$143 for a Barrel of Oil

30 06 2008

The cost for a barrel of oil reached a record level of $143 today (30 June). The direct implication of this is likely to be a rise in prices of petrol and diesel. But it is not only the motorists who are going to be affected, everyone will be affected either directly or indirectly. For example, consumers are already beginning to feel the pinch as prices of day to day items such as bread, eggs, cooking oil, etc are beginning to rise. There are different reasons of this inflation in prices of which one is the rise in fuel prices. The rise in fuel prices leads to an increase in transportation costs which is added to the price of the goods and unfortunately passed on to the consumer.

It is no surprise then that last week, discount stores Aldi and Lidl announced substantial growth in like for like sales. The weekend saw a “price war” between Tesco and Asda as they tried to lend a helping hand and attract consumers already struggling with rising fuel prices and energy bills by slashing prices of everyday items by as much as 50 percent in some cases. Consumers are increasingly beginning to shop around with some using price comparison sites like mySupermarket.co.uk looking for better deals rather than just relying on one retailer. Other retailers like Sainsbury and Morrisons are also reducing prices and might also be forced to join the war by reducing prices in order to retain their customers.

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Bill Gates bids Goodbye to Microsoft

28 06 2008

Bill Gates bid farewell to Microsoft yesterday (27 June) as he handed over the reigns to Steve Ballmer. He will now become a non-executive chairman which means that he won’t be in charge of day to day operations of the business. He was once the world’s richest man but now he has had to settle for third place. His personal fortune is estimated to be around $58 billion (that’s right, 58 billion dollars). Its really hard to summarise all his accomplishments in one article, but you could learn more by clicking on the links below.
Read more at http://uk.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUKN2630130120080626?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=10171&sp=true



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Primark launches website to promote its ethical practices

27 06 2008

In a bid to improve its reputation and brand image, Primark has launched a website to promote its ethical practices. The Panorama programme, aired on the BBC, alleged that the garments sold by Primark were made in sweatshops employing child labour in India. Primarklater announced that it had terminated contracts with suppliers shown in the programme and is since trying to build up confidence amongst its customers. In a time where consumers are cutting their spending, the last thing that Primark needs is bad reputation.

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Ethical Primark: http://ethicalprimark.co.uk/


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Co-op members to share £38m Dividends

26 06 2008

The Co-operative Group, or “Co-op”, announced that its members, around 2.5 million of them, will be given £38m under its dividend scheme. This may not come as a surprise to many as yesterday discount stores Aldi and Lidl reported an increase in growth. This may be due to the fact that since more and more people are finding it hard to make ends meet, they try to shop around looking for the best deals rather than shop from one retailer alone. Most stores have products with a mixture of prices where some items are priced below their rival’s in order to undercut them while some are priced higher to make up for that loss. Since many consumers have started shopping around, thereby avoiding the expensive items and buying the cheaper ones, this has perhaps lead to a drop in the market share and possibly also the profit of many large supermarkets as they would be counting on making money from the expensive items.

Boom for Discount Stores

25 06 2008

According to recent figures, discount stores Aldi and Lidl have recorded sales growth of 20% and 14.9% respectively on a like-for-like basis. Even Iceland, which specialises in frozen food, has had a growth of 15.2%. Now this may not look that significant, unless you compare it to the growth reported by the established supermarkets-Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Morrisons-which reported a growth of 6.3%, 4.3%, 7.9% and 10.2% respectively.

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Primark on the Rack-Link

24 06 2008

Here is the link to watch the show again on the BBC iPlayer.


Primark: On the Rack-Panorama

23 06 2008

Panorama, on BBC One, have made a very good and compelling documentary showing the true cost of cheapfashion on the high street. Clothes which are sold for around a fiver are made by people who are paid a pittance. It takes an unbiased view on what causes or makes the suppliers to employ children. Is it because profit is their only aim or is it because consumers want cheap fashion. Panorama focuses only on Primark, but other fashion labels may be involved in the same thing. It raises serious moral and ethical questions. Well worth watching. 

A link to the programme will be provided as soon as it is put on the iPlayer.