Business headlines: Amazon; Airbus; Softbank; Marks & Spencer; Ocado; BBC; ITV; Selfridges Poundland; Amazon Australia


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:

Amazon to create more than 1,000 apprenticeships
US technology giant Amazon has said it will create nine apprenticeship programmes over the next two years. Salaries will range from an entry level starting salary of between £9.50 and £10.50 an hour, up to £30,000 a year. Each programme will last between 13 months and four years, across IT, software engineering, robotics, leadership and technology as well as safety and human resources. Qualified apprentices then will work across Amazon’s UK corporate and operations sites which including its UK head office and three development centres in London, Cambridge and Edinburgh. Amazon’s UK country manager, Doug Gurr said, “We want to give people opportunities to succeed in the digital age, regardless of their background.”

Airbus-Softbank joint venture to launch first satellites into space >
Oneweb, the Airbus-Softbank joint venture, is set to launch a rocket into space carrying six satellites that will improve access to high-speed broadband from anywhere on the planet. The six satellites will form the first part of Oneweb’s constellation above Earth, which will ultimately be made up of 900 satellites, with a launch target of 650 satellites by 2021. The satellites are currently being built in in Toulouse, France, but in March, the operation will move to a purpose-built warehouse in Florida valued at $85m (£63.7m). Oneweb chief commercial officer Nicolas Zibell has said that with 5G on the horizon, the constellation will offer carriers and telecoms partners the ability to extend their networks across the globe with ease, serving homes and businesses as well as moving planes and ships.

BBC and ITV’s BritBox – the new Netflix rival
The UK’s BBC and ITV are uniting to launch BritBox, a new British streaming service to rival Netflix, in the second half of 2019. The two organisations already have a BritBox streaming service in North America with 500,000 subscribers and BBC director general Tony Hall has said: “there is a real appetite [amongst Brits] for a new British streaming service – in addition to their current subscriptions”. The new venture is not intended to replace the BBC’s iPlayer or the ITV Hub – the on-demand services where programmes are available for a restricted period of time. However, it will include box sets from the BBC and ITV archives and there will also be some programmes commissioned only for BritBox.

Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer and Ocado are joining forces to give the British high street retailer a home delivery service for the first time. Ocado’s deal to deliver Waitrose goods will end in September 2020. Shoppers will then be able to order more than 4,500 M&S products alongside Ocado own-label goods and big name branded items. If Ocado customers want to continue ordering Waitrose products, they’ll have to switch to Waitrose’s own online business, which is going strong. M&S is to buy a 50% share of Ocado’s retail business for £750m and will fund the deal by selling £600m of shares and by cutting its dividend payout to shareholders by 40%.

Selfridges to ban the sale of exotic animal skins
From February 2020, luxury London department store Selfridges has said it will no longer sell exotic animal skins such as alligator, crocodile and python. In December, Chanel stopped using exotic animal skins and was quickly followed by Vivienne Westwood, Diane von Furstenberg and more recently Victoria Beckham, alongside high street brands such as Topshop, H&M and Adidas. British designer Stella McCartney’s “vegetarian brand” has never used leather, skin, fur or feathers. Selfridges banned the sale of fur in 2005 and is committed to placing “ethics and sustainability at the heart of commercial decisions”.

Workers at Amazon Australia’s warehouse in Melbourne have said that it is a dehumanising environment, where they are often not paid for their full shift and don’t feel like they can even go to the toilet because of the pressure to meet targets.

Poundland will keep Brexiteers and Remainers on opposing teams long after Brexit with red “still proud to be European” Remainer and blue Brexiteer passport covers. The budget retailer expects sales figures of the two covers to reflect current sentiment towards Brexit as the UK hurtles towards the 29 March leaving date without an exit deal in place.