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It’s been a busy week in the world of football. Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo is facing criticism after his interview with Piers Morgan in which he claimed, among other comments, that there’s been “zero progress” at Manchester United since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013; and teams have begun arriving in Qatar ahead of the first World Cup game on Sunday 20 November.
As we take a step back from the footballing news dominating the week, there’s still lots for you, as aspiring lawyers, to review. This week’s commercial news round-up touches on the rising rates of inflation, stock market changes, Primark’s new trial, KPMG fines and changes to Deliveroo and Amazon.
- October saw inflation rise to 11.1%, the highest level since 1981, as energy and food prices continue to climb. The increase comes as the government’s energy price guarantee, which limits wholesale charges for gas and power, failed to curb energy prices, and the price of food is rising at its faster annual pace for 45 years. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that price rises between September and October 2022 were equivalent to those for the entire year to July 2021. Meanwhile, earlier in the week Jeremy Hunt announced plans to hike council tax in a bid to help pay for social care. The plans will be explained in today’s fiscal statement.
In other financial news, France has become Europe’s most-valued stock market, knocking Britain from the top spot. A weak pound, recession concerns and growing sales at French luxury good makers have been cited for the change. Although the French economy is also under pressure, this development marks the first time Paris has overtaken London since 2003 when records began. British shares now amount to around $2.821 trillion, while French shares are worth around $2.823 trillion, according to Bloomberg. In 2016, the London Stock Exchange was worth around $1.4 trillion more than Euronext Paris.
- As we head towards the first-ever winter World Cup for the men’s national teams, we’re also looking forward to next year’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand – “the biggest women’s sporting event in the world”. FIFA has recently named Commonwealth Bank as an official supporter of the tournament, building on the bank’s existing naming rights sponsorship of Australia’s women’s national team. As official sponsor of the tournament in 2023, the bank will work with FIFA on several initiatives, including the Player Escort Programme, which will see around 1,500 children become mascots at the start of the games.
- Primark’s new click-and-collect trial was launched in 25 of its stores across the North West of England, Yorkshire and Wales earlier this week. The service enables customers to now shop with the retail giant online, with up to 2,000 items available to purchase, including multipacks of some of its bestselling products. Customers of the smaller stores where the trial has been launched will have access to ranges that are normally only available in Primark’s larger stores. As part of the trial, which “showcases the very best of what Primark has to offer”, the retailer is also aiming to minimise excess packaging while using paper wrap where it can. Paul Merchant, the retailer’s CEO, said: “We’re big fans of the high street and we believe passionately that a thriving local shopping area benefits everyone in the community. Our approach to online is all about supporting and complementing our stores, which will always be at the heart of our business.”
- Big Four audit firm KPMG has settled a lawsuit over audit failings at UK insurance software group Quindell, now Watchstone, with a payment of £5 million. A High Court claim was issued by Watchstone against KPMG in 2021, arguing that it had suffered losses as a result of the audit of its 2013 financial statements. It was alleged that KPMG had been negligent, with the case not expected to go to trial until 2024. KPMG confirmed it had “reached a settlement with Watchstone Group PLC” and will pay £4.95 million, without admitting liability. This latest fine takes KPMG’s total regulatory fines since April 2021 to more than £20 million.
- Food delivery giant Deliveroo has decided to leave the Australian market, with the decision being put down to “challenging economic conditions” and competition from the likes of Uber Eats, Menulog and DoorDash. As a result of this decision, its Australian subsidiary, Deliveroo Australia, has gone into voluntary administration. It said that “achieving a sustainable position of leadership in the market is not possible without a disproportionate level of investment which would have highly uncertain returns”.
Meanwhile, 10,000 Amazon employees worldwide are reportedly due to lose their jobs. The devices section of the company, which makes the Alexa voice assistant tool, human resources and the retail division will allegedly face cuts, but the multinational tech company has not yet released the figure itself. This news comes after Amazon announced earlier this year that it would create more than 4,000 new permanent jobs in the UK – the total number of people affected in the UK has not yet been revealed.
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