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Today's business and finance round up 26th August 2021

❄Christmas supplies in doubt

26th August 2021

Good morning To date, the most common approach to encourage people to get vaccinated has been to offer incentives (cash, food, event tickets etc) but US airline Delta has opted for the ‘stick’ method. From November the company will fine unvaccinated employees $200 a month.

Today's stories

  • Christmas supplies in doubt

  • TikTok shop comes to UK

Yesterday's market moves

FTSE 100  +0.3% 7,150 FTSE 250 +0.4% 23,986

Renewed confidence in the global recovery lifted the mood in the markets ahead of the annual central banker get together aka the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium. UK markets continued to rise with the FTSE 250 gaining 0.4% to reach another record high.

RETAILChristmas supplies in doubt

What’s going on?British supermarkets have warned that supply chain issues could delay deliveries of festive items this Christmas. Co-op, Iceland and Tesco have sounded the alarm that the shortage in lorry drivers is causing havoc to their preparations for December.

Why is this important?

In the months leading up to Christmas supermarkets aim to grow their inventories ahead of the biggest food and drink event of the year. However this year with just four months to go plans are being thrown into disarray as the UK is in the middle of a lorry driver shortage.Industry experts estimate that 100,000 lorry drivers are needed. The issue has been brewing for some time due to the ageing of the driver population but has more recently been amplified by Brexit and Covid.During the pandemic many drivers have gone back to their native countries and many have not returned. Lorry driver training takes many months and there is a major backlog of tests that were put on hold during the pandemic. Drivers are not on the approved list of skilled workers eligible for a special visa post Brexit so recruiting from Europe is difficult.The shortage is pushing up driver wages. Industry sources say that drivers from agencies who were receiving £350 a day in January are now making around £800 a day.Supermarkets are offering higher wages to attract more drivers. Tesco is already giving a £1,000 bonus to drivers who join before the end of September. TakeawaySupply chain issues are becoming more frequent with many parts of the economy reporting a shortage in skilled workers and goods. Supermarkets have tried to down play the situation and say it’s not quite time to stockpile mince pies yet. There may well be some items in low supply but that panic buying would not help matters. 

ONLINETikTok shop comes to UK

TikTok wants to bring the joy of scrolling and shopping to their app. It’s partnering with ecommerce platform Shopify to add a tab for in-app shopping. The new feature is currently being tested by a group of businesses that includes Kylie Jenner in the UK and North America.TikTok is the latest social media firm to add an ecommerce arm. Facebook and Instagram, have heavily invested in online shopping in recent years with services like Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shops.The social media shopping industry is expected to grow 36% this year alone and reach $50bn by 2023. The pairing of two very addictive online activities could make searching for items on Google a thing of the past. TikTok hopes to replicate the success of its Chinese version, Douyin, which racked up $26bn from e-commerce transactions in its first year of operation. As well as Facebook Marketplace which hit 1 billion users in April.

Stat of the day

During lockdown there was a 25% rise in 18 to 34-year-olds who smoke - resulting in more than 652,000 new smokers among the age group

Other stories to keep you in the loop

  • Greggs becomes latest food business hit by supply chain problems

  • OnlyFans suspends policy change after backlash

  • Mr Kipling maker Premier Foods tells staff to work 'wherever they work best'

  • Citi tells junior bankers to take two weeks off in the summer

  • Just Eat announces 1,500 new jobs in North East

  • Is your name ruining your life?

  • Marble Arch Mound attracts unexpected tourists curious to see how bad it is

  • The upside of office gossip

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