Tesco: woes continue

September 1st, 2014 4 Comments By Ian Wade

tesco bag 300x187 Tesco: woes continueIt’s been a rum few days for Tesco.

One of their key shareholders, Harris Associates, has sold nearly two thirds of its stake in the beleagured supermarket.

The American investment fund Harris Associates, had been Tesco’s seventh largest shareholder.

Chief exec David Herro told the Sunday Telegraph “We have sold, in the last month, probably two thirds of our position

“With so many unknowns … those risk factors are just too high to justify a big position.”

This comes after Tesco issued its second profit warning in two months, and estimating that annual profits are more likely to be 25% lower than last year. Continuing a three year decline.

It’s probably not the ideal welcome for Dave Lewis, who takes over the top job today, a month ahead of what had been planned.

Tesco, who has lost the bulk of their business to up-and-coming budget retailers such as Aldi and Lidl, also slashed its dividend by 75% to give Lewis greater flexibility to revive the world’s No.3 retailer.

Can it catch up on lost ground? Who knows? Should they break themselves up in a bid to stay in the game?

bwbest 300x255 News round up – the best of the week’s storiesBest of Bitterwallet

Tell us how much you hate buses bw/roundandround
Is your bank ace or crap? Find out now! bw/bankers
Uber. They’re going after your food bw/foober
Should Tesco be broken up? bw/breakout
BT are all set to ruin Christmas bw/rises
Seriously. Sort your tax disc out. bw/paperless
Are loom bands poisonous? bw/loomingdread
See life through your dog’s eye bw/pooch

Best of the Rest

Hello Kitty is not a cat. entertainmentwise/whatisitthen?
Net Neutrality versus Free Speech WallStreetJournal/chat
Malaysia Airlines cull staff sky/airlines
Motorcyclist banned after dodgy video mail/motorcyclin’
EE switch on 4G in 13 more towns itproportal/4g-lte
What is the greatest car of all time? mirror/vroom
Google deletes authorship in search results upstart/write
Young people hate Abercrombie & Fitch theweek/a&f

Save money by buying a new car?

August 29th, 2014 8 Comments By Thewlis

Obviously it costs more to buy a new car than an old one of the same variety. However, if you are thinking of upgrading to a newer model, it could pay to go for the latest model, with new research suggesting that a new car saves 25% on running costs in the first year when compared with the same model five years older.

Moneysupermarket.com looked at five popular vehicles, Nissan Qashqai, Volkswagen Golf, BMW 3 Series, Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Astra, and compared total running costs- petrol cost, road tax cost, car insurance cost, MOT, servicing and breakdown cover of a brand new model with the costs for a five year old model.

The biggest saving of the five cars was the Volkswagen Golf, where a new car saved £422 on running costs, a 25% saving on the £1689 cost for a five year model. A brand new Ford Fiesta had annual running costs calculated at £1,237 per year, £351 cheaper than a five year old version. Similarly, a five year old Nissan Qashqai costs £1,804 to run per year, £243 more than the new car. In all five cases the cost of insuring the newer car was lower than the older equivalent models.

tablecar 1 Save money by buying a new car?

tablecar 2 Save money by buying a new car?

Dan Plant, consumer finance expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “For some, buying a brand new car might seem prohibitively costly. However, with the drive from manufacturers to create more fuel efficient and safer models, as well as some ‘free road tax for the first year’ schemes, the cost of running and insuring a new car is often far cheaper than older versions of the same vehicle.”

Russian bank actively encouraging pussy riot

August 29th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

cat chart 300x200 Russian bank actively encouraging pussy riotForget toy meerkats and some ephemera, as a Russian bank has upped the ‘free gift’ stakes, by handing out cats.

Actual cats!

Yes, anyone who takes out a mortgage with Sberbank (which if you say in a certain way, sounds a bit like ‘spermbank’, arf!) gets the choice of ten pussies.

The bank showcases the felines on the website, and once selected, they’re delivered to the home.

Unfortunately, the cats must be returned to Sberbank after a few hours once they’ve mooched around the new property and no doubt took a leak on the sofa and dragged half a raven into the kitchen ‘as a gift’.

A popular Russian superstition maintains that it is good luck if cats are first to enter a new home.

Wonders never cease.

The robots are coming! To clean!

August 29th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Robot Uprising update: It looks like Dyson are about to launch a robot hoover.

According to a new YouTube teaser, various Dyson types – or at least actors doing a splendid job – are seen looking at a mysterious unseen thing, which moves about a bit occasionally, but remains in the shadows.

