Posts Tagged ‘News’

Tesco’s woes are much worse than they thought

October 23rd, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

tesco extra Tescos woes are much worse than they thoughtTesco are in a much worse state than everyone initially thought. When is this all going to end? They have reported a much bigger accounting hole today after finding that the mistakes in booking income had gone back further than initially assumed. Profits have fallen by a whopping 92%!

As a result, they’ve scrapped their full-year profit outlook.

Thanks to all this, Tesco has lost 20% of their market value in the past month and naturally, the share value of the company has taken a hit too. In the first minutes of trading, shares fell by 7%.

It is all bleak news for the former godzilla of groceries as they were already under pressure from bargain retailers like Lidl and Aldi and people’s changing habits, shopping around online for the best price rather than relying on the local supermarket.

Tesco’s performance has been described as the worst performance in 40 years. Chief executive Dave Lewis, took time from screaming down his sleeve to say: ”Our business is operating in challenging times. Trading conditions are tough and our underlying profitability is under pressure.”

Only last month, when Dave Lewis took over the job, a £250m blackhole was found after the company had overstated their profits. Now it transpires that this practice goes back further than though, the figure keeps rising.

Normally, at this time of year, Tesco would be ramping up for the lucrative Christmas period, but instead, they’re calling in accountants to investigate the mess and sacking loads of senior management. It also looks like they’ll be selling off assets in a bid to get their finances looking healthy again.

We have talked about it before, but should Tesco break itself up in a bid to get back in the game?

The bill? Oh, Jesus is paying for it

October 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

jesus christ 225x300 The bill? Oh, Jesus is paying for itYou may have heard the phrase “let Jesus take the wheel”, but letting Jesus Christ of Nazareth pick up the tab when you’ve had a gutful of food and horsed a load of booze into you? That’s a new one on us.

However, that’s exactly what one woman in Lawton, Oklahoma did after she had a lovely evening in a restaurant where she may or may not have broken the gluttony commandment.

Of course, trying to fob your bill off onto a deity isn’t the best idea because, as you know, Jesus doesn’t have a credit card (debt is a sin) and the holes in the palms of his hands means he can’t hold loose change. Kristi Rhines was arrested on the scene by baffled police members at Mexican restaurant El Chico.

It started off reasonably well when Kristi told staff members that she had no way of paying, because her husband would be along to settle the tab.

Sadly for staff, Rhines was convinced she was married to Jesus Christ. Funnily enough, she has no official wedding license. However, she was sure of the return of Christ and that he would “be able to walk in and produce U.S. currency to pay for her bill.”

Rhines with fraud and booked her into the Lawton City Jail.

Kristi could’ve avoided this whole nonsense simply by staying at home and making Jesus cook for her. She would’ve only had to buy one fish and a loaf.

Homebase: creeping toward demise

October 22nd, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

HOMEBASE LOGO 300x300 Homebase: creeping toward demiseHomebase have been in grotty shape for a while now and the company that owns it - Home Retail Group – have decided to accelerate the number of stores being closed following a review.

By 2019, 323 outlets of Homebase will be shut down because they are “unprofitable or are in decline”.

The review of Homebase noted “inconsistent store operating standards” and level of sales across the chain that resulted in a “challenged financial model”.

In plain English, that means they’re rubbish and they’re going to get rid.

That’s not to say all the Homebase shops will be vanishing (although, this is edging toward a Deathwatch) as there are plans to reorganise the remaining stores with 26 Homebases getting a refit.

Tellingly, the Home Retail Group does not plan to refit all of its stores. Looks like the pressure is on for those getting a facelift because, if they don’t work, then Homebase may well get binned off forever.

In a bid to get people into Homebases, the company will put a load of Argos and Habitat concessions within them.

Deathwatch: Landlines

October 22nd, 2014 13 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Mobile phone holiday beach GUIDE 01 Deathwatch: LandlinesRemember in the olden days when, instead of ringing an actual person, you had to wait for them to be in a building and then ring that? What a ridiculous system that was.

Well, thanks to this, it looks like the home phone landline is dead. We all knew this, but now there’s a study to back us up. The study showed that a lot of people don’t even know their own landline number (and the Mirror put it to the test by offering £50 to those that could).

