Ikea halts new Preston store as UK profits fall

Ikea halts new Preston store as UK profits fall

Ikea has reported a sharp fall in UK profits and pulled out of opening what would have been its second-largest store in the country. The Swedish retailer blamed higher wages and the cost of investments in its stores and website for a near-40% slump in profits in the year to 31 August 2017. Pre-tax profits slid from £140m to £87m, according to accounts filed at Companies House. The figures coincided with Ikea’s decision to abandon a plan to open one of its famous blue sheds in Cuerden, near Preston. The…

Read More

Shell faces a shareholder challenge in its approach to climate change

Shell faces a shareholder challenge in its approach to climate change

Royal Dutch Shell faces a shareholder challenge over climate change this week, as investors insist oil and gas firms should offer more transparency and action on carbon emissions. A growing number of pension funds have backed a resolution at Shell’s AGM on Tuesday that calls on the company to set tougher carbon targets that are in line with the goals of the Paris climate deal. The proposal has been backed by the Church of England, the Dutch pension fund Aegon and, most recently, Nest, the workplace pension scheme set up…

Read More

Zuckerberg will appear before the European Parliament on Tuesday

Zuckerberg will appear before the European Parliament on Tuesday

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of social media giant Facebook, will appear before the European Parliament on Tuesday to answer questions about the company’s privacy policy, the company said. The appearance will take place in closed session, behind closed doors, much to the chagrin of Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian PM and leader of the parliament’s liberal faction. Zuckerberg’s appearance is in relation to new EU privacy rules which come into force later this month. Facebook has a European base in Ireland, and so is covered by the rules. The parliament will be…

Read More

Rafael Nadal recovers to destroy Fabio Foniini’s hopes for Rome’s Triumph

Rafael Nadal recovers to destroy Fabio Foniini’s hopes for Rome’s Triumph

It seems strange that Rafael Nadal’s dominance of clay in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Paris was not so evident in Rome, where he has only seven titles and last appeared in the semi-finals four years ago.Still, he will hardly complain – and, indeed, he will be mightily happy if he wins on Sunday as it will haul him back to No 1 in the world over the absent Roger Federer. The man he defeated 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Friday to reach the semi‑finals, Fabio Fognini, will afford the Spaniard little…

Read More

The EU is more than a treaty, P.M. Michel says in response to N-VA’s De Wever

The EU is more than a treaty, P.M. Michel says in response to N-VA’s De Wever

“The European Union is much more than a treaty,” Prime Minister Charles Michel explained on Thursday in response to views on Europe expressed by New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) president Bart De Wever, in “Tijd” newspaper. “The European Union is barely a treaty,” De Wever had written on Wednesday in a letter to the editor in which he praised Edmund Burke, the Irish philosopher considered the father of political conservatism. “Europe was not invented after World War II. It has a long, rich history,” he added. According to the Flemish nationalist,…

Read More

Test-Achats, enbro launch website to help consumers reduce energy costs

Test-Achats, enbro launch website to help consumers reduce energy costs

Test-Achats consumer protection group and enbro energy consultancy have launched a free website designed to help consumers find the most affordable energy prices. The new Gaele platform can save consumers more than 200 euros a year, according to Test-Achats. Although users have been free to choose their own energy suppliers for about 10 years now, only one-third have already changed their providers since the Belgian energy market was liberalized, the consumer protection group said. “One in five Belgians say they do not feel like searching for information on the possibilities…

Read More

Marketers on a mission to sell Belgian fries to South-East Asia

Marketers on a mission to sell Belgian fries to South-East Asia

Flemish businesses are currently taking part in a trade mission to South-East Asia, led by the region’s minister-president Geert Bourgeois. Among their aims – to present the case for Belgium’s claim to be not only the inventor of the potato dish known worldwide as French fries, but also the country’s premier position as a provider of the product. Potato products, including what we must think of as simply fries, account for €1.2 billion a year to Belgian exporters, but for some reason the credit on menus is generally given to…

Read More

Europa Nostra Awards: 29 winners for preservation of cultural heritage

Europa Nostra Awards: 29 winners for preservation of cultural heritage

The winners of the 2018 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage were announced today by the European Commission and Europa Nostra, a pan-European network of heritage NGOs. 29 laureates from 17 countries were recognised for their accomplishments in conservation, research, dedicated service, and education, training and awareness-raising. As a contribution to the European Year of Cultural Heritage, this year’s awards put special emphasis on the European added value of the selected heritage achievements. The winners will be honoured at a high-profile award ceremony on 22 June in Berlin, during the first…

Read More

EU tells Iran it will try to protect firms from US sanctions

EU tells Iran it will try to protect firms from US sanctions

Tehran is given assurances that European governments will seek to protect companies doing business in Iran from the resumption of us sanctions, as foreign Ministers are preparing to meet in Brussels to save the nuclear deal. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, met Federica Mogherini, the EU external affairs chief, on Tuesday morning and will meet the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK – the three European signatories to the deal – in the evening. Iran wants assurances that EU trade with Iran will continue to grow, despite…

Read More

Number of billionaires worldwide surged to 2,754 in 2017

Number of billionaires worldwide surged to 2,754 in 2017

A record 357 new billionaires were minted last year as the already very wealthy saw their combined fortunes soar to an all-time high of $9.2tn (£6.8tn) – more than three times the UK’s gross domestic product. The number of billionaires worldwide increased by 14.9% to 2,754 in 2017 as the wealthy benefited from the “remarkable performances in equity markets and global economy”, according to a report by ultra-rich research firm Wealth-X. The Wealth-X billionaire census 2018, published on Tuesday, found a “dramatic improvement” in billionaires’ assets, with their combined wealth…

Read More