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14M BRITS SET TO SPEND £1.96BN ON BLACK FRIDAY 2016

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14M BRITS SET TO SPEND £1.96BN ON BLACK FRIDAY 2016
  • Black Friday blowout: Shoppers set to splurge £2.31 million per minute on Black Friday alone, a 19 per cent increase on 2015 sales
  • High street hordes versus online eagles: 37 per cent of shoppers set to hunt for bargains online, while 63 per cent of shoppers are set to pound the pavements
  • co.uk customers saved around £358,000 on Black Friday in 2015
  • Computer games, clothes, gadgets and booze amongst top items Brits are hoping to bag a bargain on this Black Friday

New research from VoucherCodes.co.uk, part of RetailMeNot, and the Centre for Retail Research reveals that Brits will be spending an impressive £1.96 billion on Black Friday this year, up 19 per cent on last year and equating to a massive £2,313,760per minute. Falling on Friday 25th November, Black Friday kicks off a four-day sales weekend for 14 million shoppers in Britain – with UK sales accounting for 60 per cent of total Black Friday expenditure across Europe this year.

Big ticket spending online

Black Friday deals are no longer confined to high street shoppers, despite traditionally being hailed as an in-store savings day. The report reveals that 37 per cent of Brits will be logging on from the comfort of their homes this year to avoid the crowds and bag the best bargains online. Online spend for Black Friday this year is expected to reach a massive £1 billion, up 16 per cent from 2015 (£853m). In contrast, the majority of Brits (63 per cent) will still be shopping on the high street, but spending a lower total of £961m – suggesting that Brits prefer to make those big ticket purchases online versus in-store.

The report also highlights the continued rise in popularity for mCommerce amongst British consumers, this year a massive 59 per cent of Black Friday’s online sales are set to be made via a mobile device – accounting for £591 million of the total spend on 25th November. 

Timing is everything

Brits are known for braving early starts in aid of bagging themselves a great deal and VoucherCodes.co.uk customers are no different. Last Black Friday, pre-work bargain hunters were behind the biggest spike in visitors to the site –  with 8am proving to be the peak time for savvy shoppers hunting down the best deals over their morning cup of coffee. The data reveals that Brits are willing to get up increasingly early each year to seek out that all important deal, in 2014 website traffic spiked at 8.36am and it was a more laid-back 9.52am in 2013. 

Savvy Savers

The four-day shopping bonanza from Black Friday through to Cyber Monday was one of the biggest weekends of the year for discounts on VoucherCodes.co.uk in 2015. Over the course of cyber weekend, the VoucherCodes.co.uk team addedover 7,000 offers to the site, equating to an average of 100 new deals every hour. With purchases from department stores, women’s fashion outlets, health & beauty and electronics topping the list of popular Black Friday purchases made last year, on Cyber Weekend 2015 VoucherCodes.co.uk members collectively saved a whopping £915,000 – the biggest saving made by a VoucherCodes.co.uk customer in one transaction amounted to a hefty £788. This year, VoucherCodes.co.uk predicts its members could save a massive £388,000 on Black Friday alone – up 8.5 per cent from 2015.

“The demand for Black Friday deals has gone through the roof in recent years, with savvy shoppers taking advantage of the opportunity to get a great deal on everything from toys to tech ahead of Christmas. Last year’s Black Friday was the biggest ever in the UK, British shoppers splurged a total of £1.65bn snapping-up bargains in the 24 hour period and we saw 397 per cent more visitors to VoucherCodes.co.uk on the day itself compared to the average day in 2015,” said Claire Davenport, Managing Director at VoucherCodes.co.uk, part of RetailMeNot.

This year, whilst growth in spending is supposed to be slightly more modest compared to previous years (our research predicts a 19 per cent year-on-year increase in spending for Black Friday) the date will be a key one for shoppers and retailers alike.”

Must haves for Black Friday 2016

A separate online survey by YouGov reveals that 22 per cent of UK adults are feeling positive about the upcoming Black Friday sales, with over one third (36 per cent) of those who feel positive about Black Friday revealing it will allow them to purchase items they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford.

Categories expected to do well this year include DVDs, computer games and books, followed by clothing, footwear and accessories ahead of the festive party season.

Almost three in ten (29 per cent) of Brits shopping on Black Friday this year plan on getting a bigger ticket item on Black Friday such as a new TV, perhaps in preparation for home entertaining over the festive season – up from just 17 per cent of Brits in 2015 – and just over one in ten (13 per cent) also plan on using the discount day to stock up on tipples ahead of Christmas. 

