Crossrail, JD Sports, Disney+, LK Bennett: your commercial news round-up

updated on 18 April 2019

In a week in which France’s beloved Notre Dame burnt but was not completely destroyed, climate change protestors took to the streets (and railways) of London, and Parliament and universities take a much-needed recess over the Easter break, there are lots of interesting business news stories that aspiring lawyers should be aware of. Find out more with our round-up below:

  • Crossrail – or the east to west Elizabeth Line that will run beneath London from Shenfield to Reading – could potentially be delayed until 2021 as the project continues to run late on its original December 2018 opening date. The largest infrastructure project in Europe, Crossrail claims that the testing of its trains and signalling is “progressing well” while senior sources told the BBC that it was “proving more difficult than was first thought”. None of the rail’s 41 stations are yet complete.
  • Sportswear retailer JD Sports has defied the high street trend to report record results with its pre-tax profits rising 15.4% and revenues surging 49.2% to £4.7 billion. The store’s success has been put down to its making the most of the current trainer trend among millennials. Last month JD made an offer to purchase clothing and shoe retailer Footasylum.
  • Disney’s new online streaming service, Disney+, was announced last week but won’t be available in the US until November. The service will combine Disney’s greatest hits, as well as works from Pixar, Marvel and National Geographic, for the subscription price of $6.99 a month.
  • LK Bennett will close 15 of its 36 stores and make more than 100 employees redundant after the womenswear retailer was bought by its Chinese partner. The store went into administration at the beginning of March and reported an operating loss of £5.9 million for the year ending August 2017.
  • The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has suggested that the ‘big four’ accountancy firms – PwC, EY, Deloitte and KPMG – should be split up and forced to work with smaller rivals. The calls come after corporate collapses such as Carillion and BHS and suggestions that the firms should prevent conflicts of interest, as they audit large companies while also earning huge fees for advising on takeovers and tax. Chair of the CMA Andrew Tyrie said that “conflicts of interest cannot be allowed to persist; nor can the UK afford to rely on only four firms to audit Britain’s biggest companies any longer.” The proposals were criticised by accountancy firms and business lobbyists who claimed they could undermine confidence in corporate Britain.

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