Month: September 2023

Large Businesses invest £1 in every five to attract ‘active leisure’ tourism

19 September 2023: Large businesses in the UK are feeling buoyant about the economy, with more than three-quarters (76 per cent) optimistic about their own prospects, and 59 per cent feeling positive about the wider UK economy. In contrast, less than a fifth (19 per cent) felt pessimistic. This is according to data from the first Barclays Business Barometer focused on large businesses, which measures the UK corporate business environment in the hospitality and leisure, retail and manufacturing industries1.

This optimism is driven, in part, by the rise in ‘active leisure’ tourism: tourism which is driven primarily by physical activities, such as cycling, running or walking holidays. 65 per cent of business leaders surveyed said these types of trips have surged in popularity in recent years, with more than seven in ten (71 per cent) hospitality businesses seeing an increase in ‘foot’-traffic due to active leisure.

As a result, business revenues this quarter are expected to increase 21 per cent year-on-year – an increase of around £14.9m in revenues per business surveyed on average – with more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of UK corporates planning high levels of investment over the next 12 months.

In fact, the average

Google ready to remove Canadian news links over the Online News Act

News stories published by Canadian media outlets will soon disappear from Google search results, the digital giant warned Thursday as it revealed its planned response to the Liberals’ online news law.

The California-based company also said it would end existing deals with local news publishers over the newly passed legislation, which will force global tech players to compensate Canadian outlets for content they share or otherwise repurpose on their platforms.

Google did not say exactly when the changes will happen, but it will be before the Online News Act, formerly known as Bill C-18, comes into force by the end of this year.

The company said the block, which will also involve links on Google News and Google Discover, will apply only to Canadian publishers. Canadian users will still be able to find news produced by international outlets such as the BBC, the New York Times and Fox News.

The company said it will also end Google News Showcase in Canada, a product it uses to license news from over 150 local publishers. Those existing deals will stay in place until the change happens later this year.

“Once the law takes effect, we wouldn’t anticipate continuing the agreements,” said Kent Walker, president of global affairs for Google and its parent company Alphabet, in an interview Thursday.

“We won’t have a news product to be able to feature, (and) the agreements are premised on the ability to showcase Canadian news.”

Walker said he told Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez of the decision in a letter sent early Thursday morning.

Rodriguez said Thursday that Google made an “irresponsible” decision.

Walker said Google has begun briefing federal, provincial and regional authorities “just to make sure they’re aware of all the Google tools at their disposal to get the word out as they need

US Business Outlook in China Sinks, Firms Looking at SE Asia


Optimism among US companies in China about the business outlook in the country for coming years has sunk to a record low.

An annual survey by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Shanghai, which was released on Tuesday, found that geopolitics and the slowing economy have eroded confidence and fuelled pessimism.

Even after the ending of Covid curbs, which weighed heavily on both revenues and sentiment in 2022, the percentage of surveyed US firms optimistic about the five-year China business outlook fell to 52%.

This was the lowest level reported since the AmCham Shanghai Annual China Business Report was first introduced in 1999.


ALSO SEE: China Must Change Course, For Its Own Sake And World’s: IMF


“Frankly, if there was one thing that surprised me about the survey this year it was that number,” AmCham Shanghai chairman Sean Stein said.

“By the time we did this year’s survey a lot of the illusions had fallen away that we would see a sustained rebound in economic growth (post-Covid).”


Geopolitics cited as top challenge

Geopolitics remained a major concern for many firms, with US-China tensions cited as a top business challenge by 60% of the survey’s 325 respondents, equal to the number who pointed to China’s economic slowdown as a top challenge.

Concern over the transparency of China’s regulatory environment also grew, with one third reporting that policies and regulations towards foreign companies had worsened in the past year, though many respondents pointed to US government policy rather than China’s when asked about pressure to decouple.

Companies have been at the centre of deteriorating relations between the two countries for several years. China has criticised US efforts to block China’s access to advanced technology and US firms have expressed concern about fines, raids and other actions that make doing business

Burglars break into 4 Pikesville businesses

Burglars smashed windows at four Pikesville businesses early Monday morning.Baltimore County police told 11 News that burglars broke into the businesses at the Woodholme Center and tried to take cash from the registers. Investigators have not said how much money was stolen.Employees found damage when they arrived for work. Photos shared with 11 News from a neighbor showed the extent of the damage.Plywood has since replaced the glass windows at the Kwik Way Japanese Hibachi Restaurant, the Tropical Smoothie Café, Le’s Nail Bar and Cold Stone Creamery.”When I come in and see the window cracked, see the police and the yellow line, I was shocked and surprised,” said an employee of one of the businesses who asked to remain anonymous.Arlene Klaff, a shopper, told 11 News she brings her dog, Lizzie, to the shopping center every day and that the dog loves to look into the shop windows. Klaff said she’s upset anyone would do this.”I think it’s ridiculous, terrible and I can’t believe that it’s happening,” Klaff said. “I walk here all the time with my little doggie and we have a good time and it’s so much fun, and all of a sudden yesterday, I came here (and) there was glass everywhere, they had police everywhere, and it was incredible. And, I just don’t understand this. I don’t understand people anymore.”Brian Griffin, of Pikesville, shared with 11 News a text message he received from his girlfriend immediately after she arrived at work. He came right over to make sure she was OK.”I’m so scared,” Griffin said. “I was in shock, I guess you could say. There was just a lot of glass everywhere and a lot of cops. It was a lot.”Workers at the stores said no one was hurt as the burglaries took place after business hours. …

