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…

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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…

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Carat tax yields more revenue than expected

Carat tax yields more revenue than expected

A special tax on diamonds earned the State 68.4 million euros in 2017, beating a budget forecast of 50 million euros and dwarfing 2016’s tally of 51.2 million euros, De Standaard and de Gazet van Antwerpen dailies reported on Monday. Under the “Carat tax”, as it is called, diamond companies pay the normal corporate taxes, which amounted to 33.99% in 2017, but pay only 0.55% to 2.1% of their gross turnover, as a result of the various deductions they are awarded. Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt (New Flemish Alliance) said…

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Why the GDPR email deluge, and can I ignore it?

Why the GDPR email deluge, and can I ignore it?

‘Urgent action required ”, “Do you still want to hear from us?”, “We’ve updated our privacy policy”, “Should we stop sending you updates? If not, act now!” Many of us will have received emails like this during the past few weeks, some of them from companies we haven’t used for years or have maybe never even heard of. Triggering this deluge of emails is something called GDPR that comes into effect in just under two weeks’ time. Often the emails warn that if you don’t respond, you will be removed…

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The price of diesel has reached its highest level since September 2013

The price of diesel has reached its highest level since September 2013

The energy Department announced on Friday an increase in the maximum price of diesel fuel pumps, starting on Saturday, due to the increase in prices of petroleum products in world markets. The maximum price for 10S diesel is now 1.5020 euros per litre, an increase of 2.9 cents and the highest level it has reached since the 10th of September 2013. The Administration also announced increases in the price ceilings for extra heating diesel and liquified petroleum gas (LPG). Diesel prices have been pushed up by the gradual increase in…

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Hema Chain to be sold to Belgian investor

Hema Chain to be sold to Belgian investor

The Dutch chain of stores, Hema, is soon to become Belgian, according to information in the Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf, reported on Wednesday by De Standaard. Brussels investor Core Equity Holdings is reportedly close to concluding an acquisition agreement, the Dutch newspaper reported four sources from the financial and distribution sectors as confirming. An oral accord on the broad lines of the operation have been reached, according to two of the sources. The actual signature should occur in the next few weeks, the other sources said. For Hema, which is…

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Notaries launch a Biddit.be site for online real estate sales

Notaries launch a Biddit.be site for online real estate sales

Belgium’s notaries have launched Biddit.be, an online site for real-estate sales where purchasers can now bid “easily, in all security and transparently” for a property. Thanks to Biddit.be, potential buyers are able to know the price range of a building, and can place bids with their computers using their electronic identification cards or the ‘itsme’ application. Bids can be placed manually or automatically up to a predetermined maximum amount. “With online sales, you can become the owner of a house in a few weeks; it’s much faster than a traditional…

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The future of Air France “in doubt” after the boss leaves on the background of the strike

The future of Air France “in doubt” after the boss leaves on the background of the strike

The future of strike-hit Air France hangs in the balance following the departure of its chief executive over a continuing strike over pay, the French economy minister warned on Sunday. The airline’s trade union members are planning to walk out for a 14th day on Monday as they press for a 5.1% pay increase this year from their loss-making employer. Jean-Marc Janaillac, chief executive of parent company Air France-KLM, announced his resignation on Friday after workers rejected a pay deal worth 7% over four years. “I call on everyone to…

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Walibi and Aqualibi suffer €100 million investment cost to transform the theme parks

Walibi and Aqualibi suffer €100 million investment cost to transform the theme parks

Both Aqualibi, the indoor swimming/leisure complex, and the adjacent Walibi, one of the best-visited theme parks in Belgium, have undergone a major, multi-million-euro reconstruction. They have now reopened to the public just in time for the upcoming busy summer season. The aim, says a spokesman, is to create “more fantastic moments for the public” and to “continue to be at the summit of theme parks.” As both Walibi and Aqualibi are two of the most popular visitor attractions in Wallonia, the move will give a much-needed boost to tourism in…

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Tesla shares fell more than 7% after the company reported record losses

Tesla shares fell more than 7% after the company reported record losses

Tesla shares fell more than 7% after the firm posted a record $ 710 million loss, and its founder, Elon Musk, fired Wall St analysts for asking “boring” and “dry” questions about the company’s financial health. The California-based company burned through more than $745m in cash as it again missed production targets for its Model 3, which it has billed as its first affordable electric car. Musk appeared to make light of the losses, tweeting “la la la” while linking to media reports of the results for the first three…

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