Also, said thing appears to have Dyson’s location-analysis technology.

If you factor in Dyson’s investment in a new robotics vision lab at Imperial College in the London, it’s feasible that they collective mindset have come up with a dream clean machine.

They’ve teased the date September 4th as the big reveal, so that’s only a week’s worth of sleepless nights. Or it could be an elaborate trailer for the next Aphex Twin album.

You can never tell these days.

Ofwat plug water bills

August 29th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

mbn shark wideweb  470x3210 300x204 Ofwat plug water billsHousehold water bills in England and Wales will rise by less than the cost of living in the next five years, thanks to regulator Ofwat. As for the rest of Britain, we’ve no idea. Probably because water rates are a very sore topic in Northern Ireland and Scotland is probably buggering off to go solo.

The regulator says that bills will be an average of 5% lower, before inflation is applied, by 2019-20.

Thames Water, Bristol Water and United Utilities had already been told that they needed to sort themselves out and start rethinking the way they did things, as their assessments were wildly different to Ofwat’s estimates.

All the water and sewage companies can respond to the Ofwat proposals by 3rd October, with the regulator making the final decision by mid December. Changes will come into play from 1st April 2015.

That’s all good isn’t it? Nope.

Fact is, water companies can still raise their prices in line with inflation, so we’ll most likely to see our bills rising, which is not at all surprising.

Sonia Brown, chief regulation officer at Ofwat, said: “Some companies provided excellent, customer-focused plans. Others did not include sufficient evidence to justify their plans, and so we stepped in to make sure customers get a fair deal.”

“These are draft decisions and things could still change. Companies will be looking hard at where they need to submit new evidence and we will also continue to challenge hard to make sure that our final decisions result in the best possible deal for customers.”

Paddy Power profits palaver

August 29th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Paddy Power Paddy Power profits palaverBookie news, and Paddy Power are the latest bookmaker to post disappointing half year profits.

The Dublin-based firm said pre-tax profits fell to €61.8million (£49.2million) in the six months to June 30th, while revenues were down 7% to €396.5million (£315.7million) compared to a year ago.

The pesky horses and football wins haven’t helped either.

However the company were optimistic that they’d gained new customers in the last few months, and was also still planning on expanding.

Punter wins on favourite horses was at 37% against an average of 35% between 2010 and 2013, and Premier League favourites won 64% compared to 35% in the same period.

These odds combined to drag the group’s win percentage down to 9.1 per cent from its long-term average of 10 per cent.

They will also expand their 305 shops by another 40 in the next year, regardless of new Government fixed levy rules. So, profits are down, but they’re still wildly rich. Not surprising for a bookmaker, eh?

What this all means in actuality is that we’re going to see a whole load of irritating publicity stunts. That’s the one thing that’s certain in all of this.

Crispwatch: Whisky & Haggis!

August 29th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

We haven’t polled everyone, but we reckon you’d be hard pressed to find someone on this planet who doesn’t like crisps. Only sickos don’t like crisps.

Anyway, it pleases us to announce that there’s a new crisp on the scene, which is not like the others, namely Mackie’s Whisky & Haggis crisps.

Gie it laldy.

whisky crisps 375x500 Crispwatch: Whisky & Haggis!

And that’s not all, as it will soon be joined by Venison & Cranberry flavour too.

The Ridge Cut affairs are in Scottish Co-ops RIGHT NOW, and will appear in Tesco and Asda in October, so petition/ mildly riot accordingly.

It’s a limited edition at the moment, but if it kicks off, it may be added to the range full time.

George Taylor, managing director of Mackie’s at Taypack, said: “We have been delighted with the uptake of our Ridge Cut range thus far, with sales already in line with our core range.”

“We felt it was time to add a Scottish twist to the range as our Scottish flavours have always been very popular. We were particularly keen to try a whisky seasoning as Scotch is so renowned around the world. We tried various combinations and the whisky and haggis pairing came out on top. We are very excited to see the market’s reaction to the new flavour lines.”

The gauntlet has been thrown down, beat that England. Oh and if anyone could source us a box for “research”, we’ll be quite grateful.

Deals of the Day: Friday 29th August 2014

August 29th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

ASUS Transformer Book T100 300x168 Deals of the Day: Friday 29th August 2014Need a new laptop because you spilled lager in the last one? Want a laptop that you can pull apart, so you can use it like a tablet while you laugh insanely cat Vines while you’re on the bog?

Well, have a look at this deal where you can get yourself an Asus Transformer Book T100 for £249.00! Comes with Windows and Microsoft Home and stuff. Full marks to anyone who pronounces ‘Asus’ in the same way a Spanish person would say ‘Jesus’. Here’s the deal.