The top ten items that Brits will shop for on Black Friday 2016

  1. Gifts for others (64 per cent)
  2. DVDs, computer games and books (40 per cent)
  3. Clothing, footwear or accessories (37 per cent)
  4. Personal gadgets (29 per cent)
  5. Home electronics (TVs, speakers etc.) (29 per cent)
  6. Cosmetics or perfume (28 per cent)
  7. Toys (22 per cent)
  8. Homewares (e.g. crockery, furniture, furnishings, etc.) (22 per cent)
  9. Alcoholic drinks (13 per cent)
  10. Food (8 per cent)

“It is brilliant to see consumers making the most of the Cyber Weekend sales in the run up to Christmas and realising what incredible savings there are to be had – especially when you plan ahead and do your research! With 65 per cent of UK retailers taking part in Black Friday last year, we anticipate that number to be even higher for 2016 which means even more savings to be passed onto shoppers, helping them stay on top of their finances over the festive season.”added Claire Davenport, Managing Director at VoucherCodes.co.uk.

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Boeing, hit with $6.6 million FAA fine, faces much bigger 787 repair bill – sources

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Boeing, hit with $6.6 million FAA fine, faces much bigger 787 repair bill - sources 1

By Eric M. Johnson and David Shepardson

SEATTLE/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing Co will pay a $6.6 million to U.S. regulators as part of a settlement over quality and safety-oversight lapses going back years, a setback that comes as Boeing wrestles with repairs to flawed 787 Dreamliner jets that could dwarf the cost of the federal penalty.

Boeing is beginning painstaking repairs and forensic inspections to fix structural integrity flaws embedded deep inside at least 88 parked 787s built over the last year or so, a third industry source said.

The inspections and retrofits could take weeks or even up to a month per plane and are likely to cost hundreds of millions – if not billions – of dollars, depending to a large degree on the number of planes and defects involved, the person said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Boeing had agreed to pay $6.6 million in penalties after the aviation regulator said it failed to comply with a 2015 safety agreement.

The penalties include $5.4 million for not complying with the agreement in which Boeing pledged to change its internal processes to improve and prioritize regulatory compliance and $1.21 million to settle two pending FAA enforcement cases.

“Boeing failed to meet all of its obligations under the settlement agreement, and the FAA is holding Boeing accountable by imposing additional penalties,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement. Boeing, which paid $12 million in 2015 as part of the settlement, did not immediately comment.

Boeing engineers are working to determine the scope of inspections, including whether jets can be used as-is without a threat to safety, two people said. Boeing has not told airlines how many jets are impacted, another person said.

The FAA has been investigating instances of oversight lapses, debris left inside finished aircraft, and managers putting pressure on employees handling safety checks for the FAA, people familiar with the proceedings said.

For example, in August 2020, Boeing told to the FAA about the flaw involving structural wrinkling in the interior fuselage skin where carbon-composite barrels that form the plane’s lightweight body are melded together.

But the defect went unnoticed for months or longer because computerized safeguards that crunch data looking for quality flaws had not been programmed to look for the gaps, a third industry source said.

DELIVERY TARGET

The 787 production problems have halted deliveries of the jet since the end of October, locking up a source of desperately needed cash for Boeing.

The fuel-efficient 787 has been a huge success with airlines, which have ordered 1,882 of the advanced twin-aisle jet worth nearly $150 billion (74.7 billion pounds) at list prices.

But the advanced production process and sprawling global supply chain caused problems over the years.

As of February, Boeing had fixed the 787 production process causing the wrinkling defect, according to two people familiar with the matter.

However, planes rolled off the assembly line with the flaw for more than a year, at least, continuing even after the flaw was discovered in August 2020.

“It’s difficult to see a definitive fix that is agreeable by the aviation authorities and all going forward,” Boeing customer Air Lease Corp’s CEO John Plueger told analysts on an earnings call Feb 22. “I don’t think that we’re there yet.”

Boeing has been working on the fuselage problem, and two additional potentially hazardous defects that arose since 2019, as it charted plans to consolidate final assembly of the 787 in South Carolina starting next month, at a sharply reduced rate of 5 787s per month.

One senior supply chain source said they will have to cut rate again.

Boeing said last month it expects to resume handing over a small number of 787s to customers later this quarter.