Broadband providers Relish conducted some research it they found that 38% of us have no idea what our home phone number is and that half of us only have one because our broadband providers make us have one.

Will Harnden, chief marketing officer at Relish, said: “It’s a sign of modern times that our landlines are increasingly going unused. Despite the fact that many people aren’t using their landline for its intended purpose, they are forced to pay monthly charges for line rental, on top of the cost of their broadband.”

“It seems like now is the time the capital can finally wave goodbye to the landline.”

Of course, we can’t wave goodbye to them completely – businesses aren’t going to start giving staff members mobiles instead of banks of telephones. At home, the landline is becoming increasingly pointless. 4 in 10 of us won’t even answer the landline phone if it rings. People who ring landlines are either after money or mithering you for hours on end.

Social networks, as well as Skype and good ol’ fashioned texting are the most common ways of communicating and 65% of adults already think of landlines as a thing of the past. Naturally, people still leave the house and talk at people’s earholes, but that’s the standard and never going to go away, despite what desperate old lunatics say.

What this all means is that broadband providers need to modernise the packages they sell to customers. Landlines are all but obsolete. We await the rebranding of ‘line rental’ to something more internet based for Ver Kidz.

Tesco sales falling at fastest rate in groceries

October 21st, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco 300x210 Tesco sales falling at fastest rate in groceriesThe trouble at Tesco simply won’t go away, with reports that the retailers sales are falling at the quickest rate in the grocery industry. As we all know, Aldi and Lidl’s successes are taking a huge toll on the supermarket.

Tesco sales fell by 3.6% in the 12 weeks to October 12th, reducing their market share from 30.1% a year ago to 28.8%, according to Kantar Worldpanel. It might not seem like a lot from the outside, but in the industry, this is bleak news. Or great news if you’re a rival.

 

In simple terms, to turn this around, analysts at HSBC reckon that it will cost Tesco £3bn to get things sorted in the UK. The good news for customers is that this should mean a drop in prices on goods by 5 or 6%. It would also mean 20% more staff and an improvement in the quality of their food.

Sainsbury’s are struggling too, with their sales down by 3.1% in 12 weeks, with Morrisons’ sales down by 1.8%. Asda, who have been quietly getting on with business as usual of late, have seen their sales increase by 1%. These figures are all knocked into a cocked-hat though, as Aldi’s sales have shot up by 27.3% and Lidl’s by 18.1%.

According to a detailed new survey of shoppers, Tesco’s brand in the UK is “severely compromised” thanks to a general and widespread disillusionment from customers with Tesco’s service. Research from the firm Lazarus shows that Tesco currently have the lowest overall customer satisfaction metrics in the grocery industry. As a brand, it has been labelled as “tarnished”.

Banks aren’t making as much money… what next?

October 21st, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Bank 300x193 Banks arent making as much money... what next?Those beloved banks of ours aren’t making as much money as they’d like, so they’re saying that they’re going to have to cut everyone’s pay. This is according to a senior regulator at the Bank of England.

Sir Jon Cunliffe, the central bank’s deputy governor for financial stability, said that it’s all well and good that shareholders have suffered since the financial crash, but salaries and bonuses are still far too high.

He said: “It is noticeable that, since the crisis, for the industry as a whole, employees have received a larger share of a smaller pie relative to shareholders. In the new world, pay bills may well have further to adjust.”

Cunliffe said that in the decade before the crash, profits attributable to shareholders were around 75% of total pay at UK banks and 60% for global banks. “Since the crisis that picture has changed markedly,” he added. Shareholders in global banks get 25% of total pay now.

“Across the big UK banks in 2013, the fraction had fallen to just 2% – i.e. to 2 pence per pound paid to staff,” said Cunliffe. He added that it is “unlikely that we will see or want to see again” the kind of returns that were being made before the crisis, with respect to the tougher rules brought in to make banks safer.

“It is important, in seeking to restore returns, that banks and investors do not think in terms of back to the future” he added; “with less leverage and more liquidity in banks, required returns ought generally to be lower than prior to the crisis. Trying to offset that by taking excessive risk or evading regulation will not, I think, be tolerated in the new world.”