Disney is expanding its investment into theme parks and cruises

New York

Disney is greatly expanding its investment into theme parks and cruises, the company said Tuesday.

Over the next 10 years, it will pour $60 billion into its Disney Parks, Experiences and Products segment, according to an SEC filing which coincided with its investor summit taking place this week. That’s about twice what it spent in the most recent 10-year period.

The investment comes at a time the company is facing revenue challenges in its streaming services, movie and television assets — almost everywhere but its international theme parks.

Parks are a powerful growth engine for the company, which says the expansion should help it reach a multitude of Disney fans who aren’t already visitors. But competition is fierce, and fans might be growing impatient with what they see as Disney’s disappointingly slow-moving park strategy.

NBCUniversal’s Universal Epic Universe is slated to open in Orlando, Florida in 2025. The theme park, which was announced in 2019, is set to include restaurants, hotels and, of course, rides. It will become the third theme park within the Universal Orlando Resort, stepping up its rivalry with Walt Disney World’s four theme parks.

Construction of Universal's Epic Universe theme park, seen along Destination Parkway, on Aug. 16, 2022, in Orlando, Florida.

With the much-anticipated park under construction, Disney’s vague 10-year plan feels underwhelming, noted Alicia Stella, who runs the theme park blog Orlando Park Stop.

“Especially here in Orlando, I think a lot of theme park fans are excited for,” the new Universal park, she said. With Disney, fans are wondering, “when will we see something new? Will it be five years, six years from now?”

The announcement also failed to impress Wall Street. Disney slumped about 3% during trading hours Tuesday.

Disney said Tuesday that it is focused on “expanding and enhancing” its theme parks, in the US and internationally, along with its cruise lines. The company has

Small businesses raise the alarm about rising prices | Breaking News

(The Center Square) – A new survey found that small business owners are feeling less optimistic about the economy and are concerned about rising inflation.

The recently released National Federation of Independent Business report showed that small business owners’ economic optimism has declined and that more small business owners cite inflation as their top concern more than any other issue.

The NFIB’s economic optimism index fell to 91.3, “the 20th consecutive month below the 49-year average of 98.” The survey also found that nearly a quarter of small business owners cite inflation as their top concern, beating out labor shortages, the supply chain, and other issues.

“Small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months deteriorated seven points from July to a net negative 37%, however, 24 percentage points better than last June’s reading of a net negative 61% but still at recession levels,” NFIB said.

This survey comes as the latest federal inflation data shows inflation spiked more than expected in the month of August. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released both its Consumer Price Index and its Producer Price Index, key markers of inflation, which showed increases of 0.6% and 0.7% in August alone.

“Over 60% of the August rise in the index for final demand goods can be traced to prices for gasoline, which jumped 20%,” BLS said. “The indexes for diesel fuel, jet fuel, home heating oil, beverages and beverage materials, and iron and steel scrap also moved higher. Conversely, prices for fresh and dry vegetables fell 11.5%. The indexes for residential electric power and for industrial chemicals also decreased.”

Those increases are major spikes, ending an encouraging trend of lower inflation so far this year.

A rise in gas prices was a major source of the price increases in August.


Foreign firms in China say vague rules and tensions with Washington hurting business, surveys show

Foreign companies operating in China say tensions with Washington over technology, trade and other issues and uncertainty over Chinese policies are damaging the business environment and causing some to reassess their plans for investing in the giant market.

The results of surveys released Tuesday by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China largely concurred in appealing for greater certainty and clarity over China’s stance toward foreign businesses.

“For decades, European companies thrived in China, benefitting from a stable and efficient business environment. However, after the turbulent past three years, many have reevaluated their basic assumptions about the Chinese market,” Jens Eskelund, the EU Chamber’s president said, in a letter that accompanied the report.

Eskelund said that predictability and reliability had been undermined by “erratic policy shifts,” hurting confidence in China’s growth prospects.

“At the top of a growing list of questions about the Chinese market is, what kind of relationship does China want to have with foreign enterprises?” he said.

The Shanghai AmCham’s survey showed a continued downgrading of China’s importance as an overseas destination for investment, even though two-thirds of the 325 companies responding said they had no immediate plans to change their China strategy.

Just over one in five of the companies surveyed said they were decreasing their investment in China this year, with the top reason being uncertainty about the U.S.-China trade relationship, followed by expectations of slower growth in China, it said.

