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Starbucks' UK losses plummet to almost £10m – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

12 July 2010
Starbucks' UK losses plummet to almost £10m – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Starbucks' UK losses plummet to almost £10m

The economic downturn and competition from rival Costa Coffee deepened the UK losses of coffee chain Starbucks to £9.9m in the year to September 2009, compared with a pre-tax loss of £1.9m in the previous year. The tough trading climate in Western Europe was predicted last year by Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz, who said: "Unemployment, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and I think consumer confidence, particularly in the UK, is very, very poor." However, a spokesperson for Starbucks said that heavy investment was paying off in terms of a record number of customers and a return to solid sales growth. The group has put aside £24m this year to continue refurbishing its UK stores. It is also focused on rolling out free Wi-Fi, sourcing Fairtrade coffee for its espresso-based drinks, and experimenting with an instant coffee brand to fight off competition from JD Wetherspoon and McDonald's. Starbucks also expects to have 30 outlets operating in Welcome Break motorway service stations by the end of the summer. - 10 July

Read the full article in the Guardian >>

Cliveden plans special Profumo scandal tour this month

Top Buckinghamshire country house hotel Cliveden is to hold a special "scandal tour" on 30 July to commemorate the Profumo affair that rocked the Harold Macmillan Conservative government in the 1960s. It was at Cliveden that war minister Jack Profumo first met 19-year-old Christine Keeler and began an affair. Keeler, however, was also involved with a naval attaché at the Soviet Embassy and Profumo resigned in 1963 after lying about the relationship in the House of Commons. Profumo, who died in 2006 aged 91, spent the rest of his life working for a charity in London's East End, work that won him a CBE in 1975. Cliveden's Profumo package, which will cost two people £500 for the night at the National Trust property, will include a talk by Profumo affair expert Rupert Gavin. - 11 July

Read the full article in the Independent on Sunday >>

Nearly 50% of consumers cut back on eating out and pubs, finds survey

Consumers are cutting back on spending amidst fears that the economy will worsen and that interest rates will rise in the months ahead. A survey of 1,000 people in June by GfK NOP revealed that nearly half of Britons are cutting down on eating out and going to the pub, two-fifths will cut back on household purchases such as furniture and electrical goods, and many have stopped using their credit cards. "It is ironic that a reduction in consumer spending - driven by economic uncertainty - could bring about the thing people are most concerned about: a dip back in to recession," said Ivan Browne, the director of GfK. - 11 July

Read the full article in the Independent on Sunday >>

Doctors demand radical curbs on junk food

Leading doctors have called on the Government to slap "fat taxes" on junk food and warn children that eating an unhealthy diet is as damaging as smoking and binge-drinking to tackle spiraling levels of child obesity that can trigger diabetes and heart disease. They also want to ban fast-food outlets from opening near schools and hospitals; to limit the advertising and placement of foods high in fat, salt and sugar; to limit the sponsorship of sporting events by firms such as McDonald's; and to stop fast-food chains offering enticements such as toys and mobile phone credits to young customers. Their demands follow health minister Andrew Lansley's announcement that crisp and confectionery makers will play a central role in its Change4Life campaign to promote healthy eating in exchange for relaxing public health regulations on the firms. "We need to create a new vision for public health where all of society works together to get healthy and live longer. This includes creating a new ‘responsibility deal' with business, built on social responsibility, not state regulation. Later this year, we will publish a white paper setting out exactly how we will achieve this," said a spokesperson for the Department of Health. - 11 July

Read the full article in the Observer >>

VisitScotland promotes staycations to offset future volcanic ash mayhem

New VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay is urging the £4b Scottish tourism industry to make the most of the "staycation" and "close" markets to offset the likelihood of more disruptions to foreign flights from volcanic ash cloud. "The whole country needs to get behind the idea that holidaying in Scotland is a good thing to do. It's a good time for the industry to be looking at their databases to be making hay of the "staycation" phenomenon. I'm not saying you should use scare tactics [to remind Scots of the risks of flying abroad] but it's an opportunity to tell people that it's a safer bet to be in Scotland this year," said Cantley. VisitScotland's £5m marketing campaign includes the £2m "Perfect Day" campaign aimed at 36 million people across the UK; the £250,000 "So Close To Home" initiative - its first aimed solely at Scotland; and a £1.25m European touring campaign targeting Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands. Trips to Scotland grew by 28% in March (compared with an average 9% across the UK) and VisitScotland's £1.3m Winter White campaign generated more than £66m in extra revenue. - 11 July

Read the full article in the Sunday Herald >>

Birmingham council approves £7m Travelodge

The green light has been given for a £7m Travelodge hotel to be built in an under-utilised area in the heart of Birmingham. The 88-bedroom hotel, which will be co-located with a Tesco Express retail store, will be developed on the former Marks and Spencer car park at Carrs Lane. The scheme will be developed by Realis Estates while the architectural work will be carried out by the Harris Partnership, Mike Davies, real estate and planning director for Drivers Jonas Deloitte, which secured the planning, said the rise of the staycation was driving demand for good-quality hotels in city centres. "Work is due to start on this key strategic site in the heart of Birmingham's retail centre in the next couple of months, with delivery planned in September 2011," he added. - 9 July

Read the full article in the Birmingham Post >>

By Angela Frewin

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