All in all, we can expect that this will be passed on to the customer because, when banks want to find more money, overdraft charges and the like will suddenly start working against customers.

Sky to launch mobile service

October 21st, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

sky Sky to launch mobile serviceSky have had a nice chat with a number of 3G and 4G operators as they weigh-up whether or not to launch their own mobile services in the United Kingdom.

Sky has been making eyes at Vodafone, EE and O2 about a potential deal, and presumably, will be going with the most lucrative offer, rather than the one that will serve their customers the best. Have you ever tried to watch satellite television when the weather is a bit lousy?

Instead of your TV disrupted by a threat of rain, it’ll you be you screaming down the phone: “HELLO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? HELLO? HEL- MUM? HELLO? CAN Y- OH FORGET IT.”

Anyway, with a number of Sky’s competitors offering mobile and broadband packages, it looks like they’ll be going ahead with it, offering mobile services under their own brand.

Sky’s Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Darroch said the company always “remains open to opportunities”.

He said the mobile market is something that Sky “keeps a close eye on”, adding: ”If we thought there was strong customer demand, then we can be in a good place to respond. We’ve got a very significant customer base already that we know we can cross-sell into very successfully.”

Does anyone want to make a joke about Murdoch and phone-tapping so we don’t have to?

People often like to have a bit of fun with their online orders. Someone asked for their shopping to be delivered by someone in a penguin suit (and they obliged) while others have given dinosaurs with orders.

Well, one hungry redditor ordered a couple of pizzas with some caveats.

B0djzzdCMAAdtmA Behold the silly pizza order about spiders and revenge!

As you can see, the customer asked for a crispier than normal pizza crust with the note of “if that’s not vague enough – make it like you’re taking revenge on a cheating boyfriend BUT you still want to reconcile in the not too distant future.” As for the delivery guy, he was told to keep an eye out for a spider called Frank.

There’s three potential responses to this:

1. Urgh! Arseholes! Why won’t they let people just do their jobs without being so bloody wacky and trying to get internet famous all the time! I hope they spat on their pizzas!
2. Aw! How funny! Adding a little humour to the mundane! How fantastic!
3. $20 for two pizzas? Sign me up!

You can decide which category you fall in for yourself.

Who are the worst at delivering parcels?

October 21st, 2014 7 Comments By Mof Gimmers

parcel delivery Who are the worst at delivering parcels?Many consumers have had bother when receiving their online deliveries. Parcels can be late, go missing entirely, contain damaged goods or in some cases, thrown on a roof for you to fetch.

According to Which!!!, 60% of us prefer to shop online for the convenience, even though 26% of us have had trouble with the delivery process. Seems like a gamble we’re willing to take because we’re all fantastically bone idle.

The biggest problem is late deliveries and not being able to choose a delivery time.

However, not all companies are bad. Some are in fact, rather good. According to a Which!!! poll, the best in the business are WexPhotographic.com, JohnLewis.com, LizEarle.com and RicherSounds.com.

Which!!!’s Richard Lloyd, said: “One of the attractions of shopping online is the convenience of having your items delivered but we’ve found the experience can be anything but convenient. We want shops to do more to ensure that the service is first class, first time. Retailers need to respond to consumers’ demands and stamp out dodgy deliveries.”

So with that, let us look at the best and worst companies when it comes to delivering your purchases.

Ten Best Online Shops

1. WexPhotographic.com
2. JohnLewis.com
3. LizEarle.com
=RicherSounds.com
5. AO.com
=Lakeland.co.uk
=Toolstation.com
8. ChainReactionCycles.com
=Coopelectricalshop.co.uk
10. AbeBooks.co.uk
=Screwfix.com
=Wiggle.co.uk

The Worst Online Shops

90. Shop.BT.com (BT Shop )
= Halfords.com
= Isme.com
93. ToysRUs.co.uk
94. HMV.com
95. PCWorld.co.uk
= TomTom.com
97. Homebase.co.uk
98. WHSmith.co.uk
99. DIY.com (B&Q)

Tesco misled auditors to inflate results

October 20th, 2014 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco bag 300x187 Tesco misled auditors to inflate resultsEveryone is still laughing at Tesco as their woes continue apace. The latest is that, according to leaks, investigators from Deloitte and Freshfields have discovered that a number of execs at the supermarket deliberately misled auditors and accountants to try and hide their dismal financial results.