It has an ambitious internal plan to deliver 100 of the jets this year, one person said. Analysts say deliveries are not expected to recover to 2019 levels until at least 2024.

‘OPEN-HEART SURGERY’

But before any jet is delivered, it must go through invasive inspections and costly repairs.

First, technicians must pull out the passenger seats, open up the floor paneling and use specialty tools to measure whether defects invisible to the naked eye are present, according to three people with direct knowledge of the process.

The repair work – already underway at Boeing factories in Everett, Washington and North Charleston, South Carolina – is even harder.

In the bowels of the jet, technicians have to remove multiple specialty fasteners on both sides of the inner fuselage skin, then install newly produced “shims” that fill out gaps and remove the structural dimpling. Workers then replace all the fasteners, re-paint, and re-install the interior, they said.

“It’s like open heart surgery,” one of the people said. “They’ll be retrofitting the fleet for potentially several years.”

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris, David Shepardson in Washington, and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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On a retro style milk truck, London entrepreneur chases a ‘zero waste’ future

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On a retro style milk truck, London entrepreneur chases a 'zero waste' future 2

By Natalie Thomas

LONDON (Reuters) – Heralded by the whirr of its underpowered electric engine and the clink of bottles stacked in crates on the back, Ella Shone’s ‘Topup Truck’ started life ferrying morning milk to the doorsteps of bleary-eyed Londoners.

Twenty years on, and the light vehicle known as a ‘milk float’ – once a ubiquitous sight on British streets – is enjoying a second career selling a range of goods and serving the 32-year-old’s quest to rid the city of single-use plastic.

“The fact that I’m driving around in a milk float does a lot for raising awareness in the local area,” said Shone, wearing a black beanie during her rounds in the borough of Hackney last week. “So now I’m operating at almost full capacity.”

Furloughed from her sales job during the coronavirus pandemic last spring, Shone used savings to start her new business, aiming to meet growing demand for household goods free of the plastic packaging used in supermarkets.

Customers book a visit from the ‘Topup Truck’ online and then purchase goods such as lentils, pasta, olive oil, shampoo or washing up liquid using their own containers.

From a low base a decade ago, the market for such unpackaged bulk goods could hit at least 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 billion) by 2030 in the European Union, according to a report https://zerowasteeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020_06_30_zwe_pfs_executive_study.pdf by Zero Waste Europe, an anti-waste network.

While handling the logistics can be a challenge, Shone calculates that her service has eliminated the need for at least 12,700 pieces of plastic since it launched in August.

Planning a crowdfunder to retrofit her milk float to enable her to serve a greater range of products to more communities, Shone hopes her novel approach will inspire others to find creative ways to tackle waste.

“If we want to have real change, it has to be a collective effort,” she said.

($1 = 0.8218 euros)

(Writing by Matthew Green, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

 

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Lufthansa adds more summer holiday destinations in bet on recovery

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Lufthansa adds more summer holiday destinations in bet on recovery 3

BERLIN (Reuters) – Lufthansa is adding more holiday destinations to its summer flight schedule from Germany in anticipation of a strong rebound in bookings, it said on Thursday, betting COVID-19 vaccines and testing will soon make vacation travel possible.

Germany’s largest airline said it was planning to add around 20 new destinations from Frankfurt and 13 from Munich to locations such as the Caribbean, the Canary Islands and Greece.

COVID-19 vaccines and testing, along with strict hygiene rules at airports and on planes, will be prerequisites for travel this summer, it said.

“We expect many countries to relax travel restrictions towards the summer as more and more people have been vaccinated,” Lufthansa board member Harry Hohmeister said in a statement.

Hohmeister said the airline, which secured a 9 billion euro ($11 billion) state bailout last year, expects a sharp increase in demand once restrictions are lifted.

Concerned about more transmissible coronavirus mutations, many European Union countries have reinstated border controls in what is normally a passport-free travel zone.

“There is a great yearning for travel and we believe that the summer months will reflect this,” Hohmeister added.

In Britain, holiday bookings soared this week after the government laid out plans to gradually relax coronavirus restrictions, giving battered airlines and tour operators hope that a bumper summer could come to their rescue.

Plans for relaxing coronavirus travel restrictions have not been announced yet in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to discuss lockdown options with the head of the regional governments next Wednesday.

Lufthansa, which said in January it was losing a million euros every two hours, is due to publish its fourth quarter results on March 4.

($1 = 0.8187 euros)

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa and Ilona Wissenbach. Editing by Mark Potter)

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