Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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ALEX BRUMMER: Catch the digital tiger of the UK

Although American technology stocks go through a bad spot, the transformation of British business into digital space knows no bounds.

Investing in the digital business is evident at a number of companies, from online real estate broker Purplebricks to Deliveroo, the food-to-the-home company.

Despite the slowdown in the real estate market, particularly in London and the Southeast, Purplebricks, supported by investment guru Neil Woodford, posted a 20 percent increase in sales in the six months to October.

In a nutshell: Deliveroo is going great and has just added Azzurri, Pizza Express and Wagamama to its supplier list

In a nutshell: Deliveroo is going great and has just added Azzurri, Pizza Express and Wagamama to its supplier list

In a nutshell: Deliveroo is going great and has just added Azzurri, Pizza Express and Wagamama to its supplier list

The company says it is on track to reach its sales target of £ 165-185 million in the current year.

Purplebricks strives to win in a marketplace where traditional real estate agents such as Countrywide are struggling and smaller digital competitors, notably Emoov, are wiggling.

What happens on the housing market is everywhere.

Lloyds Bank has seen a big change with the elimination of 6,240 traditional jobs and the creation of 8,240 in online banking as it aims to bring the UK's most dominant retail bank into the digital age.

The move, which requires retraining for some employees, is part of the Group's € 3 billion commitment to invest in technology.

It is also known that RBS has taken a high-tech future after the worst legacy of the financial crisis ended.

To convince the Competition and Market Authority to simplify Sainsbury & # 39; s Asda's € 7.3 billion merger, grocers have called the rise of online cooked food services a threat. You can have a point.

One of these services, Deliveroo, has superb weapons and has just added Azzurri, Pizza Express and Wagamama to its list of suppliers, meaning that it works with 17,000 British restaurants and grocery stores and delivers 25,000 pizzas a week to customers.

And it aims to lift those numbers.

Elsewhere, bookie William Hill, who has struggled with recent tax changes by Chancellor Philip Hammond, hopes to lift online betting in the United States, with an investment of 120 million to 130 million pounds in 2019, where a relationship with Eldorado Resorts is built.

The current energy boost in the search for digital success is a remainder of the bursting of the dot.com bubble of 2000.

This time around the block there seems to be a good chance to catch the tiger by the tail.

family matters

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts outlines the benefits of a longer-term family business.

George Weston of Associated British Food, where the family controls 54.5 percent of the shares, was able to sing from the same hymn sheet.

If ownership of ABF was more widespread, one could imagine activists calling for an end to the group's sugar rolls and focusing on Primark's retail phenomenon.

Weston can afford to shake hands and overcome the slump in demand and prices for beet sugar after the end of EU pricing.

Large fluctuations in commodity cycles are not unknown, and by investing in better technology and cutting costs, when sugar returns, the company hopes to be in a better position.

It is to be feared that measures such as the British sugar tax and the perceived obesity crisis in many advanced countries do not indicate peak sugar.

There is still a lot to admire at ABF. Primark's sales were perhaps a bit below par, due to strange weather patterns, but were still up 5.5 percent on new store openings, profit margins were up and there was market share gains.

Marks & Spencer, who fight with all three, must see jealously.

Pre-tax profits may fall 19 percent to 1.3 billion pounds. But ABF with its strong businesses in Primark, Grocery and Ingredients is able to overcome the bumps.

Down the hatch

The tenure of senior executives at the age of just five is remarkably short on the FTSE 100.

One of the major exceptions to the rule in the second FTSE stage is the Chief Executive of Greene King, Rooney Anand. He calls it one day after 14 years, at a time when British pubs are closed as if there was no tomorrow.

Its record is impressive: the workforce has more than doubled to 39,000, the number of pubs is 2,800, and shareholder returns have risen 200 percent in a decade.

IPA and Speckled Hen are not bad either.


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