The adventures of Cuthbert the Caterpillar and the backlash following the European Super League announcement are just two of the big commercial news stories this week. But how can you analyse these stories with a commercial mindset? Remember, there are various techniques (eg, PESTLE), which will help you on your way – read the summaries of this week’s news story picks below.

  • Marks & Spencer launched legal action against Aldi at the end of last week, accusing the supermarket chain of infringing its Colin the Caterpillar trademark with its Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake. An IP claim was lodged with the High Court. M&S requested that Aldi remove the product from sale after suggesting that it “rides on the coat-tails” of M&S’s reputation. Aldi’s caterpillar cake was not being sold in shops from February, but the supermarket has since released a limited-edition charity version of the cake, raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support. In a Twitter thread in which Aldi announced the idea, M&S hit back at the supermarket chain saying that while they loved a charity idea, Aldi should use its own character, “#kevinthecarrotcake”.
  • Breakaway football competition the European Super League, which would rival (and potentially replace) the existing Champions League competition, saw 12 of Europe’s biggest clubs reveal their decision to be involved over the weekend, with the hope that the new league would “commence as soon as practicable”. The announcement was met with considerable backlash on Sunday with one Italian newspaper describing it as a “bonfire of greed”. Since then all six English clubs who had initially agreed to the proposals, including Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham, have now withdrawn from the tournament-style competition; Manchester United’s executive vice-chair Ed Woodward stepped down from his position in response to the European Super League fallout.
  • Leading world banks, including Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest, have committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner as part of a new scheme (the Net-Zero Banking Alliance) to tackle climate change. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s finance adviser for COP26, Mark Carney, said: “This is the breakthrough in mainstreaming climate finance the world needs.”
  • Changes to the Financial Services Bill as part of a post-Brexit law change, according to ministers, mean customers will soon be able to get cashback from corner shops, pubs and cafes without having to purchase anything first. The amendment will come into “effect two months after royal assent”, Cabinet Office Minister Lord True revealed.

    He added: “The government’s view is that cashback without a purchase has the potential to be a valuable facility to cash users and to play an important role in the UK’s cash infrastructure.”

  • Primark owner Associated British Foods (ABF) is set to return £121 million from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to taxpayers following “record sales in England and Wales”. The high-street retailer has reported a strong performance as non-essential shops reopened after lockdown restrictions eased earlier this month.
  • A new London Spitalfields-based Amazon Salon will soon be open to the public, offering services such as cut and blow dries, with plans for the group to lead the way in testing augmented reality (AR) hair consultations and point-and-learn technology. Amazon’s UK Manager John Boumphrey said: “We want this unique venue to bring us one step closer to customers, and it will be a place where we can collaborate with the industry and test new technologies.”

Meanwhile, following the launch of Amazon’s first physical “checkout-free” UK grocery store, Amazon Fresh, in Ealing earlier this year, two more stores in Wembley Park and White City are also now up and running. With the rollout of these physical stores across Greater London set to continue, Amazon could rival the Co-op to become the UK’s sixth largest grocer, according to data from technology consultancy TWC. Development manager at TWC Tom Fender said: “Their online platform may not impress Gen Z but their food to go and delivery solutions are sure to be winning hearts and minds in this consumer cohort.”

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