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New WORDS Learned, Retail, FINTECH and missing £ a lot happened last week.

2 new words I learned this weekend…

Doomscrolling – the practice of endlessly scrolling through social media and other information channels while reading dystopian news. … The practice is usually accompanied by glazed eyes and a mind-numbing feeling that you’re not really absorbing the information

CancelCulture One of the weapons of social media, a system of public humiliation which frequently leads to the targets losing their means of income and becoming social pariahs. More often than not, those who are ‘cancelled’ feel obliged to issue a grovelling apology, which rarely succeeds in placating the mob. Once the ‘mob’ have tasted blood, the appetite is insatiable: e.g. JK Rowling.

Retail Regeneration Opportunity

The story about the UK based shopping Mall owner Intu has dominated the financial press this weekend. It has also been the business story that has ‘crossed over’. By that I mean crossed over into the chatter of my non business orientated friends and family. I’ve always been relaxed about this one. Watching from a long way out, it has been a lesson in inappropriate delay and an organisational debt structure that has been such a struggle for Intu to climb out of.

The jewels of Manchester’s Trafford Centre and its fellow large malls [Metro, Lakeside, Braehead] are all being circled by new investors and are as good as sold and at a much reduced price. So I am an relaxed about the job scenario as well as the economies of these economically vulnerable areas [Salford, Gateshead, Clydebank].

In fact, I am more than relaxed I am hopeful of regeneration.

The turbo-charge of online has resulted in online sales are now at the highest proportion on record 33.4% of total spending, [Office for National Statistics]. This creates a Regeneration challenge for the new centre owners.

 Move to EXPERIENCE FOCUS. In the UK and Mainland Europe we’ve seen other shopping centres replacing big units with offices or gyms to become, although centrally present in retail, far less dependent on it. It is surely time for the glossy infrastructure and large out of town units to be repurposed as gathering zones with experience opportunities and the services they need.

I am a LOT less relaxed about Wirecard and its missing billions, potential criminal activity, shock for the FINTECH sector. This took over a week to come full square into the centre of UK business media. I simply do not understand why, but moving on……The concerns I have a primarily these

  • Audit ? What on earth was happening there ?
  • Sectoral Contagion

FINTECH Must surge ahead, and it certainly will. It is in my view inevitable. However, this shock is already having a short term impact on payments not being made and I am concerned there will be an over cautious degree of monitoring in the sector going forward that could impinge on innovation. Balance it will all be about balance.

Note though…there is always someone somewhere making £ out of events. Hedge funds have made profits of over $1 billion betting against Wirecard in the last week. Shares of the company have fallen 98% in 2020. London-based TCI Fund Management is said to have made $217 million in the last week betting against Wirecard. Plus ca Change……..

In one move, Apple have neutered an entire mini industry.

A final thread of a story line that was growing last week and will continue in the next weeks is that of the continuing roll out of increased privacy protection of social media users that the big firms [Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook] are finally owning.

Apple is taking control of the privacy process [iphone user tracking essentially] on its own apps platform and will no doubt launch it with the new IOS 14 update due in Autumn. However this blows out of the water a mini industry that was plugging the gap. An example being AppsFlyer who had snagged a $210m (£170m) cash injection from top Silicon Valley venture capital firms in January. This firm with 900 employees in 18 offices.



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