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Live Reporting

By Karen Hoggan

All times stated are UK

  1. Superdry's founder wins comback fight

    Exterior of Superdry shop

    Superdry founder Julian Dunkerton has won his bid to be reinstated to the board of the company he founded (see earlier post).

    In a narrow victory, Mr Dunkerton won the support of 51.15% of shareholders who voted.

    Mr Dunkerton, who left the chain a year ago, has blamed new management for flagging sales and profits and has promised to revive the firm's performance.

    Superdry's board had threatened to resign if Mr Dunkerton won the vote.

    Read the full story here

  2. Paddy Power to 'assess' reaction to new games

    Paddy Power shop exterior

    Paddy Power has also issued a statement about the new games it launched as part of its response to the cut in maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals.

    Quote Message: We offer our retail customers a range of number-based betting products and this game was introduced as part of a short trial in a selection of shops. This trial concluded earlier today and we will now assess the customer response and feedback before deciding whether to launch it more widely. from Paddy Power spokesman
    Paddy Power spokesman
  3. Betfred pulls new games

    Fixed-odds betting terminal

    Bookmaker chain Betfred has pulled a game it launched as part of its response to the cut in the stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT).

    On Monday, the maximum stake that can be played on FOBTs was cut from £100 to £2, in an attempt to cut the risk of players losing large amounts of money in a short space of time.

    However, Betfred and Paddy Power introduced virtual roulette-style games.

    Earlier on Tuesday a Betfred spokesman said betting shops had gone through "seismic changes" meaning that many would no longer be viable "given the new restrictions on fixed odds betting terminals".

    "In an attempt to grow our over-the-counter business, we've therefore introduced a number of special offers on a wide range of sports, and have also revamped our virtual channel with new virtual horse-racing and a new virtual cycling game.

    Bets on these manchines are placed over the counter, rather than in the machines.

    But Helen Venn, executive director at the Gambling Commission, said: "We are aware of these products and we are investigating.

    "Where we see businesses failing to act responsibly in response to the stake reduction we will not hesitate to step in."

    Now, Betfred has pulled the machines and said: “We’ve taken down Virtual Cycling to allow further discussion with the Gambling Commission.”

  4. GM sales slide

    GM logo on building

    General Motors saw its US sales fall by 7% in the first quarter of its financial year, dented by a fall in passenger car sales.

    The biggest car maker in the US sold 665,840 vehicles in the three month period, compared with 715,794, a year earlier.

    US consumers have opting for SUVs over more traditional passenger, although in recent quarters demand for the bigger vehicles has also weakened.

  5. Shane Harrison

    BBC NI Dublin correspondent

    Simon Coveney

    Shane Harrison

    BBC NI Dublin correspondent

    Ireland's deputy prime minister has said that a no deal Brexit looks a "very real possibility".

    Read more
    next
  6. WTO: global trade under pressure

    BBC World Service

    US and China flags

    The World Trade Organization (WTO) has warned of slower growth in global trade this year, in part because of new tariffs imposed by the US and China on each other, reports BBC World Service.

    The organisation says global trade will grow at 2.6% this year, which is less than what was achieved in 2018.

    The WTO chief, Roberto Azevedo, called for trade tensions to be resolved as a matter of urgency.

    The agency is also warning that world growth could be even lower than the forecast if Britain leaves the European Union without an agreement.

  7. No-deal Brexit poses potato export risk

    Potatoes

    Northern Ireland potato firms will not be able to export to the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

    Hundreds of tonnes of table potatoes and bulk shipments of chips are sent to the Republic of Ireland every week.

    But government guidance says trade to EU countries will face restrictions. in the absence of an agreement.

    One of NI's biggest processors Wilson's Country said it had lorries crossing the border six days a week to supply southern supermarkets.

    Read more here

  8. Wall Street edges down

    Wall Street traders

    After three days of rises, all three key US share indexes have edged slightly lower in the first half hour of trading.

    The Dow Jones is at 26,217.38, a fall of 41 points or 0.16%.

    The S&P 500 is at 2,863.67, down 4 points or 0.12%.

    And the tech-heavy Nasdaq has shed 3 points or 0.043% and is at 7,825.54.

  9. Asda overtakes Sainsbury's in sales ranking

    Supermarket share chart

    Asda has overtaken Sainsbury's to become the UK's second-largest supermarket, figures suggest.

    Asda's sales rose 0.1% in the 12 weeks to 24 March taking its market share to 15.4%,research from Kantar shows.

    In contrast, Sainsbury's sales fell 1.8% over the same period, meaning its market share dropped to 15.3%.

    The two supermarket groups are currently struggling to persuade the UK competition watchdog to allow their proposed £7bn merger to go ahead.

    Read the full story here

  10. Tulip tourist tower approved

    Image of The Tulip's design against London skyline

    Planning permission has been granted for construction of The Tulip, a new tourist venture for the City of London which will come into bloom next to the Gherkin.

