Skip navigation

Gloucestershire Business News

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, November 27

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, November 27

Update #8128 - 16.18 Union calls for shops to stay shut on Boxing Day

Union officials are calling on retailers to keep their stores closed on Boxing Day to provide workers with a longer festive break.

Marks & Spencer reversed a decision to open on December 26 while both Pets at Home and Wickes have confirmed they will remain closed on Boxing Day.

And Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis is calling on other retailers to follow their lead.

He said: "With the country facing a crisis unlike any in our lifetime, retail and distribution workers have stepped up and kept food on all of our tables.

"The only way they will be guaranteed a decent break at Christmas is if food retailers close for Boxing Day."

Update #8127 - 16.13 Cutting Saturday deliveries could save £225m

Cutting letter deliveries on a Saturday could save Royal Mail up to £225million a year, according to a report from regulator Ofcom.

The report said the change, which would need a change to the company's universal service obligation, would enable Royal Mail to meet the needs of most customers.

Ofcom said: :Unless Royal Mail can modernise its network to adapt to parcel customers' changing needs, and operate more efficiently, the sustainability of the universal service could be at risk in the longer term."

Royal Mail interim executive chairman Keith Williams said he would consider the findings.

Update #8126 - 13.03 Arcadia latest retailer on edge of administration

The Arcadia retail group - which includes well-known high street names such as TopShop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins - could be heading into administration within days.

Talks between Arcadia owner Sir Philip Green about borrowing £30million to see the business through to Christmas are believed to have collapsed.

Administrators for the group, which has around 500 shops, could be called in on Monday with 13,000 jobs potentially at risk.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #8125 - 13.02 M&S reverses decision to open on Boxing Day

Marks & Spencer has decided to close its stores on Boxing Day, having previously announced they would open more than 200 stores on the day.

The high street retailer said the decision was made so its employees would spend as much time as possible with family and friends on both December 25 and 26.

"2020 has been a uniquely challenging year for everyone and this Christmas, the celebrations we have, will be more precious than ever.

M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said: "2020 has been a uniquely challenging year for everyone and this Christmas, the celebrations we have, will be more precious than ever.

"That's why in the run up to Christmas we are opening longer hours and have accelerated the launch of new digital services, but it's also why we have taken the decision to close our operations on Boxing Day, so that our colleagues can enjoy more special time with their loved ones."

Update #8124 - 12.35 Fresh warning tiers could ring time for pubs

More than 30,000 pubs will be forced to remain closed or become unviable after all but a few isolated parts of England were placed in tier two and three restrictions from next week.

Tier two pubs, including those in Gloucestershire will only be able to open and serve drinks with substantial meals while those in tier three are restricted to takeaway and delivery services.

And the British Beer & Pub Association said the restrictions, which will replace the existing England lockdown from December 2, said the measures will have catastrophic consequences for four in five pubs.

SEE MORE 

Update #8123 - 11.55 Plans outlined for reopening John Lewis stores

John Lewis has revealed plans to reopen shops in England with new steps to deliver 'fuss-free shopping' to its customers this Christmas.

The department store is set to offer customers the opportunity to book timed slots in advance and virtual queuing in shops once lockdown ends.

More than 900 Click & Collect locations will be available across the UK, and customers can also collect their Click & Collect orders from 15 Waitrose and 16 John Lewis car parks where they can simply stay in their car while a Partner brings their purchases out to them.

John Lewis executive director Pippa Wicks said: "We're excited to reopen our shops in England and we're looking forward to welcoming back our customers to help them make this Christmas extra special." 

Update #8122 - 11.09 Gloucester based insurer renews partnership with children's charity

Ageas Insurance, which has an office at Gloucester Business Park, has announced a year-long extension of its partnership with charity Rays of Sunshine.

The partnership, which launched in January 2020, has raised an impressive £23,500 already and its continuation will ensure the children's charity can continue to brighten the lives of seriously ill children by granting magical wishes and providing ongoing support within hospitals throughout 2021.

Throughout the partnership, Ageas said its employees have shown unwavering commitment to supporting the charity even in spite of the restrictions during lockdown. From sponsored beard shaves and hosting virtual bingo sessions, to taking on personal challenges, the business said Ageas staff have continued to support the charity through new and innovative ways.

SEE MORE  

Update #8121 - 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 57,031 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 498 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 17,555 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours and 1,574,562 since the outbreak began.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county sits at 7,509 as of Thursday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 469 - an increase of four on the day before.

Cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 2,046 cases (increase of 46)

Cheltenham - 1,485 cases (increase of 18)

Stroud - 1,329 cases (increase of 20)

Tewkesbury - 939 cases (increase of 14)

Cotswolds - 937 cases (increase of five)

Forest of Dean - 773 cases (increase of 11)

Thursday, November 26

Update #8120 - 15.05 Supermarkets stretching festive opening hours

Sainsbury's and Tesco are following the example of Aldi and Waitrose by extending opening in the run-up to Christmas.

The majority of Sainsbury's stores will open from 6am to midnight from December 21-23.

Tesco is believed to be planning 24 hour opening at more than 300 of its larger outlets from December 14 to Christmas Eve with other outlets opening earlier at 5am until 11pm.

Morrisons are also expected to announced longer hours in the coming days.

Update #8119 -13.00 Pub chain reports huge loss for the last year

Mitchells & Butlers, which operates a string of pubs across Gloucestershire, has reported a pre-tax loss of £123million for the last year.

The news comes as bossed from many of the country's top pub groups and brewers have written to the Prime Minister asking for help in their "darkest of moments".

M&B, which owns the All Bar One, Harvester and Toby Carvery brands, said it had cut 1,300 jobs in the period which saw the loss in the 12 months to September 26.

READ MORE 

Update #8118 - 12.58 AA agrees £219m takeover deal

The AA has agreed to a £219m takeover with the new owners pledging to inject extra cash into the iconic brand.

A consortium of private equity groups Towerbrook and Warburg Pincus will take control of the company in a deal that is likely to complete early in 2021.

A statement from the AA said the Consortium recognised the core strengths of the AA lie in its iconic brand, market-leading positions, and skilled and committed workforce.

SEE MORE 

Update #8117 - 11.49 Profits fall nearly £100m at Babcock

Aerospace and defence firm Babcock International has revealed a drop in pretax profits of nearly £100 million in its latest half year results.

The business has posted financial results showing profits for the six months to the end of September of £52.8m, a steep decline from the £152m in 2019. Revenue also fell from £2.19 billion to £2.10billion.

READ MORE  

Update #8116 - 11.32 Co-op looks to take on apprenticeships

Co-op is opening talks which could see it take on hundreds of new apprenticeships.

The company is joining the National Apprenticeship Service, National Society of Apprentices and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development to discuss a report commissioned by the Co-op group.

The report found retail apprentices have fallen by around 25 per cent in the last five years with Co-op pledging to create new roles in both its retail and funeral divisions.

Chief executive Steve Murrells said: "We want to help address how the national programme can better accommodate different needs, business to business, apprentice to apprentice."

Punchline Skills, Apprenticeships & Careers 

Update #8115 - 11.28 Brakes remain on UK car production

The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a major impact on the British car industry with production down 18.2 per cent on October.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed 110,179 came off assembly lines last month, taking the total for the year to date to 743,003 - down a third on last year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "These figures are yet more bad news for an industry battered by Covid, Brexit and, now, the unprecedented challenge of a complete shift to electrified vehicles in under a decade."

Update #8114 - 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 56,533 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 696 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 18,213 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours and 1,557,007 since the outbreak began.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county sits at 7,395 as of Tuesday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 465 - an increase of five on the day before.

Cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 2,000 cases (increase of 21)

Cheltenham - 1,467 cases (increase of 20)

Stroud - 1,309 cases (increase of 17)

Tewkesbury - 925 cases (increase of 14)

Cotswolds - 932 cases (increase of five)

Forest of Dean - 762 cases (increase of 10) 

Wednesday, November 25

Update #8113 - 15.14 Eat Out scheme discounted 160 million meals

August's Eat Out to Help Out scheme served up 160 million discounted meals according to official figures.

And HMRC said businesses which took part in the government initiative claimed back £849million for the meals.

Pubs accounted for 28 per cent of the claims with restaurants making 55 per cent with an average discount of £5.24 for each meal.

Chains with more than 25 outlets served up 34 per cent of the discounted meals and claimed 27 per cent of the final amount.

Update #8112 - 12.52 Homelessness charity announces partnership with Hermes

National homelessness charity Emmaus, which has a regional community in Gloucestershire, has partnered with Hermes UK to help increase its offering to people who have experienced homelessness.

Funds raised by the consumer delivery company will be used across the UK to expand the services the charity is able to offer.

As a corporate partner, Hermes will aim to raise a minimum of £100k for Emmaus through fundraising activities with clients and employees.

The business is also exploring other ways to support the charity, including running technology and interview training workshops, donating items for people and providing valuable work experience and placements to the formerly homeless people Emmaus supports, known as companions.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #8111 - 12.41 Virgin Money's profits plummet

Lender Virgin Money has revealed a fall in annual profits, blamed on the effects of the pandemic.

