7th December 2022
Bite-sized business news from the UK and beyond
- Asda commits to convenient future
- Mining giant agrees $180m corruption payout
Asda commits to convenient future
Yesterday Asda announced plans to open 300 convenience stores in the next four years, creating 10,000 new jobs.
How did we get here?
Shopping more locally in neighbourhood stores boomed during the Covid lockdowns when consumers were wary of travelling and mixing in larger, busier stores.
Asda is the UK’s third biggest supermarket behind Tesco and Sainsbury’s and has historically lagged behind its rivals who have hundreds of smaller ‘express’ outlets, compared to Asda’s two.
Earlier this year Asda, owned by private equity house TDR Capital and the billionaire Issa brothers, bought 132 forecourts from the Co-op to give it more exposure to the convenience sector.
Asda express stores will be a similar size to a Sainsburys Local and Tesco Express, offering 3,000 products as well as other brands like the Issa-owned fast food chain Leon.
Zooming out: Opening 300 stores by 2026 will make Asda the #2 UK grocer though still some way behind Tesco, which has almost 2,000 Express stores. However it’s an incredibly crowded market with Morrisons, Waitrose and Amazon also expanding their smaller store presence in recent years competing with incumbents like Budgens, Londis and Spar.
Other stories to keep you in the loop
- UK retailers boosted by November sales of winter coats and hot water bottles
- Apple launches self service repair in the UK
- Morgan Stanley lays off 2% of workers - about 1,600 people
- Goldman Sachs on hunt for bargain crypto firms after FTX fiasco
- Fenwick to shut 130-year-old New Bond Street department store
- London overtakes New York and San Francisco for fintech funding
- BrewDog fruit beer ad banned over claim it is ‘one of your five a day’
Mining giant agrees $180m corruption payout
This week British-Swiss mining firm Glencore agreed to pay $180m to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to cover corruption claims between 2007 and 2018.
It’s the latest in a series of scandals that has seen the company pay more than $1.6bn in fines in 2022 alone.
How did we get here?
Glencore is one of the world's largest mining and commodity companies. Listed in London and headquartered in Switzerland, it employs around 135,000 people in more than 35 countries.
It has a chequered past of doing business with rogue states and colourful characters which has landed it in regulatory hot water for decades.
In May, it admitted to paying millions in bribes to officials in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, South Sudan, Brazil and Venezuela. This year it was hit by a joint investigation by the UK, US and Brazil on a variety of accusations that included its oil trading arm hand delivering cash bribes to African nations using private jets.
Zooming out: Glencore is not out of the woods yet and could face even more fines as it’s still under investigation by authorities in the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Despite the huge financial penalties already incurred, this year Glencore expects to triple its profits to $3.2bn. Performance has been boosted by the coal-mining business which has benefited from the disruption to energy markets caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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