by 2021 but overall car sales continue to trend down in China and Europe (Thursday). Continental, the world’s #2 car parts and tyre maker confirmed the downtrend (Tuesday)
- Meanwhile, Ford announced an alliance with Volkswagen (Wednesday) to share resources on autonomous vehicles, mobility services and electric vehicles. This alliance will be the largest of its kind in the industry.
- Lotus is to start car production in China (Friday) and Volvo invested in a high-power wireless charger maker (Wednesday)
IT WAS A BUMPY ROAD FOR RETAIL (AS ALWAYS THESE DAYS!)...
- India decided to protect its small retailers against the foreign giants (Wednesday) who have, until now been using loopholes to undercut the locals
- Meanwhile, in the UK, retailer results continued to flood in. Winners included JD Sports (Tuesday), Boohoo.com and Games Workshop (Wednesday), the Works and Cineworld (Thursday) and Primark (Friday). Losers included Revolution Bars (Tuesday), Paperchase (Wednesday– they called in KPMG for survival advice), Patisserie Valerie (Thursday – turns out they were cooking the books more than was first thought) Clarks (Thursday– who are shutting down UK production) and N Brown (Friday). There were rumours that Debenhams was going to close a lot of its stores (Monday) but M&S released a list of what it was actually going to close down (Wednesday)
TECH ALSO SAW SOME INTERESTING DEVELOPMENTS THIS WEEK...
- Germany decided to believe the negative hype over Huawei (Friday) and is looking to shut them out of 5G development
- Apple chip supplier TSMC guided down expectations of first quarter revenues (Friday) as smartphone sales continue to slow down
- Pokemon Go developer Niantic won more chunky investment (Thursday) ahead of the much-anticipated release of an AR Harry Potter game later this year. It’ll be investing it in the usual things like further development – but it will also be using the money to develop a platform that other developers will be able to use
- Netflix announced subscription price rises (Wednesday) as well as better-than-expected subscriber growth (Friday) but it seems that investors are turning their attention to revenues and profits as the company continues to spend huge amounts of money on content
My favourite “alternative” story this week wasn’t something particularly amusing (as it normally is), but something that could/should be done in this country as I’m sure there’s a market for it ???? in All the rage: Beijingers vent their stress in ‘anger room’ (Reuters, https://tinyurl.com/y74swo5t). This could be the Next Big Thing after escape rooms!