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  • Daily business and finance update 11th May 2023

Daily business and finance update 11th May 2023

John Lewis CEO survives

Good morning. Today we're talking about John Lewis CEO's confidence vote, Asos' disappointing results and travel demand weakening.

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John Lewis CEO survives

Sharon White won the vote of confidence in her leadership of the John Lewis Partnership, which runs the department store and grocer Waitrose, but remains under pressure with employees, known as partners, voting against her performance over the last year. Ms White had faced controversy after reports she was considering selling a stake in the 70-year-old partnership to an outside investor in an attempt to raise £2bn. She has now pledged the group would always remain employee-owned. In March the group announced it would cancel staff bonuses for the second time in three years and warned of fresh job cuts after what it described as “a very tough year” where “inflation hit us like a hurricane”.

Travel demand falters

Airbnb shares posted their largest ever one-day drop this week after the home-rental company gave a cautious trading outlook, suggesting rising prices and recession fears are beginning to weigh on consumer travel demand. The news came as the company reported a record number of nights booked in the three months to March and swung to a profit for the first time, saying revenue had doubled since the pandemic. Airbnb said to remain competitive it was launching marketing campaigns earlier in the year to attract cost-conscious holidaymakers ahead of the peak summer season.

Going out of fashion

Asos reported disappointing trading in the six months to February with sales dropping 8%, including a 10% drop in the UK. The news sent shares in the online retailer down 23%. The company also posted a £291m loss as it blamed a “challenging trading backdrop”, with shoppers returning to physical high street stores and cutting spending on non-essentials. Asos said half the fall in sales was down to Asos’s own actions, such as limiting discounting and cutting marketing, and the other to changing consumer behaviour. The company also warned that sales are likely to decline in double digits in the rest of the year.


Dis-inflation: US inflation has fallen below 5% for first time in two years.

Leave of absence: The CEO and co-founder of fintech Wise has announced a three-month sabbatical to spend time with his family.

Booze return: The pub chain JD Wetherspoon has reported its highest Easter week sales and busiest-ever Saturday, with cash-conscious drinkers searching out cheaper options amid the cost of living crisis.

Rebrand: National Express is to change its parent company name to Mobico Group to “better reflect” the “international nature” of the group, as it continues a shift to mass transit.

Losing subscribers: Disney says its flagship streaming service lost 4m subscribers in the first three months of the year amid a wider cost-cutting drive.

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