Good morning. Twitter is so behind on rent that the company is auctioning off its office furniture giving social media fans the chance to own items that once sat the San Francisco headquarters — at the cost of thousands of dollars, in some cases. Interesting lots included a giant planter shaped like the '@' symbol and a 20-gallon vegetable dryer.
Inflation trends down
As expected, data released yesterday showed that UK inflation in December fell to 10.5% from 10.7% the month before. The good news is that it’s the second consecutive month of declines and suggests the worse may be behind us. The bad news is that it’s still rising at a double-digit rate, a 40-year-high. Lower petrol prices and along with cheaper clothing and footwear were drivers of the fall but food prices continued to soar, reaching the highest since 1977.
Economists expect inflation to fall slowly in the next few months and stay above the Bank of England’s 2% target in 2023. Since this is the last inflation data before the central bank’s next interest rate meeting, attention immediately shifts to whether it will hike for the 10th time in a row which seems almost certain.
Elsewhere the chancellor Jeremy Hunt was mocked online over his ‘Mr Bean-esque’ video explaining high inflation.
Aldi ups pay again
Yesterday the German supermarket announced it would raise hourly wages for UK warehouse staff for the third time in 12 months. Warehouse selectors at the UK’s fourth largest supermarket will receive a new minimum rate of £13.18 an hour – up 20% from £11.48 in January 2022. Last year rival grocers including Tesco and Lidl also upped their pay as competition for staff increased amid high employment and the rising cost of living. Warehouse workers have been in particularly short supply since Brexit, which reduced access to European labour.
European tourists rescue Burberry sales
Yesterday Burberry reported that it managed to avoid a decline in group sales as European tourists more than made up for a 23% decline in Chinese sales in the final quarter of last year. China is the second largest luxury market in the world so the strict Covid lockdown rules in place for much of 2022 has been a huge blow to high-end fashion industry. Before the pandemic 40% of Burberry’s sales were to Chinese customers, this is now down to a quarter.
Microsoft joins tech cut back
Yesterday Microsoft confirmed that it would cut 10,000 jobs (5% of its workforce) by the end of March in a bid to slash costs amid the slowing global economy. Like its tech peers the company had rapidly expanded during the pandemic (adding more than 40,000 roles) to meet the growing demand for online services in lockdown. CEO Satya Nadella recently said that Microsoft wasn’t “immune to the global changes,” and predicted a “challenging” next two years. In comes in the same month Amazon, Salesforce and Meta also announced job cuts.
Driving changes: Owners of new cars, motorbikes and vans could be permitted to delay their vehicle’s first MOT by a year under government plans to cut costs for drivers.
Royal giveaway: King Charles has asked for a surge in profits from a £1bn per year Crown Estate offshore wind farm deal to be used for the "wider public good", rather than for the Royal Family.
Powering up: An Australian billionaire is reportedly planning to build a new electric vehicle battery plant in the UK days after homegrown operator Britishvolt collapsed.
Shutting down: Google will shut down its Stadia cloud-gaming service in the UK on Thursday, as it issues refunds to gamers.
Electric slump: Currys has reported a slump in Christmas sales, with the football World Cup even failing to bolster demand for TVs.
The price of love: Match-owned dating app Hinge confirmed it’s testing a higher-priced premium subscription of $50 to $60 per month for "motivated daters".
Running out: Lawyers for Usain Bolt says nearly $13m is missing from the Olympic champion's account with a private investment firm in Jamaica.
4 side hustle ideas for introverts
The companies that churn through young workers
Wondering how fit you should be in your 20s, 30s or 40s? Why age doesn’t really matter when it comes to fitness
Fact Of The Day
More than 60% of British adults are overweight or obese.