This is all revolving around the £250m accounting scandal and various sackings that Tesco have found themselves lumbered with.

So what’s the skinny? Well, it is thought that Tesco booked supplier payments that were reliant on condition of them hitting sales targets – ones that they were never, ever going to meet. It seems like this practice has been going on for a while, but were increased just before Tesco’s spectacular slump.

To make things worse, it looks like Tesco’s South Korean wing has been selling the personal data of more than five million customers to insurance companies, which is likely to end in prosecution. Things are so toxic in that area that Tesco’s Asian operations could be sold off. However, that can’t happen while there’s an investigation going on.

As a result, Tesco’s share price has fallen by 48% since the start of 2014.

Tesco are a complete shambles at the minute, but it is very, very difficult to feel sorry for them after they aggressively muscled out countless independent retailers out of the market over the years. So, in short – Haw Haw!

Clothing company get shirty with customer

October 20th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Outdoor clothing vendor Hawke & Co caused a mild stink on Twitter after getting a bit lively with a customer who had made a complaint to them.

A chap called Christian Conti posted a tweet (in a way that everyone on his feed could see, which is wildly irritating as it is) moaning about a cancelled order and the company’s failure to apply the discounts they’d promised. Instead of saying sorry, whoever was running the Hawke & Co account preferred to get their snark on.

Conti tweeted: “Ordered from @hawkeandco and had my order cancelled and they wouldn’t honor the discount on other products. Big fat Do Not Recommends!”

Hawke & Co replied: “@cconti We’re sure your 320 followers will understand.”

hawke1 Clothing company get shirty with customer

Of course, Hawke & Co deleted the remark, but not before everyone on Twitter had a laugh at the whole thing.

Daniel Montelongo, Hawke’s director of marketing and branding, apologised: “I would like to apologize to Christian (@cconti) and to all our customers for the exchange that occurred on the behalf of our brand. The exchange (publicly and in DM) strictly does not express the views or practices of the Hawke & Co brand. We value every one of our customers for who they are, not for their pull or any other attributes, nor do we encourage exploitation for publicity.”

The best thing about this whole episode is that it gives us the chance to share the following video – any excuse really. Warning – there’s industrial language.

meerkat Price comparison sites might be serving themselves, before youIn fantastically shocking news that absolutely no-one was more than well aware of, price comparison sites have been accused for hiding the best deals because they’d rather promote the ones that serve them better. It’s almost like this hasn’t been going on for years!

The Big Deal website have started throwing accusations around (so lawyers, if you’d like to go to them instead of us, that’d be lovely) saying that five of Britain’s biggest price comparison sites are being deceitful.

Which ones?

Well, they’ve said that uSwitch never showed the cheapest deal over the Big Deal’s 13 week investigation, as well as regularly hiding three of the top five cheapest deals.

The sites use mechanisms to “hide deals where they ask users if they want to see deals they can switch to ‘today’ or ‘now’”, according to a statement from The Big Deal. By clicking ’yes’ to this option, the websites remove deals which don’t earn the price comparison sites a commission from the energy companies. Those just happen to be the cheapest deals. The Big Deal says that Money Supermarket and Confused automatically tick the ‘yes’ option.

They also say that Compare the Market and Go Compare automatically show users these results without asking the user, adding that “you have to go through several screens to ‘filter your results’ to see the cheapest deals.”

The bad news for these sites is that hiding deals could well be in breach of EU and UK law.

“Price comparison sites are worth hundreds of millions of pounds, make huge profits and with over 5 million people switching a year are a major part of the energy market,” said The Big Deal co-founders Henry de Zoete and Will Hodson in an open letter to the major price comparison sites. ”Yet there is no transparency to how they make their money or how much they charge. Polling by Populus found that 43% of people did not even realise that the sites charge energy companies a commission.”

uSwitch aren’t having it though, saying: “We are fully accredited under the Ofgem Confidence Code, meaning that our results tables are always ordered by the savings a customer can make in a fair, independent and unbiased way.”

