• Date: 15 March 2017
  • Posted By: admin

On a beautiful spring day – ahead of the rain and cold forecast for later in the week – we bring you our pick of this week’s news stories: Bonus down profits up; Oh to own Zara; No more sickies; and Free child care.

Bonus down profits up: As we reported last week, John Lewis announced to its staff (partners) that their bonus this year would be 6% of salary. This week, this article reports that the group (John Lewis & Waitrose)  has increased gross profits by 65.4% – £488 million, and a gross sales increase of 3.2%. So why then have the bonuses been ‘slashed’? Apparently it’s to ensure that the company  – which decided to reduce partners’ bonuses to about three weeks of pay – has done so in order to keep a greater proportion of profits to protect its balance sheet in the longer term.

Oh to own Zara: Why? Because its owner is the richest man in Europe, and is about to receive a £1.1bn in dividends. Mr Ortega is the founder and biggest shareholder of Spain’s Inditex – which includes Zara in its stables of retailers – and is the largest clothing retailer in the world. So it would appear that whilst some of the UK retailers are struggling, Inditex has achieved record sales, which it’s shareholders will benefit from with an increase in shares of 13.3%.

No more sickies!: Well, far fewer that is. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) 137.3 million days were lost to sickness last year. Eye watering. But, whilst that equates to 4.3% for every worker in the UK, it is the lowest since records began back in 1993 when it stood at 7.2%. It declined during the economic crisis, and crept up a bit over recent years, and is now coming down nicely. However. Yes, there’s always a but! There is a concern that, whilst levels fell in every demographic group, the exception was those aged 65 and over. And as many of us are set to work longer than we would have in the past, it’s a sign that we really are going to have to look after our health more. No doubt you have also heard that unemployment is now at its lowest since 1975 – standing at 4.7%. Both of these articles give you much more details on the statistics issued by the ONS.

Free child care: The Government’s new childcare policy for working families takes effect next month. For those of you with children up to the age of 12 there will be up to £2,000 available for childcare costs. And from September, if you work and have children between 3 and 4 years of age, you’ll be able to double the amount of free childcare from 15 to 30 hours a week from September. The Government is referring to the improved benefits as ‘flagship’ – we say it makes economic sense to support working parents.

That’s it for another week. Don’t forget to come back and read our blog next Wednesday, 22nd March. Until then, here at The Hub Retail Recruitment we wish you a good week.