Douglas Fraser, Business and economy editor, Scotland

Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

Come here for my take on money matters from a Scottish perspective

Douglas added analysis to:

Sanpower buys House of Fraser in £480m deal

13 April 2014

From Mohamed al Fayed to Iceland's business buccaneers, the House of Fraser portfolio has secured its owners many of Britain's most prestigious retail locations.

And at a time of unprecedented change for the industry, that is testament to the vision of the Fraser family, and to the endurance of the department store format.

Starting in 1849 in Glasgow, the dynasty's third Hugh Fraser became general manager and then chairman in his twenties, going on to build a retail giant through more than 70 business acquisitions over the following four decades.

The Frasers' store on Glasgow's Buchanan Street remains a cornerstone of both the business and the city's '"style mile". While it has kept Jenners' name in Edinburgh, other names have been replaced - Arnott's, Binn's, Army & Navy - and there's now a focus on the House of Fraser brand for a consistent link to online sales.

At Glasgow University, the House of Fraser archive is a treasure trove of consumer trends going back into the 19th century.

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Whisky joins the slowdown in luxury goods growth

11 April 2014
Distillery worker
Growth in Scotch whisky exports has slowed over the past two years

BenRiach whisky has strong distribution in Africa, where two of its three owners live.

In the Angolan capital, Luanda, oil-rich Chinese executives come through duty free sales at the airport, and when the senior guy picks up a £300 bottle of single malt, then others in his party are honour-bound to do the same.

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Douglas added analysis to:

Scotch whisky exports remain flat

11 April 2014

We've heard from individual distillers that the fall-off in the Chinese market has a lot to do with official government disapproval of conspicuous consumption, and a crackdown on the culture of business gifts, as they easily cross the line into corruption.

It's a challenge that has hit the premium and luxury goods market in quite a big way.

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Scottish independence: Complex energy choices, and in whose interests?

10 April 2014
Wind turbine
The emphasis of both UK and Scottish energy policy has been on developing wind and marine power

You could view the independence debate as a binary, static choice; "Yes" or "No"? But it's worth remembering that it takes place amidst immense change.

Forgive me if this seems a bit obvious. It's simply to point out that there are numerous dynamic elements which make the choice of constitutional future all the more complex.

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Shared debt and common currency

8 April 2014
Scottish notes
The NIESR report looks at debt and includes a "thought experiment" on currency

Whether it's 'Yes' or 'No', we're burdened with a whole lot of government debt.

That's at least one conclusion of a report from the National Institute for Economic and Social Research.

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The very slow slaying of Sir David's Goliath

7 April 2014
David Murray
Murray rose to prominence through his time at the helm of Rangers

It was Rangers that brought Sir David Murray fame. His fortune had more to do with metal and property.

The connection with the Ibrox club probably brings more notoriety than fame these days, given the way in which he sold it on, disastrously, to Craig Whyte.

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Shetland sets sail for new horizons

5 April 2014
Lerwick fish market
Shetland Islands Council estimates that seafood is worth £340m a year to the economy

Shetland's tourism sector is rather niche. It's for people who like going a long way off the beaten track, and don't mind uncertain weather or the risk of being fogbound.

There's another problem this year. Shetland's very busy. I've just been there, and a hotel room costs much the same as a rather more modern room in central London.

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Cupid's arrow changes target

2 April 2014
Illustration of Cupid

At Cupid, the online dating company, chief executive Phil Gripton says the past year has seen "an inflection point". That's some euphemism.

The Edinburgh-based firm was badly knocked off course by investigations for BBC programmes, finding what appeared to be fake profiles being set up, to draw customers into subscriptions.

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Scottish firms hit the acquisition trail

1 April 2014
Stock board
This week has seen a series of acquisitions involving Scottish firms

You'd be forgiven for thinking corporate Scotland has suddenly gone acquisition daft to mark the first of April.

Wood Group has picked up a small engineering consultancy in the Canadian pipeline business.

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Scottish independence: Has Scotland ‘de-globalised’?

31 March 2014
miner
Prof Jim Tomlinson sees a link between the demise of traditional industries and the rise of nationalism

As Scotland looks to a choice on its future, with the economy a feature of the debate, two academic contributions give us a new take on the past route that got us to where we are now.

They're from Glasgow University economic historians, and together, they put a new slant on the powerful political narratives, first, that Margaret Thatcher's government was to blame for the demise of heavy industry in Scotland, and second, that Scotland is well adapted to the demands of competing in the globalised economy.

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About Douglas

Douglas joined BBC Scotland at the moment the financial crisis struck in 2008, reporting on the meltdown at RBS and the collapse of Dunfermline Building Society.

His beat also includes close attention to the offshore oil and renewable energy sectors, and he takes a mostly professional interest in whisky.

Working in Scottish journalism since 1989, he previously worked for The Herald and The Scotsman, among other newspapers.

He has covered politics from the Holyrood parliament, as well as education, the arts and the Highlands and Islands.

He is co-author of the Political Guide to Modern Scotland.

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