“We are fully supportive of Ofgem’s decision to strengthen the code to ensure that all price comparison websites operate to the same high standard.”

Either way, if this is news to you, make sure you tinker with the settings on any price comparison site of any sort in a bid to make sure it is working for you, rather than the middle man.

Spotify: Cheaper for families now

October 20th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

spotify logo Spotify: Cheaper for families nowSpotify is launching a new ‘Family’ plan, which is going to offer cheaper subscriptions to family members of those who already pay for the service.

Basically, if you’re a subscriber to the music streaming platform, you’ll be able to add up to four members of your family for £4.99 each. That means you don’t all have to have separate Spotify accounts at full price.

Spotify’s chief content officer Ken Parks said that a family plan was “one of the most asked for features from our audience”.

Of course, Spotify aren’t the first to do something like this in this field. Rival Rdio launched a similar thing in 2011, while in the States, Beats Music allowed you to add people to your account from January 2014 (they’ve since ditched the deal though, since they teamed up with Apple).

For Spotify, this could be a nice little earner as there are still a lot of people using the free, ad-supported version. According to the company, they have 40m active users, and 30m of those are using the free version.

This new family plan will launch in the UK within the next two weeks.

old man 300x196 Should you be allowed to cash in on a rubbish pension?Ministers are calling for pension reforms, which will mean that pensioners who are locked into dreadful deals would be able to cash them in.

Sounds good doesn’t it?

Pensions minister, Steve Webb said he wants to help those tied to poor-value annuities: ”I know many people who have locked into an annuity are feeling rather bitter that they came just the wrong side of the line.”

“It’s been gnawing away at me and I want to say to those affected: I know how you feel. If it were possible for people who would rather have a capital sum than a regular income, in principle I would like to be able to help, and this is something the next government should have a look at.”

The government have pledged that, as of next April, savers who are about to retire will be given full discretion as to how they use the funds from their pension. If you’re over 55, you will be allowed to treat your pension like a normal bank account. Don’t spend it all at once though eh?

However, there’s a problem with those who have already bought annuities because they’ll be excluded from this rule as it stands. Webb continued: “If we accept the annuity market was broken, we also must accept it was so 10 years ago.”

The thing here is that Webb’s views haven’t turned into proper policies yet, so if you’re a codger, don’t get out the celebratory vodka just yet.

There’s also talk of policing the pension sector to ensure that savers get a fair deal and that something needs to be done about the high charges that chip away at funds during retirement.

Ever get the feeling that the government might ‘fix’ all this by simply putting the retirement age up to 230, so no-one has to worry about it?

Waterstones lock Texan in their shop

October 17th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

An American who was visiting London, decided to pop into a branch of Waterstones to look at some books. However, he was so engrossed in his shop that he didn’t realise that all the customers had left and the staff had gone home for their chicken kievs and locked the building.

The staff, naturally, didn’t notice him either.

waterstones trapped 500x280 Waterstones lock Texan in their shop

The Texan spent all night alone in the empty shop, sending out a tweet or two while he was there. Of course, it wasn’t long before #waterstonestexan was hatched up and everyone jumped on it.

waterstones trapped 2 Waterstones lock Texan in their shop

waterstones trapped 3 Waterstones lock Texan in their shop

Some people were less concerned and thinking more about consumer hacks. We suspect Bitterwallet readers wouldn’t need telling to get their loyalty cards swiped throughout the night.

waterstones trapped 4 Waterstones lock Texan in their shop

Just after midnight, the Texan was freed from the Waterstones shop, presumably after helping himself to a coffee from the cafe in the store and creasing the spine on some books just to annoy future customers.

waterstones trapped 5 500x301 Waterstones lock Texan in their shopThe story doesn’t end there though. After becoming a Twitter sensation (mostly people taking the piss, of course), David Willis tweeted “I’m free” before telling his girlfriend he was okay.

waterstones trapped 6 Waterstones lock Texan in their shop

Oh well.