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87% of SME owners are unhappy with their websites

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87% of SME owners are unhappy with their websites 1

Small business owners feel their existing websites need improvement — with layout, content and SEO being key concerns

Although small business owners now understand the importance of having a solid digital presence, a majority (87%) say their existing websites need improvement. This is according to the latest research from website building platform, Zyro.

The research, which surveyed 100 small business owners across the UK and US, looked to uncover how SME business priorities have changed as a result of the pandemic.

The research highlights the fact that small businesses are particularly concerned around the quality of their website’s design, SEO and content, with a majority stating that these are the key areas for improvement:

·     Nearly a half (45%) believe their website’s layout/design needs improvement

·     45% feel they need to work on the search optimisation of their site

·     43% are currently unhappy with the quality of content on their site

Commenting on the new research, Gytis Labašauskas, CMO at Zyro said “Now more than ever, small businesses need to ensure they have a strong digital presence in order to survive in today’s competitive landscape. A key part of this is making sure their websites are user friendly and can easily be found by new customers through an effective SEO strategy.”

“Many small businesses built their sites years ago, when web design technology was more expensive and more difficult to use. Today, refreshing a website doesn’t have to be a daunting, time-consuming process. There’s now a range of easy to use tools that can help small businesses make the changes they need to enhance their websites, without needing the knowledge or time to code, or hire an expensive web development agency.”

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Puma forecasts strong rebound from end of second quarter

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Puma forecasts strong rebound from end of second quarter 2

BERLIN (Reuters) – German sportswear company Puma said on Wednesday it expects a heavy impact on its results from lockdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic through the end of the second quarter, but said it sees strong improvements after that.

“We do expect the negative impact to continue through the first and parts of the second quarter, but expect to see an improvement in the second half of the year,” Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden said in a statement.

For the full year, it expects at least a moderate increase in sales in constant currency, with an upside potential, and a significant improvement compared with 2020 for both its operating and net profit.

Fourth-quarter sales rose by a currency-adjusted 9.1% to 1.52 billion euros ($1.85 billion) and operating profit by 14.6% to 63 million euros, meeting average analyst forecasts for 1.52 billion and 62 million euros respectively.

Puma said growth in the fourth quarter was driven by Greater China and its Europe, Middle East and Africa region, despite lockdowns in Europe, noting that about half of the stores selling its products in Europe are still closed today.

Rival Nike in December raised its full-year sales forecast after COVID-wary shoppers demanding outdoor sportswear drove its third consecutive surge in online sales.

($1 = 0.8226 euros)

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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Vodafone’s Vantage Towers announces intention to float

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Vodafone's Vantage Towers announces intention to float 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Vantage Towers, the mobile infrastructure company spun out of Vodafone Group, on Wednesday announced its intention to float on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange by the end of March.

Vantage operates about 82,000 towers across 10 countries, where it is usually the leading or second largest supplier.

Vodafone said it would sell a “meaningful minority” to create a liquid market in Vantage Towers’ shares. No newly created shares will be on offer, meaning Vantage will not reap proceeds from the deal.

The company did not disclose how many shares will be offered, but people familiar with the matter said earlier this month, that stock worth about 3 billion euros ($3.65 billion) would be sold.

Vantage said late last year that it expects to report pro forma adjusted core earnings of up to 540 million euros in the financial year to the end of March 2021.

Rival telecom mast companies such as Cellnex, American Tower, Crown Castle and SBA Communications trade at 25 to 30 times their core earnings, which would imply a valuation of 13.5 billion to 16 billion euros for Vantage.

($1 = 0.8226 euros)

(Reporting by Paul Sandle and Arno Schuetze; editing by Sarah Young and Louise Heavens)

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Lloyds profits fall as it targets wealth push

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Lloyds profits fall as it targets wealth push 4

LONDON (Reuters) – Lloyds Banking Group reported a sharp fall in profits for 2020 but resumed paying a dividend, as outgoing CEO António Horta-Osório set out fresh targets to expand the bank’s insurance and wealth business and further cut costs.

Britain’s biggest domestic lender reported pretax profits of 1.2 billion pounds ($1.70 billion), well down on 4.4 billion pounds the previous year, after pandemic lockdowns shrank household spending and drove up provisions for bad loans.

The profit figure nonetheless beat an average of analyst forecasts of 905 million pounds.

Among the targets set out, Lloyds said it would increase funds from customers in insurance and wealth by 25 billion pounds by 2023 and cut office space by 20% within three years.

Lloyds set aside 4.2 billion pounds to cover loans expected to sour, below a 4.5 – 5.5 billion pound range previously given.

The bank said it would pay a 0.57 pence dividend per share, the maximum allowed by the Bank of England and above a forecast of 0.53 pence.

Horta-Osório is leaving Lloyds after a decade running the bank to stand for election as chairman of Credit Suisse in April, with HSBC executive Charlie Nunn set to replace him.

($1 = 0.7048 pounds)

(Reporting by Iain Withers, Editing by Lawrence White)

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