WeWork, John Lewis, Trump: your commercial news round-up

updated on 12 September 2019

Parliament may be prorogued, but the business world keeps turning and this week there are several news stories that aspiring lawyers should be keeping up with. Spending a couple of minutes researching each of these stories will result in a broader knowledge of the industry and should lead to some questions about where the law – and your future employers – might fit in.

  • You might have heard that WeWork – the flexible co-working giant – was going to debut in the stock market this year, but these plans have been put on hold as the Japanese investment firm that owns around 30% of WeWork has cautioned the company to hold off on its flotation. WeWork had been previously valued at nearly $50 billion, but questions about the firm’s structure, governance and profitability could put the firm at the much smaller estimate of $20 billion. It remains to be seen if the company will make it onto the stock market.
  • John Lewis this morning reported a half-year loss for the first time ever, amid warnings from the department store chain that a no-deal Brexit would have a “significant impact”. The group blamed a drop in sales for the bad results, claiming that “subdued consumer confidence” meant that customers were spending less money. Sales at Waitrose also slipped slightly, but there was a growth in online sales.
  • It’s been another eventful week for Trump’s administration as the president announced yesterday that he will ban flavoured e-cigarettes after a series of deaths related to vaping. Six deaths and 450 cases of lung illness have been linked to e-cigarettes. Meanwhile, this morning it has been revealed that Trump will delay imposing tariff sanctions on trading with China as a “gesture of good will”. The two countries are preparing to hold new talks in order to resolve their trade dispute with preliminary meetings taking place in Washington later this month.
  • The UK’s biggest banks have taken a hit worth £1.6 billion as younger customers are drawn towards increasingly popular competitors such as Monzo, Revolut and Starling. A report from the market research organisation Kantar found that the brands of eight of the biggest banks, including HSBC, Barclays and RBS, declined on average by 7% as they face challenges from “new and disruptive brands that are connecting with millennials”.


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