Total Business Magazine

This Week’s 5 Must-Read Stories You May Have Missed

M&S and Ocado announce $750 million food delivery partnership, Britbox is launched by ITV and BBC and Ride Sharing giant Lyft announce share option for its drivers.

We caught up with our columnist, business transformation expert, author of The Interim Revolution and founder and CEO of Sullivan and Stanley, Pat Lynes, to discuss the biggest news stories you wouldn’t have wanted to miss last week.

1. Amazon opening grocery stores across the US

In their continuing quest for world domination, Amazon is looking at expanding their growing supermarket portfolio. They have their eyes on rolling out new stores in Seattle, Chicago, San Fran, Washington DC and Philadelphia, sources have mentioned.

Their intentions have been pretty clear that this is the space they want to play in, following their purchase of Whole Foods last year for 13.7 billion in 2017.

The stalwart of the supermarket industry Walmart has no doubt seen this coming for some time and are responding with pick up services at 3,000 of its stores by the start of next year. This looks like it is going to be a battleground for the foreseeable future.

2. M&S and Ocado agree on food delivery deal with Ocado worth £750 million

This was the big story on Friday and its been brewing for some time. Marks and Spencer announced that they will buy a 50% stake (worth £750 million) in the powered joint venture.

M&S stocks took a bit of a hit following the announcement, but CEO Steve Rowe believes that the partnership with Ocado was the only way to get M&S food to more shoppers.

“This is not about the short term. This is about the transformation of Marks & Spencer [and] the transformation of online grocery shopping in the UK.”

The deal can’t kick off until September 2020 when Ocado’s current deal with Waitrose expires.

3. BBC and ITV launch ‘Britbox’ to rival Netflix

Another industry that is seeing the competition heating up in the UK is online streaming services. A joint venture between the BBC and ITV will see the launch of Britbox, a UK focussed streaming service looking to challenge the American behemoth Netflix on home soil.

Britbox will be a collection of old favourites as well as some new British commissions and there’s a chance some of the other networks including Channel 4 could join the party later in the year.

Britbox is already kicked off in the US with over 500,000 subscribers tuning in, but the UK launch will be focused on the British audience specifically, with the intention that it won’t be competing directly with globally focussed Netflix.

It’s good to see some of these established broadcasters who have seen their industry disrupted in such a big way the last few years, innovating and experimenting with their own offerings.

4. London State School introduce four-and-a-half day working week

Despite the business world in a constant state of flux and disruption, the education system hasn’t seen a great deal of change. A highly ranked East London state school is looking to mix things up by moving to a four-and-a-half day working week with students and teachers having the chance to knock off at midday every Friday.

It comes after a New Zealand Financial Services company Perpetual Guardian, saw a 20% boost in productivity after moving to the shorter week. The school has taken notice, and on the back of teacher retention and recruitment problems and rising pupil numbers has adjusted its standard working week.

The school will remain open until 5pm on Friday’s with supervised study and talks from guest speakers an option. Simon Elliot, executive head of Forest Gate Community School, recognised they can’t rest on their laurels despite being one of the most highly ranked schools in the country.

“We are confident that the introduction of a shorter timetable will not impact on our capacity to continue to achieve among the very best results in the country. On the contrary, we believe happier, less stressed staff who feel valued will help create the type of learning environment to improve productivity.”

5. Lyft and potentially Uber are poised to offer drivers stock in their upcoming IPOs

Ride-sharing giant Lyft has beaten Uber to the punch by filing for IPO on Friday. While that news in itself is significant, what came out of it was a really interesting benefit – that it would offer their drivers cash bonuses up to $100,000 who could then put that towards stock in the company.

Considering the drivers are absolutely crucial to the companies business model, this seems like a great way to reward their very best contractors. As they are the first in this new industry to go public, it sets a precedent for Uber who are expected to file for IPO this year as well.

The gig economy is new territory for so many and options like this is a great bar to set for the industry. Let’s hope Uber follows suit in their upcoming IPO.

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