The business said profits had fallen 77 per cent to £124 million in the last year.

It added that it has taken a £501million impairment charge against an expected surge in bad loans as businesses struggle to deal with the effects of the virus. Its 'substantial' charge for loan losses will help the group prepare for a surge of borrowers falling behind with repayments.

David Duffy, chief executive of Virgin Money, said: "Although the vaccine news is a strong cause of hope for the future, the economic benefits are still some way off when considering the immediate reality of current restrictions and so have not yet been factored into our near-term forecasts." 

Update #8110 - 12.28 Patisserie Valerie reveals new Sainsbury's partnership

Café chain Patisserie Valerie has announced plans to retail its cakes and pastries in 250 Sainsbury's stores starting next week.

As reported by the Telegraph, the French-inspired chain will offer 14 of its best selling products in the grocers stores from next Wednesday.

Patisserie Valerie chief executive James Fleming said: "Both Patisserie Valerie and Sainsbury's are brands that are much loved and trusted by UK consumers.

"In bringing our range exclusively into Sainsbury's stores and online to their customers, we are excited to build on that trust with our high quality, handmade cakes and patisserie". 

Update #8109 - 11.46 Little festive cheer in Christmas plans for pubs

Proposed changes to coronavirus restrictions for Christmas have been labelled a mockery by the British Beer & Pub Association.

The Government last night announced bubbles of three households will be allowed from December 23-27, but that group will not be allowed to go out to pubs and restaurants.

While people will be allowed to meet at hospitality venues, they will only be allowed to do so in line with the local rules allowed by the tier system at the time.

READ MORE 

Update #8108 - 10.19 Sales up 25 percent at Furniture Village

The furniture retailer has revealed a sales boom over recent months, as it looks to expand its store network.

Despite temporary closures and losses due to the coronavirus lockdown, Furniture Village reported a 25 per cent year-on-year sales increase. This jump was aided by a rise in online sales.

Furniture Village said it had created 150 new jobs to cope with the online demand and plans to open two new stores on Boxing Day in Leicester and Crawley, its first new sites since 2017.

Charlie Harrison, commercial director said: "It's been a challenging year for everyone in the retail sector, but as a business we've spent the last nine months ensuring we can continue to offer the best of the best, in terms of product range and quality, as well as service." 

Update #8107 - 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 55,838 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 608 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 11,299 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours and 1,538,794 since the outbreak began.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county sits at 7,308 as of Tuesday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 460 - an increase of seven on the day before.

Cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 1,979 cases (increase of 36)

Cheltenham - 1,447 cases (increase of 18)

Stroud - 1,292 cases (increase of 15)

Tewkesbury - 911 cases (increase of 15)

Cotswolds - 927 cases (increase of five)

Forest of Dean - 752 cases (increase of eight) 

Tuesday, November 24 

Update #8106 - 16.45 IKEA find optimism among drop in profits

The owners of IKEA saw profits fall by almost a third in the year to the end of August, but predicted a recovery in the next 12 months.

Ingka Group, which also operates shopping malls, said operating profit was down 29 per cent to 1.43 billion euro as sales at IKEA's 378 shops and online fell four per cent to 35.2 billion euro.

Chief financial officer Juvencio Maeztu told Reuters: "Overall, if you take out the Covid-19 impact we see good performance across all markets."

Update #8105 - 12.51 Javelin Park fight will go on insists pressure group

Environmental group Community R4C has vowed to continue its legal fight against the Javelin Park waste incinerator, despite losing its latest challenge to Gloucestershire County Council.

As reported last week, the group saw its latest bid to appeal a High Court decision over the awarding of the contract rejected by the Court of Appeal.

The contract was awarded to Urbaser Balfour Beatty but Community R4C said it had been working on a proposal for cheaper, greener processing plant while the council argued it undertook a legal tender process.

An original legal challenge against the contract was rejected in July.

Community R4C director Tom Jarman said: "We will continue to challenge this contract on the grounds of unfair competition and breach of state aid laws."

Update #8104 - 12.43 Tests could more than halve quarantine

Quarantine for people arriving in England from overseas could be more than halved if travellers pay for a Covid test.

Anyone arriving from a country not on the Government's list of travel corridors has to self-isolate for 14 days.

But that could be cut to as low as six days if they pay £65-120 for a test after five days with the results available within 24 and 48 hours.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the scheme, which will be introduced from December 15, would "bolster international travel while keeping the public safe".