MORE DEALS!

PS4 including Destiny for £319.99
Castle of Illusion (starring Mickey Mouse) was £6.99 now 69p!
1tb Toshiba STOR.E Alu USB 3.0 portable hard drive for £39.99
Xbox One Destiny bundle now £319.99
Photoshop Elements 12 for £29.95
Xbox Live games with gold for September
LG G3 32gb for £404.19
Xmi X-mini II 2nd generation capsule speaker £7.52 delivered
Hawaii flights with British Airways. Flights from £375
Dyson dc38 with 5 year guarantee for £149.99
Asos sale: up to 75% off with code
Virgin Atlantic flight sale, including New York return from £375 and loads more.
Shire apex bike shed for £1!

FOR AMAZING BARGAINS EVERYDAY, VISIT HOTUKDEALS!

People selling their votes in Scottish Independence

August 29th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Scottish Independence is a political hot potato (catch!) and, for the most part, people can’t muster up the energy to care. Even people in Scotland aren’t too fussed.

So much so that there’s some people willing to sell their vote on eBay.

Of course, this is electoral fraud, so the police have launched an investigation. They’re looking at the numerous listings which have appeared on internet auction site, and if you really want the vote to go a certain way on September 18th, then you can buy their ballot off them.

ebay indyref 500x281 People selling their votes in Scottish Independence

The Electoral Commission is aware of the listings and eBay has since removed the listings from its site. They’re bound to come back, thereby creating yet more internet Whack-A-Mole.

Some fella called ‘chrisoc1986′ sold their vote for a whopping £1.04.

The listing read: “This is my very own unique piece of British History! It is my personal YES or NO vote for the upcoming Scottish Referendum in September.”

“I for one, do not give a flying monkeys about any of this. This could be the deciding vote. Who knows? I am a hard working Scottish citizen with a house, a gorgeous wife and two beautiful kids who are my world.”

“This vote will not change anything in our lives so I have decided not to vote my opinion but instead….. ONE OF YOURS! Happy Bidding”

You can bet Alistair Darling is scouring eBay as we speak.

Scottish police said they are looking into it and a spokesman said: “Our policing arrangements for the referendum are well in hand and will be appropriate and proportionate. Police Scotland’s priority is to ensure public safety and security. We will respond appropriately to any issues which arise.”

“We are investigating these incidents and therefore cannot comment on the outcome of these incidents until all inquires are concluded. Where other incidents are reported they will be investigated and appropriate action taken.”

Costa joins recyclable cup scheme

August 29th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

coffee addict  300x272 Costa joins recyclable cup schemeCosta have signed up to the new Simply Cups cup recovery and recycling membership scheme.

Simply Cups, the only UK service specialising in recycling disposable beverage cups, is a partnership between Closed Loop Environmental Solutions and Simply Waste Solutions.

Originally, paper cups were a bugger to recycle due to the polyethylene in their design.

However Simply Cups have come up with a new system, which pulps the cups and separates the plastic and paper, which lets them be recycled individually.

Simply Cups only started up in August, and works in the London and Thames Valley areas, but with initiatives like these, are set to grow country-wide, and will try and put a dent into the figure of 2.5 million cups that end up in landfill each year instead.

The long-windedly titled Energy and Environment Manager at Whitbread, parent company of Costa, Ollie Rosevear, said:

“Costa is always looking for new innovations, partnerships and collaborative efforts to lead the way in developing sustainable solutions to reduce the impact of our cups on the environment. Our membership is a great example of this ongoing work.”

Hurrah for proper recycleable cups!

Apple make vague announcement for attention

August 29th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Apple have been intentionally coy of late, leaving everyone else to fill column inches about what they might do next. Is it going to be their smartwatch?

Or will it be the new, larger iPad (which one reader brilliantly referred to as ‘the maxiPad, which we’re stealing and claiming as our own).

Whatever it is, Apple have gone from coy to downright flirty, sending out an invitation to all, with the date on it (9th September 2014) and a ‘wish we could say more’ on it. Of course, they could totally say more. They don’t want to. They’re like those awful people who put a status on a social network that says “Oh, something amazing has happened! Can’t say too much right now #excited”.

 

apple with they could say more 500x439 Apple make vague announcement for attention

 

So there it is. Apple have, at least, given a date for their devoted fans to excited about (they’re going to book the day off work so they can watch a speech on the internet and make plans to buy some sleeping bags and deck chairs so they can queue up for Whatever It Is for a whole week while being filmed by a tech blog).

