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Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, April 16

The ongoing coronavirus situation is changing by the hour with announcements being made about businesses and services that are being forced to adapt and change.

Punchline is committed to trying to keep you up to date with all the news that matters to you and your business.

Our team will update this story throughout the day, to ensure the latest important developments can be found in one - clickbait free - place.

If you or your business has any news, views or advice to share with the Gloucestershire business community, get in touch with Punchline team at news@moosemarketingandpr.co.uk.

Friday, April 16

Update #8607 - 12.10 Barn on the Farm postpones 2021 festival

Organisers of Barn on the Farm festival at Over Farm in Gloucester have made the decision to postpone this year's edition of Barn on the Farm Festival until the June 30 - July 3, 2022.

A statement sent to ticket holders said: Although the government roadmap is running on track, with us falling only 10 days after the end date for restrictions lifting we feel there remains too much uncertainty. 

"This, coupled alongside the lack of appropriate government backed cancellation insurance, has rendered this year unfortunately too great a risk for us to continue planning in the festival's current format.

"We will continue to look at alternative options for an event over the planned dates this year and will keep all of you in mind, but in the interests of our attendees, crew, contractors and artists, we wanted to leave enough time for alternative plans to be made."

Update #8606 - 12.00 Toolstation drives bumper quarter for Travis Perkins

Travis Perkins has seen bumper sales through the first three months of 2021, driven by its Toolstation brand.

The builders' merchant enjoyed a sales growth of 6.8 per cent compared to the same period last year with like-for-like sales up 17.4 per cent.

Toolstation, which sells tools and materials with branches in Gloucester, Cheltenham, Cirencester, Cinderford, Bourton-on-the-Water and Ross-on-Wye, enjoyed a 42 per cent growth across the three months.

READ MORE  

Update #8605 - 10.55 More new job adverts posted as business confidence grows

The number of new job postings has remained high amidst the re-opening of the economy, reports the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

The REC said during the week of April 5-11 a further 140,000 new job postings were recorded, giving a total of 1.37 million active job adverts in the UK. This is on top of a further 181,000 in the previous week, which was the highest weekly figure since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

In fact, the three best weeks for new job postings have all come since March 8.

Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said: "The busy barbers and pub gardens this week are a sign that large sections of our economy are getting going again - and this growing confidence is reflected in hiring activity.

"With the vaccine rollout on schedule, businesses are increasingly confident this positive trend will continue. That will unlock investment and with it, new jobs."

Update #8604 - 08.30 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 127,191 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 30 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 2,672 people have tested positive for the virus in the latest 24 hour period and 4,380,976 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 32,444,439 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of April 14 and 8,513,864 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 22,324, as of Thursday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 951.

Cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 6,341 cases (increase of three)

Cheltenham - 3,737 cases (increase of two)

Stroud - 3,727 cases (increase of two)

Tewkesbury - 2,903 cases (increase of one)

Forest of Dean - 3,076 cases (no change)

Cotswold - 2,540 cases (no change) 

Thursday, April 15 

Update #8604 - 11.22 TM Lewin and Moss Bros supplier to cease operations

Menswear supplier to retailers TM Lewin and Moss Bros, Prominent Europe has revealed its plans to close.

The Nottingham-based company said the decision was due to unprecedented changes in the menswear market.

A letter sent by Prominent Europe to its 40 employees said: "Our business has been severely impacted by the unprecedented changes seen in the retail clothing market.

"After deep consideration and with a heavy heart we have had to announce to our employees a proposal to wind-down and close our business over the next year in an orderly manner whilst satisfying our orders and liabilities." 

Update #8603 - 10.47 Deliveroo sees orders more than double

Takeaway platform Deliveroo has posted its latest trading update, revealing a double in orders and sales in the first quarter of 2021.

The business said that the number of customers using its service each month has now reached 7.1million, a jump of 91 per cent year on year.

Orders in the UK also rose 121 per cent in the past three months to 34 million.

However, it added that it couldn't say how much of the growth was as a result of lockdown, but still expects full year sales to rise by 30 to 40 per cent.

Founder and chief executive Will Shu said: "This is our fourth consecutive quarter of accelerating growth, but we are mindful of the uncertain impact of the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions." 

Update #8602 - 08.30 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 127,161 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 38 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 2,491 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 4,378,305 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 32,326,604 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of April 13 and 8,170,081 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 22,316, as of Wednesday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 951.

Cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 6,338 cases (no change)

Cheltenham - 3,735 cases (increase of four)

Stroud - 3,725 cases (increase of four)

Tewkesbury - 2,902 cases (no change)

Forest of Dean - 3,076 cases (no change)

Cotswold - 2,540 cases (increase of one)

Wednesday, April 14

Update #8601 - 12.40 Amazon continues grocery move with new brand

Amazon has continued its move into the grocery sector with the launch of a new label food brand.

The Aplenty range, which the company plans to extend to cover hundreds of products, will be available online and at Amazon Fresh stores.

Two Amazon Fresh outlets opened in London last month which sell tens under the By Amazon brand and introduced technology which enables shoppers to leave without going through a checkout by tracking items in their basket.

The company has also launched Amazon Kitchen ready meals, Amazon Fresh baked goods and Happy Belly grocery brands.

Update #8600 - 12.33 Strong sales make Hornby model of success

Hornby has seen sales over the past year rise by 28 per cent after a surge in sales over the last quarter.

The model train company, which also owns Scalextric, said sales throughout the first three months of 2021 were up on the same period last year.

A company statement said sales had been "very encouraging and ahead of budget".

READ MORE 

Update #8599 - 11.38 Nike give extra miles to discount trainers

Nike has announced plans to refurbish and resell used trainers returned by customers.

The sportswear giant is launching Nike Refurbished in 15 US stores this month with shoes returned inside 60 days sold at a reduced price.

Information on the shoes, including their condition grade, is available by scanning QR codes on boxes.

Update #8598 - 11.34 Dyson creates research roles

Engineering company Dyson is to create 200 research jobs at its Innovation Campus in Wiltshire.

The company, best known for vacuum cleaners, announced plans to research robotics and artificial intelligence as part of a £2.75billion investment plan in November.

Founder Sir James Dyson said: "We are growing our research team to achieve radical leaps in the performance of our machines - underpinned by technologies such as solid-state batteries and robotics."

Update #8597 - 11.28 Virgin and O2 merger clears hurdle

The UK competition watchdog has provisionally given the all clear for a £31billion merger between Virgin Media and O2.

The Competition and Markets Authority launched an in-depth investigation into the merger, first announced in May, in December amid fears it would mean higher prices or poorer quality for wholesale services supplied by the companies.

But its provisional decision said "the deal is unlikely to lead to higher prices or a reduced quality of mobile services - meaning customers should continue to benefit from strong competition".

O2 has 34 million mobile network customers while 5.3 million use Virgin's broadband, TV and mobile services.

Update #8596 - 08.30 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 127,123 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 23 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 2,472 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 4,375,814 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 32,250,481 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of April 12 and 7,857,396 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 22,307, as of Tuesday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 951.

Cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 6,338 cases (increase of one)

Cheltenham - 3,731 cases (increase of two)

Stroud - 3,721 cases (increase of one)

Tewkesbury - 2,902 cases (no change)

Forest of Dean - 3,076 cases (no change)

Cotswold - 2,539 cases (no change)

Tuesday, April 13

Update #8595 - 12.35 Spending fell 7.2 per cent in March while hospitality and leisure showed signs of recovery

Consumer spending fell 7.2 per cent in March compared to the same period in 2019, according to data from Barclaycard.

Findings reveal that spending on essential items grew 7.7 per cent compared to March 2019, the highest growth so far this year. This was bolstered by food and drink specialist stores which saw a 71.4 per cent uplift, as Brits relied on the convenience of local shops and delivery services for their weekly meals.

And there are signs that spending at restaurants should improve after further easing of restrictions on April 12, as one in four Brits (26 per cent) have already been booking post-lockdown activities, with 41 per cent of these consumers booking restaurant reservations for meals outdoors.

Raheel Ahmed, head of Consumer Products, said: "With springtime finally here and restrictions starting to ease, it's encouraging to see a renewed sense of optimism across much of the UK."

Update #8594 - 10.29 Retail sales growth driven by grocery spending

The March BRC-KPMG Sales Monitor has revealed that retail sales climbed in March, despite many categories being in decline.

The report suggests that UK grocery sales have driven a total retail sales increase of 8.3 per cent in March, when compared with the same period in 2019. Like-for-like sales grew 8.4 per cent in the same period.

"While total sales show growth, out of the 13 categories tracked, 8 remained in significant decline. The pandemic has concentrated spend on home centric categories such as food, computing and home appliances," said the BRC.

