3rd December 2021
Good morning Earlier this week, US lawmakers proposed a new bill – the Stopping Grinch Bots Act - to prevent bots from buying up products, like shoes and toys, especially during the Christmas period. The aim is to stop the hottest gifts being mopped up by scalpers using sophisticated software who then make a killing by reselling them on marketplaces like eBay. Maybe one for the UK to consider?
- Rich Brits – Household wealth reaches record level
- All Thai’d up? - Selfridges on the verge of new Thai owners in £4bn deal
Household wealth reaches record level
What’s going on?
Last year UK household wealth rose by 8.4% to £11.2tr - a new record - that’s according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Why is this important?
Are you richer that you were last year? New data from the ONS suggests that for most of us the answer is yes.
Household wealth in 2020 reached an all-time high equivalent to £160,000 per person, that’s despite the economy contracting by 10% due to Covid.
The increase in prosperity was driven by rising property prices, pension values and savings.
Around 40% of the growth came from house prices which grew by over 7% in 2020. The demand for homes, especially those with more space, soared as buyers took advantage of the stamp duty holiday and record low interest rates which made home ownership more affordable.
The increase in pension pots added another 40%. Company pension schemes were boosted by historically low interest rates on government bonds known as gilt yields.
Then lockdown-related savings from less travel and leisure activities were the final source of increased wealth, Data from the Bank of England showed that households saved over £100bn in 2020 as people were forced to do less travel and leisure activities.
Rising wealth during a global pandemic and recession is a unique outcome - in the aftermath of the 2008-09 Global Financial Crisis household wealth fell by 10%.
But 2020’s riches were not equally distributed. Older people, who are more likely to own homes and have large pension pots, benefited more than younger households, thus creating more inter-generational inequality.
Selfridges on the verge of new owners in £4bn deal
Luxury department store chain Selfridges is reportedly closing in on a £4bn sale to the Thai business firm Central Group.
In July Selfridges was put up for sale by its current owners, the Canadian billionaire Weston family, after 18 years in charge. It drew attention from bidders across the world including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Hong-Kong department store Lane Crawford.
The first Selfridges store opened in London in 1908 and since then has grown to more than 25 locations across the world including in Birmingham, Manchester and Dublin.
Central Group is a household name Thailand. It owns department stores, shopping centres and hotels and is run by one of the wealthiest Thai families.
The acquisition of Selfridges would further its footprint in Europe. The group already owns high-end department chains in Italy, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany.
Stat of the day
In the UK around half of perfume and aftershaves sales occur in November and December
Other stories to keep you in the loop
- HSBC, Barclays and NatWest fined by EU for foreign exchange cartel
- Unvaccinated workers to be sacked under Anglo American plans
- Morrisons takeover put on hold
- HSBC takes on fintechs with investing feature aimed at younger clients
- Abrdn to buy online investment platform Interactive Investor for £1.5bn
- CEO Satya Nadella sells about half of his Microsoft shares
- Ride hailing app Grab makes $40bn market debut
- Goldman Sachs bosses demand more pay
- Partners at mid-tier accountant BDO paid more than at EY
- Jack Dorsey’s Square changes its name to Block
Interesting links from around the web