Either way, we look forward to people arguing about Apple being overpriced against “Shut up! It’s a luxury purchase! You cheapskates wouldn’t understand!”

We’ll just remind the rest of you that a phone really doesn’t define you as a person (unless you’re making nuisance calls with it, because that absolutely defines you as a person).

So. Is it a phone, tablet or wearable technology?

Samsung to offer smartwatch that can make calls

August 28th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Samsung Expands Gear Portfolio with Android Wear2 300x300 Samsung to offer smartwatch that can make callsSamsung have been piddling around with smartwatches for a while now, but no-one seems to be at all interested. That’s not going to stop them though, as they’ve unveiled what they reckon is the first smartwatch capable of making and receiving calls without a mobile phone nearby.

Of course, wearable technology is the Next Big Thing, or so the tech companies hope. Apple are expected to launch their own watch later this year, while LG have announced their new G Watch R smartwatch, which has a circular plastic OLED screen, a stainless steel frame and leather strap.

Samsung’s new effort is called Gear S and is different from those they’ve made before. For starters, the screen is bigger (5 cm) and it has a curved display and will give you WiFi connectivity, pedestrian navigation and a built-in GPS.

It sounds good, but like all smartwatches, it’ll inevitably be prohibitively expensive, which means only super nerds with money burning a hole in their pocket are going to buy them. And if they’re waiting to see what Apple are doing first, then there might be a few Gear S devices gathering dust in the back of gadget shops.

Samsung’s watch will run on their nascent Tizen operating system.

It’ll be on sale from October, which means they’re eyeing up the luxury Christmas present market. However, they’ve not said where it’ll be available and there’s not even a ballpark figure of how much they’ll retail for.

bank sign Latest best and worst banks revealed. Where does your bank rank?It’s that time of the year again when we get the latest six monthly report of the best and worst banks. As a surprise to absolutely no-one, HSBC’s online and telephone offspring First Direct is still number one, and no-one can remember a time when it wasn’t*. With a massive £150 switching bonus and more than 90% of current account customers rating First Direct’s service as “great”, the only surprise is why we don’t all bank with First Direct.

Although this is probably because we are lazy and can’t be bothered to switch, the new switching service has seen an increase in the number of people switching, but rather than going to the top rated bank, most switchees are switching to Santander’s extremely popular 123 current account because it gives you money back and 3% interest and stuff. Still, five years ago the Spanish bank was totally rubbish at customer service, coming rock bottom, yet is now maintaining a very respectable second place spot.

Although Smile has also maintained the third position it shared with the Co-operative Bank last time around, despite losing almost 40,000 customers already this year, the beleaguered Co-op still managed a not-to shabby fifth place. TSB, the friendly bank, came an embarrassing last place in February, but has now climbed to a much improved 7th this time.

But TSB’s rise comes at the cost of one of the other banking giants’ falls. Although an unnoteworthy mid-table player six months ago, Barclays has now dropped like a stone to the very bottom of the table. Ouch.

banks table Latest best and worst banks revealed. Where does your bank rank?

A spokesman for Barclays said: “Even one dissatisfied customer is one too many, and we are constantly working hard to improve and innovate our services. Whilst this survey doesn’t tally with our comprehensive and independent customer satisfaction scores, we will learn any lessons we need to in order to do better in future.”

Although other banks rated worse than Barclays – as those which received fewer than 100 votes were not included – it is the first time the bank has fallen so low in the tables.

Guy Anker, managing editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “The bottom of the pile is dominated by some of the giant high street banks.

“It’s astonishing that over half of the account holders at four major banks voted the service they get is just “OK” or “poor”. This should be seen as a stark warning that the big banks risk losing customers if they don’t raise their game.”

*because First Direct have won every poll since it was started six years ago, that’s why.

Twitter Logo1 Become more insufferable with Twitter AnalyticsNow you can peek at who is looking at your tweets!

Yes indeed, pump up your ego and assess your online presence, as you can now log in to Twitter Analytics!

You can see how far your “reach” is, work out the ideal audience for your Bake Off-related tweets, and know when not to slip an off-colour joke in.

You can also download the data to browse through offline too. IMAGINE THE FUN YOU’LL HAVE DOING THAT?

Until now, only the celebrities had this option, but now, everyone can do it, which means we’re all just like the famous people, apart from being considerably poorer.

So as long as you’ve had an account for more than a fortnight, you can now see what’s going on. Boost your impact! Find out your bullshit footprint!

Find out who loves you and then perhaps touch yourself, you dirty Herbert.