Business headlines: JD Sports; Amazon; Netflix; Apple; Qualcomm; Vodafone; Volkswagen; DuluxGroup; Nippon Paint Holdings

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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:

JD Sport reports record results
Sportswear retailer JD Sports has reported record results, with pre-tax profits rising 15.4% to £339.9m in the year to 2 February, while revenues were up 49.2% to £4.7bn. Executive chairman of JD Sports, Peter Cowgill, said that focusing on millennials and Generation Z customers has helped the firm to buck the trend of gloom currently affecting high street retailers. JD Sports has been expanding worldwide with 39 new stores opening in Europe and 34 in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as entering the US market with the opening of five new stores. It also rescued Liam Gallagher’s fashion brand Pretty Green from administration in the past few weeks and made an offer to buy clothing and shoe retailer Footasylum.

Amazon flooded by unverified five-star reviews
Consumer group Which? has claimed that online retailer Amazon is filled with fake five-star reviews for products from unfamiliar brands. Which? said that many household names were largely absent from the highest rated reviews on popular items including smart watches and headphones. It also concluded that thousands of reviews were not verified, meaning that there was no evidence the person reviewing the product actually bought it. Amazon replied to the findings, saying that it is using automated technology to get rid of false reviews and that it had invested ‘significant resources’ to protect its review system.

Netflix expects subscriber growth to slow as it raises its prices
Netflix has said it expects subscriber growth to slow down in the second quarter due to it rolling out price rises. The streaming service reported that profits rose to $344m (£263.8) in the first three months of the year while sales were up 22% to $4.5bn (£3.5bn). Meanwhile, it recorded 9.6m new subscribers. The company is expecting subscriber growth to fall by 8% in the second quarter as it rolls out price rises across the US, Brazil, Mexico and some parts of Europe. The increase in subscription costs is motivated by a push to produce more original content in a bid to stay ahead of rivals such as Disney and Apple.

Apple and Qualcomm settle long-running lawsuit
Apple and Qualcomm have agreed to settle all ongoing lawsuits after 2 years. The battle between the two companies started in 2017 when Apple accused Qualcomm of charging too much for its processors used to connect phones to mobile networks. The settlement includes a payment from Apple to Qualcomm, while the two companies also agreed a six-year global patent licensing agreement. Qualcomm will also be supplying Apple for multiple years. The announcement caused a 23% spike in Qualcomm shares, while Apple’s shares remained flat.

Vodafone ad banned after complaint by Virgin Media
Telecom provider Vodafone has been forbidden from re-running an ad for its home broadband service branded as ‘Gigafast Broadband’ after a complaint from rival Virgin Media. Vodafone’s ad was for a premium offering targeting gamers and other heavy internet users. Virgin Media claimed the advert implied that Vodafone was providing speeds of one gigabit per second, even though the ad recognised this was not typically the case and that the maximum average speed available was 900 megabits per second. The Advertising Standards Authority stated that the claim that consumers can ‘enjoy Vodafone Gigafast Broadband speeds for as little as £23 a month’ was misleading, upholding Virgin’s complaint. Vodafone has since changed the advert.

German prosecutors have charged former Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn and four others with fraud and unfair competition over the firm’s involvement in the diesel emissions scandal, in which Volkswagen vehicles were fitted with software to manipulate emissions results.

Australian paint manufacturer DuluxGroup is expected to be taken over by Japan-based Nippon Paint Holdings in a A$3.8bn (£2.1bn) deal.

Source: HN Global