    The 300m high tower will offer visitors "an engaging experience with sky bridges, internal glass slides and gondola pod rides on the building’s façade". There'll be a bar and restaurants of course too. And it's aiming for low energy, reduced resource use too.

    A key feature will be educational facilities aimed at London's state school children.

    It's a project from J. Safra Group and Foster + Partners, owners and architects respectively of the Gherkin site, aka 30 St Mary Axe.

  11. Free cancellations hits Hostelworld

    Hostel

    Revenue fell last year at the online hostel booking platform Hostelworld as it added a free cancellation policy and invested in developing new technology.

    It reported revenue of €82.1m (£70.45m) in the year to December 31, down from €86.7m (£74.4m) in 2017.

    It said the fall was because of deferred revenue as the group rolled out its free cancellation policy.

  12. UK gaming market worth record £5.7bn

    Fortnite

    The UK gaming market is now worth a record £5.7bn - in part thanks to titles like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite.

    The two online-only games, released in 2018, helped push revenues for gaming software to a record £2bn - according to Ukie, the trade body for UK gaming which compiles the figures.

    Consoles continue to sell well despite no new systems being released in 2018.

    But virtual reality has had a tougher time - with sales down 20% since 2017.

  13. Music industry celebrates fourth year of growth

    Wilko Johnson

    The global music industry is celebrating a fourth year of growth as non-physical sales continue to dominate the market, according to a new report by the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry.

    Revenues have risen to almost £15bn from a downward spiral which reached a low-point of £11bn in 2014, after falling almost every year for more than a decade.

    Streaming now dominates half of the market. Global revenues for the music industry grew by 9.7% in 2018, with physical sales down 10% and paid streaming up 32.9%.

    IFPI chief executive Frances Moore told journalists in London: "We all remember in previous years this used to be described as a 'mourn-fest', because we only had bad news.

    "Four years starts to look like it's a pattern, rather than just a one-off."

    She said the the Latin American, Asian and Australian markets "are really on the rise".

  14. More on the Office Outlet job losses

    Office Outlet

    When administrators were appointed on 18 March, Office Outlet had more than 90 stores nationwide, and around 1,200 employees.

    As well as the 161 job losses announced today, 106 workers were made redundant at the company’s head office and distribution centre in Daventry, Northamptonshire on 26 March.

  15. Which Office Outlet branches will close?

    Nine stores will close on 7 April, and a further seven on 10 April, resulting in 161 redundancies.

    The redundancies will be at the locations below, with the number of employees at each store marked in brackets.

    The redundancies will take effect two days after the relevant store closes.

    7 April:

    Beckton (13)

    Catterick (13)

    Gloucester (9)

    Newport, Isle of Wight (9)

    Merton (7)

    Newcastle (10)

    Plymouth (9)

    Staples Corner (8)

    Stratford (10)

    10 April

    Cardiff (11)

    Carlisle (8)

    Manchester (13)

    Old Kent Road (9)

    Southampton (12)

    Walsall (8)

    Weston Super Mare (12)

  16. 161 jobs and 16 stores to go at Office Outlet

    Office Outlet store

    Bad news for workers at Office Outlet - 16 stores will close with the loss of 161 jobs.

    The former Staples chain fell into administration last month and Deloitte today revealed that store closures will begin on Sunday.

    Nine stores will close on 7 April, and a further seven on 10 April.

    Richard Hawes, joint administrator, said: “While we are still open to a sale of the business in part or in whole, we cannot continue trading all the stores indefinitely in an administration process.

    "Regrettably therefore we are announcing store closures that will result in a number of redundancies. We will be keeping staff informed of further developments in the coming weeks in what is a difficult time for all those involved.”

  17. Regulator warns against peer-to-peer investment ISAs

    FCA

    Peer-to-peer investments are "high risk" the Financial Conduct Authority is warning.

    It's just issued a notice highlighting that Innovative Finance ISAs that put investors' money into products like mini-bonds or peer-2-peer investments may not be protected by the compensation scheme.

    The FCA says IFISAs are sometimes marketed alongside cash ISAs but offer investors much less protection. The warning comes in the wake of the collapse of London Capital & Finance, which marketed mini-bonds as IFISAs.

  18. Walgreens Boots Alliance warns on earnings

    Walgreens store

    Global pharmacy giant Walgreens Boots Alliance has cut its full-year earnings growth forecast as the drugstore chain struggles with falling prices of generic alternatives to branded drugs.

    The company reduced its adjusted earnings forecast for 2019, from a range of 7% to 12% growth, to roughly flat.

    Net income fell 14% to $1.16bn in the second quarter ended 28 February, from $1.35bn a year earlier.

    Walgreens Boots Alliance was created in 2014 when Alliance Boots merged with Walgreens. The business has a presence in more than 25 countries and employs more than 400,000 people.