People shopping more locally in lockdown, says Co-op

Grocery chain the Co-op saw sales rise in the first half of the year as customers shopped closer to home and ate out less during the pandemic.

Like-for-like sales in food, which strip out the effect of new shops opening, increased by 8.8% in the six months to 24 July.

Its boss said: “We are living in unprecedented times, but the response of our Co-op has been exceptional.”

Co-op expects coronavirus-related costs to hit £97m for the full year.

Chief executive Steve Murrells told the BBC’s Today programme that the boost in sales was largely down to “people shopping more locally during the crisis”.

“We’re finding that when lockdowns happen… the average basket size doubles, but also local deliveries are very popular.”

Mr Murrells added that 1.7 million new households had shopped at a Co-op store for the first time during the pandemic.

Total revenues for the group increased by

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Victoria’s Secret secures Next chapter in deal saving 500 hundred jobs

Next has agreed a deal that will resurrect Victoria’s Secret UK and save 500 jobs.

The fashion-to-homeware retailer is to take a majority 51% stake in a joint venture with US-owned Victoria’s Secret after the lingerie firm’s UK arm was placed in administration in June following weak coronavirus lockdown trading that forced all non-essential stores to shut.

L Brands, the company behind Victoria’s Secret, agreed the deal following a bid process led by administrators which attracted interest from dozens of parties including M&S.

It was revealed back in July that Next had been granted a period of exclusivity to secure an agreement – complicated by the fact that cuts to rent bills also had to be secured from Victoria’s Secret landlords.

It had 25 leasehold stores at the time of its collapse and employed 800 people.

Victoria secret

Under the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, Next gets the majority of

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High Court rules in favour of struggling SMEs in business interruption insurance case

Insurers may have to pay out to hundreds of thousands of British firms who had business interruption claims turned down during the pandemic, following a landmark ruling.

The High Court today ruled in favour of policyholders in a test case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The Court ruled on a representative sample of 17 policy wordings by 16 insurers. It found that most, although not all, of the clauses provide cover.

Interim FCA boss Christopher Woolard today said: “We brought the test case in order to resolve the lack of clarity and certainty that existed for many policyholders making business interruption claims and the wider market.”

“We are pleased that the Court has substantially found in favour of the arguments we presented on the majority of the key issues. Today’s judgment is a significant step in resolving the uncertainty being faced by policyholders.”

Two action groups – the

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30% of workers in Wales could might never return to the office

Around 30% of workers in Wales could regularly work from home even after the coronavirus pandemic, the Welsh government has said.

During the worst of the crisis, people from across the UK were told to work at home if possible, a move that resulted in less road congestion and pollution as well as limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

Ministers in Wales have said working remotely can also improve the work-life balance and potentially drive regeneration and economic activity in communities.

The plan is for staff to work in the office, at home, or in remote working hubs within easy distance of their homes.

It comes after the UK government instructed workers to return to the office last month, concerned about the economic effect of commuters being absent from city centres.

Lee Waters, deputy minister for economy and transport, said: “The UK government instruction for everyone to go back to

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Tesco set to trial drone delivery service

A Tesco drone delivery trial will see small items dropped off at customers’ homes within 30 minutes of ordering.

Based at Tesco’s Oranmore store, County Galway, the drones will deliver “small baskets” of goods to the local area.

The drones, supplied by Manna, which already runs medicine delivery trials in Ireland, will launch next month.

Flying at 50mph (80km/h), they can deliver up to 4kg (9lb) of shopping – in a cargo cassette lowered from the drone – a mile away in three minutes.

Manna had planned a takeaway food delivery trial in March but changed its focus to medicines during the coronavirus pandemic.
It now delivers prescriptions and other essential supplies in the town of Moneygall.

Noise concerns

In 2016, retail giant Amazon made its first commercial drone delivery in the UK – from its fulfilment centre in Cambridge to a local resident, within 13 minutes of the order

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