Business headlines: Aldi; Facebook; Caledonian Sleeper; Amazon Studios; WeWork

10

It’s vital to be aware of the latest news in the industry you’re working in or applying to. Here are some headlines you might find interesting:

Aldi plans to open one new UK store a week for the next two years
German discount supermarket chain Aldi has said it is planning to open one new store in the UK each week on average for the next two years. Aldi boss Giles Hurley said the firm is investing £1bn to reach this goal. Aldi currently has over 840 stores in the UK. It attracted 800,000 new customers last year, with the opening of new stores a driving factor behind this. Its sales were up by 11% to £1.1bn, while profits fell by 18%, mostly because of cost-cutting. The focus for the further expansion will be on London, with the supermarket chain wanting to double the number of stores inside the M25, reaching 100 by the end of 2025.

Facebook plans creation of oversight board
Social media platform Facebook has stated it is planning to create an oversight board to act as ‘an independent authority outside of Facebook’ which will oversee Facebook’s content decisions. The board, which has been nicknamed Facebook supreme court, will be able to override decisions made by Facebook concerning content moderation and influence new policy. The board will launch with at least eleven members, eventually growing to forty people worldwide, and will start reviewing cases next year. Facebook will decide which cases are submitted to the board, but the members can choose which ones to take on. The names of the board members and the results of their deliberations will be made public. Their decisions will be binding. Facebook said it anticipates that the board would deal with only a few dozen cases a year.

Smart meter rollout deadline delayed until 2024
The government has delayed the deadline for the rollout of smart energy meters until 2024. The original deadline was set at the end of next year, but energy firms warned that the technology needed was not ready. The delay is expected to drive up costs of installing the new equipment even further, to over £13bn in total. Smart meters make meter readings automatic, leading to simplified billing. While customers do not have to have them installed, energy companies must have offered them to all UK households by the end of the 2024 deadline. The implementation of the smart meters has not been without fail, with many people complaining of smart meters not working properly if they switched suppliers.

Estate agents urged to disclose air quality information
The UK’s professional body for estate agents, NAEA Propertymark, is urging estate agents to automatically disclose air pollution data to new home buyers. This comes after the launch of a new website detailing air pollution figures by postcode. The site, called addresspollution.org, uses data from King’s College London to give the level of nitrogen dioxide for properties in London. While air pollution data is not expected to be used as a negotiating tool to bring down property prices, it might lead people to shun certain areas with high pollution levels, potentially leading to lower prices in that area.

Caledonian Sleeper train staff plan industrial action
Staff on the Caledonian Sleeper train service, which connects London with Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William, have announced a strike for the end of September. The RMT union named poor working conditions as a reason behind the industrial action, saying that the operator of the service, Serco, had done nothing to address issues such as poor staffing levels and insufficient training. Serco has called the strike ‘completely unnecessary’ but said it was ready to have further meetings with the union.

TV and film producer and distributor Amazon Studios has revealed it will shoot its new Lord of the Rings TV series, which is expected to be the most expensive ever at a cost of at least $1bn, in New Zealand.

Workspace provider WeWork has delayed the date of its planned stock market listing until December after concerns were raised about what the firm, previously valued at $47bn (£37.8bn), is really worth.

 Source: HN Global.