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Today's business and finance round up 1st December 2021

✈Flying in the red

1st December 2021

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Today's stories

  • Flying in the red – Easyjet posts another £1bn loss

  • Keeping it in the family - Zara founder passes chair role to daughter

AIRLINESEasyjet posts another £1bn loss

What’s going on?Easyjet fell to a second consecutive £1bn loss and warned that the new Covid variant was already denting consumer confidence in booking flights.

Why is this important?

Easyjet reported a £1.1bn loss for the year to September, a slight improvement from the previous years loss of £1.3bn. Revenue was down 52% to £1.5bn.Being an airline during a global pandemic has been incredibly tough. Last year Easyjet made its first loss in its 25 year history, shed 4,500 jobs and is on track to cut £500m out of the business to stay afloat. And just when things were starting to look better with travel restrictions easing, a new variant of Covid comes in and crashes the party.Easyjet’s results came on the same day that the boss of Moderna said that existing vaccines will be much less effective at tackling Omicron than earlier strains of Covid and warned it would take months before new variant-specific jabs could be manufactured at scale.The airline says that bookings had started to weaken since news of Omicron emerged and it had cut flights in preparation of more uncertainty. Industry insiders expect that the longer the travel recovery takes, the more likely that airlines will merge to survive. In September Easyjet rejected a cheeky offer from rival Wizz Air saying it undervalued the business but with the emergence of Omicron it may not be the last we hear of airline takeovers. TakeawayThe travel industry can’t seem to catch a break with the possibility of more restrictions on the horizon. The uncertainty over the seriousness of Omicron is likely to mean unpredictable trading in the coming months.

RETAILZara founder passes chair role to daughter

The founder of the world’s biggest fashion retailer has named his 37-year-old daughter as the next chairwoman in a passing of the generational torch.Inditex is Spain’s largest company and owns several high street chains including Zara, Bershka and Massimo Dutti with almost 7,000 stores worldwide.Marta Ortega Pérez will replace Pablo Isla who has been the group's chairman since 2011.The announcement hasn’t gone down well with investors concerned that it may be too much too soon for Ortega. Inditex’s share price fell 6% on the news.Ortega has worked in many roles since joining Inditex 15 years ago. She started as a shop assistant at Bershka in London and since then has been behind the strengthening of Zara’s brand image having led several marketing campaigns.But she has big shoes to fill. Her predecessor has presided over a period where the groups brands have dominated global high street fashion and the market value has risen eight-fold to over $100bn.Looking ahead the group will have to navigate a world where consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of fast fashion that its brands are known for.

Stat of the day

TSB bank is closing a quarter of its branches next year leaving 220 sites as the move to digital banking means more than 90% of transactions are online

Other stories to keep you in the loop

  • UK competition watchdog orders Facebook owner to sell gif website Giphy

  • New ‘purpose-built’ $1bn UK clearing bank launches in London

  • Wise cuts prices for money transfers as revenue surges

  • Sainsbury’s opens first checkout-free store which uses same technology as Amazon

  • Lego gives its 20,000 employees three days extra holiday after profits rise 140%

Interesting links from around the web

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