• Date: 11 May 2017
  • Posted By: admin

This week our news stories are: John Lewis budgets £36m for back pay; We’re getting more cautious; Superdry benefitting from weak pound; Dyson wins EU battle; and Hermes workers claiming rights.

John Lewis budgets £36m for back pay: John Lewis has had to revise its published profits because of the way its payroll has been ‘smoothing’ out the way it calculates its hourly paid staff. This has come to light when one of its staff – or partners – raised the issue. Apparently, JL is working with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) over the issue. It appears that the way the payroll was set up was to ensure that staff got a regular level of pay, but as a consequence has caused some to dip below the minimum wage at certain points in the year. This could go back as far as 6 years. A couple of years ago the retailer had the same issue when calculating holiday pay. It says it is working with HMRC to resolve the issue, and in anticipation has put aside this money to ensure there are adequate funds to pay people who have been affected.

We’re getting more cautious: The National Institute of Economic & Social Research (NIESR) is predicting that inflation will reach 3.4% this year – significantly above the Treasury’s forecast of 2.4%. The NIESR is further predicting that wages will on average rise by 2.7%, and it says that we will therefore be much more cautious about spending our money, especially with rising energy bills and council tax. It says that in response we are spending only on essential items in expectation that our disposable income is going to be squeezed. Are you feeling the pinch? As you’ll know from our previous blogs, consumer spending has so far been holding up well. Perhaps this is about to change – we’ll certainly be watching what happens over the next few months and keep you posted.

Superdry benefitting from weaker pound: SuperGroup – the parent company of Superdry – has recorded a phenomenal increase in sales of 27.7% in the 12 months to the end of April, apparently as a result of the weaker pound. And its wholesale business achieved a rise of £42.9. How is it achieving these remarkable results? Its CEO, Euan Sutherland, says “This global multichannel growth strategy balances opening stores, developing new wholesale partners and driving our strong ecommerce proposition to expand the reach of the brand and further diversify our business model.” Well, it’s certainly working, and we wish SuperGroup continued success.

Dyson wins EU battle: James Dyson is a Brexiteer, believing that it is a great opportunity for British companies to break free from EU regulations. The case the company has been fighting for the past 2 years is over the green credentials awarded to vacuum cleaners which are based on tests with a bag – and as we know Dyson vacuums don’t have them. So the point was that Dyson cleaners weren’t being tested fairly. And it would seem that the EU court has agreed. Not only that, apparently getting a judgement after 2 years is surprisingly quick. According to this report though, the details may not be finalised, and there is further EU considerations still to be made! But let’s celebrate a common sense judgement at this point.

Hermes workers claiming rights: As you know from previous blogs, the ‘gig’ economy is making headlines about whether workers are employees or self employed. The Uber case is the most high profile, but workers in other companies are also claiming that they should have workers rights, such as holiday pay and paid sick leave. Now added to the list is Hermes, the delivery company. The GMB union is taking this case – bought by 8 people – to an Employment Tribunal. This whole issue of workers rights is undoubtedly gathering pace, and we can expect to see more rulings, and more cases, emerging throughout the year.

Well, that’s our top pics of this past week. Next week we’ll be back to our usual Wednesday slot – so make sure you come back on 17th May. Until then, have a great week.