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.
ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN CONTINUED BUT UK EMPLOYMENT AND PAY IMPROVED...
- The IMF warned of a global economic slowdown (Tuesday) citing Brexit, escalating US-China trade tensions and a Chinese slowdown as being the three main risk “triggers”
- China’s economic growth rate is officially slowing down (Tuesday)
- The US government shutdown drags on but pawnbrokers and consumer loan providers are benefiting (Monday)
- Even though the UK is heading towards the Brexit unknown, pay and employment both rose (Wednesday)
THERE WERE A NUMBER OF IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS IN TECH THIS WEEK...
- The week started off with Huawei getting downbeat about its future (Monday) given the constant stream of criticisms being leveled at it around the world. Jobs and forecasts are looking vulnerable. The week ended with China banning Microsoft’s Bing search engine (Friday)
- Google got fined €50m for breaching GDPR (Tuesday)
- There were rumours that Apple’s main contractor Foxconn is looking at shifting more iPhone assembly to India (Wednesday), which could potentially be a game-changer in my opinion
IT WAS YET ANOTHER MOSTLY BUMPY ROAD FOR RETAIL THIS WEEK...
- Big landlord British Land decided to consolidate its offices division and its retail, leisure and residential division (Tuesday) in order to focus on mixed-use “campuses” that combine shops, homes and office space. I personally believe that this will be the way forward otherwise our retail “zones” will become ghost towns if we’re not careful as the migration to online continues. However, it’s important to be mindful that figures used to show consumer behaviour have their strengths and weaknesses (Wednesday) although the trend at the moment appears to be one of overall weakness as retail jobs continue to get cut (Thursday)
- Patisserie Valerie went bust (Wednesday) although a potential bidder emerged (Thursday) and – talking of potential bidders, it turns out that Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley is considering the purchase of HMV (Monday)
- Willam Hill announced major closures (Tuesday)…
- …but there was good news for high street winners Mountain Warehouse (Tuesday) and Joules (Thursday) who reported strong sales
...AND THERE WAS SOME DRAMATIC NEWS FOR INDIVIDUAL COMPANIES AS WELL...
- Dyson announced that it is moving its HQ to Singapore (Wednesday). Everyone’s getting shirty about it given that Sir James Dyson appears to be saying one thing (Brexit, yay!) and then doing another (Brexit, nay!) but I think this will all blow over because there’s nothing anyone can do about it. As long as the company does well, I think the memory of this will fade, but it might come back to haunt him further down the line. At the end of the day, he’s moving the business closer to where the juiciest growth markets are
- Metro announced that it had mis-classified its property assets (Thursday) which resulted in a massive sell-off of the shares. This could become a much bigger problem if other banks have been making the same mistake, but there’s no word on that at the moment
- Santander announced that it would be cutting 20% of its UK branches (Thursday) as the whole sector continues to evolve in the digital age
My favourite “alternative” stories this week were Mum throws shoe at teen from huge distance – but can’t believe what happens next (The Mirror, Courtney Pochin https://tinyurl.com/ybgmte23) which made me laugh a lot and then Incredible video shows teenager skating down the hill through French Alps at 68mph (Daily Motion, https://tinyurl.com/y93m2juc) because it was so darn impressive!