Update #8103 - 12.16 Pets at Homes enjoys lockdown pet boom

A boom in the number of people buying puppies during lockdown head head to a surge in sales for pet supplies retailer Pets at Home.

The business today posted a 5.1 per cent rise in sales to £574.4 million for the 28 weeks to October 8.

Pre-tax profits also increased by 14.4 per cent to £38.9 million during the period.

Peter Pritchard, group chief executive officer at Pets at Home said: "In spite of the ongoing and wide-ranging impact of COVID-19, there is much to be optimistic about.

"The market in which we operate remains resilient, with recent changes to our work and leisure patterns supporting rising levels of pet ownership, a good proxy for future growth in both the underlying market and our business." 

Update #8102 - 12.05 JD Sports emerges as front runner to buy Debenhams

The future of troubled retailer Debenhams could become clearer amid reports that JD Sports is in talks over a deal to rescue the business from administration.

The Times reported the sportswear specialist is looking at buying the entire Debenhams business.

Any deal would apparently include Debenhams online operation as well as its high street shops which has 124 shops, including one in Gloucester, and around 12,000 staff.

SEE MORE  

Update #8101 - 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 55,230 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 206 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 15,450 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours and 1,527,495 since the outbreak began.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county sits at 7,211 as of Sunday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 453 - an increase of five on the day before.

Cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 1,943 cases (increase of 30)

Cheltenham - 1,429 cases (increase of 16)

Stroud - 1,277 cases (increase of 22)

Tewkesbury - 896 cases (increase of 12)

Cotswolds - 922 cases (increase of four)

Forest of Dean - 744 cases (increase of 10)

Monday, November 23

Update #8100 - 12.03 Hospitality sector being 'made a scapegoat', says Tom Kerridge

Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge claims the hospitality industry is being made "a bit of a scapegoat" in its treatment by the Government during the pandemic.

Speaking to Sky News, the celebrity chef, who was brought up in Gloucester, said: "Each hospitality business in the industry operates very differently and that's why we find it very frustrating that it kind of gets blanket bans up and down the country.

SEE MORE 

Update #8099 - 11.51 Oxford University breakthrough on global COVID-19 vaccine

The coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford stops 70 per cent of people developing Covid symptoms, it was announced today.

But data suggests that perfecting the dose could increase protection up to 90%.

Although Pfizer and Moderna results show 95 per cent protection, the Oxford jab is far cheaper, and is easier to store and get to every corner of the world than the other two.

If approved by regulators, it is likely to play a significant role in tackling the pandemic.

READ MORE 

Update #8098 - 10.13 PM to make end of lockdown rules announcement this afternoon

Boris Johnson is expected to give further details this afternoon about what will happen, and which restrictions will be enforced when England's lockdown ends on December 2.

It is reported that the three-tier system that was in place before lockdown will be re-introduced and strengthened, but some measures will be relaxed.

Expected announcements from the PM include:

  • Gyms and non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen in all areas
  • Relaxation of the 10pm closing time for pubs and restaurants, with last orders at 10pm but customers have an extra hour before closing.
  • The lifting of bans on outdoor grassroots sports
  • Mass testing to be introduced in areas in the highest tier

The PM is also expected to make an announcement for measures over the Christmas period on Thursday, moved from today due to a delay in national plans being agreed.

Update #8097 - 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 released yesterday show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 55,024 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 398 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 18,662 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours and 1,512,045 since the outbreak began.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county sits at 7,117 as of Sunday afternoon. The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 448.

Cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 1,913 cases

Cheltenham - 1,413 cases

Stroud - 1,255 cases

Tewkesbury - 884 cases

Cotswolds - 918 cases

Forest of Dean - 734 cases

Related Articles

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, January 22 Image

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, January 22

The latest important news and updates from across Gloucestershire as the coronavirus crisis continues.

Long arm of the law should receive spare vaccines says PCC Image

Long arm of the law should receive spare vaccines says PCC

Gloucestershire's Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl has called for officers to be given any doses of the coronavirus vaccine left over at the end of each day.

Law firm advises Hartpury University and College on student accommodation expansion Image

Law firm advises Hartpury University and College on student accommodation expansion

National law firm Irwin Mitchell's Real Estate Division has advised Hartpury University and Hartpury College on their student accommodation expansion plans, in a deal worth around £17.5 million.

Cirencester court heading into session to clear backlog Image

Cirencester court heading into session to clear backlog

Cirencester Courthouse will hear its first cases on Monday after being reopened in an attempt to ease the backlog created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Copyright 2021 Moose Partnership Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any content is strictly forbidden without prior permission.