Overall, the survey showed sentiment worsened from last year, when companies were embroiled in disruptions from “zero-COVID” policies that caused parts of entire cities, transport networks and travel to be shut down, sometimes for weeks at a time.

Such disruptions were a major “push factor” that companies cited in expanding their operations outside China,

U.S. business optimism about China outlook falls to record low – survey

Illustration shows U.S. and Chinese flags

U.S. and Chinese flags are seen in this illustration taken Jan. 30, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

SHANGHAI, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Political tensions and a slowing economy are sapping the confidence of U.S. businesses operating in China, with the number of companies optimistic about their five-year outlook falling to a record low, a survey published on Tuesday showed.

Even after the ending of COVID curbs, which weighed heavily on revenues and sentiment in 2022, the percentage of surveyed U.S. firms optimistic about the five-year China business outlook fell to 52%, according to the annual survey published by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Shanghai.

This was the lowest level of optimism reported since the AmCham Shanghai Annual China Business Report was first introduced in 1999.

“Frankly, if there was one thing that surprised me about the survey this year it was that number,” said AmCham Shanghai Chairman, Sean Stein. “By the time we did this year’s survey a lot of the illusions had fallen away that we would see a sustained rebound in economic growth (post-COVID).”

Tensions between major world powers remained a concern for many companies, with U.S.-China tensions cited as a top business challenge by 60% of the survey’s 325 respondents, equal to the number who pointed to China’s economic slowdown as a significant challenge.

Unease about the transparency of China’s regulatory environment also rose, with one third reporting that policies and regulations towards foreign companies had worsened in the past year, although many respondents pointed to U.S. government policy rather than China’s when asked about pressure to decouple.

The European Union Chamber of Commerce’s European Business in China position paper, released later on Tuesday, outlined how European companies are already struggling with competing requests from Chinese and Western customers to produce goods containing

Female business owner named top Alabama retailer

Some WVTM 13 viewers may remember Aisha Taylor – she was one of the women business owners we featured in the middle of the pandemic, back in 2021 just as she opened the doors to her brand-new menswear store in downtown Birmingham. This morning she had another emotional day as she was officially recognized as the 2023 Gee Emerging Retailer of the Year by the Alabama Retail Association.“To be honest I cried,” Taylor said. “It was almost so unbelievable, but I’m so excited.”The association is honoring a dozen businesses in 13 Alabama cities, including Taylor and her boutique Bridge + Root. It’s an unexpected honor for a woman whose career in retail began as a teenager. She would later branch out to fashion merchandising, buying and men’s wear styling. Her entrepreneurial journey is coming decades later.“So, one thing about me; I don’t let fear stop me,” Taylor said. Taylor, a University of Alabama graduate, started her business during one ofthe scariest times in human history.“It was during COVID when I signed my lease. I just took a leap of faith and said it’s time,” Taylor said. “I transitioned from retail management to my own because I wanted to spend more time with my children, to have a bit more time to spend time with family.”With newfound freedom to work on her own terms, she flourished. Even as she realized being your own boss requires a lot of role-playing.“ You are marketing. You are packaging. You are the consultant. You’re answering the phone. You’re everything,” she said.And it takes a lot of money to stay afloat. Like many Black women business owners, she has had trouble securing capital.“When you step out on your own you realize you may have enough money to start, but you have to have enough money to …

‘It’s fun, but it’s also deadly serious’

Business: Herrick Lake Investments

Address: 1155 S. Washington St., Naperville

Phone/website: 630-581-8119,

Owner: Mark D. Hines, 46, of Naperville

Years in business: Two

What do you do? “Two things. One, investment management. People who want help managing their investment accounts. Retirement savings. College savings. Those type of things. Two is investment research. This is more for do-it-yourself investors,” Hines said.

How do you manage investments? “I got started in 2015 running a research company with hundreds of people who pay me for research. Then, I got into investment management. We do a portfolio review. I’ll give them recommendations. … Maybe you have too much risk. Too many stocks. Too many bonds. Maybe you’re too concentrated in something. We discuss what to do differently.”

What’s important to know? “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Sometimes, people will come in — they’ve worked for a company a long time — and they have 50% of their retirement savings in one company’s stock. That’s a problem. That’s too risky.”

Why is that risky? “If a company goes bankrupt — it doesn’t happen often — you’ll lose all your money. The retirement savings are gone. Even if it doesn’t go bankrupt, bad things happen. Stock prices crash. That’s the diversification piece.”

What do you offer? “I have three model portfolios. One is more aggressive. It’s growth stocks. Another is focused on high income, maybe (for) people who are retired. The third is balanced in the middle of the three. … The models get updated monthly. There are research reports that I write. I work with an independent contractor who helps me write those. He’s in India. His name is Madhu Chaudhary. He’s very good.”

What else plays a role? “It depends on age. On the tolerance for market volatility. Some people