"While others, such as fashion and beauty remain in double digit decline compared to pre-pandemic levels." 

Update #8593 - 10.11 Just Eat orders up 79 per cent

Takeaway delivery platform Just Eat has posted its latest trading update, revealing a jump in orders to 200m during the first quarter of 2021.

The business said this is an increase of 79 per cent when compared to the same period the year before, and the UK placed the highest number of orders at just under 64m.

It is thought that Just Eat's merger with Takeaway.com last year, coronavirus lockdown restrictions and partnerships with Leon, Starbucks and Costa have all contributed to the boost in demand.

Chief executive Jitse Groen said: "The first quarter of 2021 marks our fourth consecutive quarter of order growth acceleration. Our fastest growing segment was the United Kingdom, and we are especially pleased with the roll-out of our UK Delivery network, which has reached an impressive 695% order growth rate year-on-year." 

Update #8592 - 10.02 NHS website crashes as people over 45 invited to book vaccinations

The NHS website for vaccination appointments reportedly crashed this morning after it updated to say those aged over 45 could book their jab.

A message on the site displayed: "The NHS website is currently experiencing technical difficulties.

"We are working to resolve these issues. Thank you for your patience." 

Update #8591 - 09.55 UK exports to EU bounce back

Exports to the EU partially rebounded in February after a record drop at the start of 2021, reports the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Findings show that goods sales to the European Union rose by 46.6 per cent to £3.7bn, after falling by 42 per cent (£5.7bn) in January.

The ONS said: "The economy showed some improvement in February after the large falls seen at the start of the year but remains around 8% below its pre-pandemic level.

"Exports to the EU recovered significantly from their January fall, though still remain below 2020 levels." 

Update #8590 - 08.35 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 127,100 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 13 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 3,568 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 4,373,343 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 32,190,576 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of April 11 and 7,656,205 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 22,304, as of Monday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 951.

Cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 6,337 cases

Cheltenham - 3,729 cases

Stroud - 3,720 cases

Tewkesbury - 2,902 cases

Forest of Dean - 3,077 cases

Cotswold - 2,539 cases

Monday, April 12

Update #8589 - 12.55 Office staff may have to socially distance each winter

Social distancing would have to be enforced in offices for half of each year under a scenario reportedly being studied by the government.

According to The Times, Whitehall officials have told professional services companies that Covid-19's seasonal nature could mean that social distancing is only lifted in the spring and summer.

As part of a consultation for the government's social distancing review, businesses were asked what the costs of such a regime would be.

The review is looking at whether social-distancing rules can be lifted when the reopening 'road map' ends on June 21.

SEE MORE 

Update #8588 - 11.55 Homebase moves in to Next after deal

Next and Homebase have teamed up to provide mini garden centres at the fashion retailer's shops.

Homebase will sell garden tools and plants at six Next stores, including Bristol, with staff on hand to provide advice.

The DIY and garden centre chain is also planning to open smaller outlets.

Homebase's owners Hilco Capital announced plans to sell the chain in November with several potential buyers believed to be interested after a surge in spending on home improvement during the pandemic.

Update #8587 - 11.50 No further closures planned by John Lewis

John Lewis has said it will not be closing any more shops - weeks after announcing eight further closures.

The department store chain, which has a shop in Cheltenham, has cut the number of outlets from 51 to 31 during the pandemic with online sales rising to more than 60 per cent.

But executive director Pippa Wicks said the company had not more proposed closures.

John Lewis shops across England and Wales were reopening today as coronavirus restrictions were eased.

Update #8586 - 11.45 Business confidence hits new level

Confidence among leading UK companies has reached record levels according to a survey of finance directors.

The quarterly poll of finance directors by Deloitte put optimism at the highest level since the survey started 13 years ago, helped by the vaccination programme and relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.

According to Sky News, the survey found companies were moving away from cost-cutting strategies while concerns over Brexit were fading.

Update #8585 - 08.30 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 127,087 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of seven on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 1,730 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours and 4,369,775 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 32,121,353 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of April 10 and 7,466,540 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 22,281 as of Monday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 951.

Cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 6,328 cases

Cheltenham - 3,725 cases

Stroud - 3,717 cases

Tewkesbury - 2,900 cases

Forest of Dean - 3,072 cases

Cotswold - 2,539 cases

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