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Zilch also ensures responsible lending by combining Open Banking technology with soft credit checks to build a personalised affordability profile for each customer.
 
With this, they get a real-time view and understanding of a customer’s affordability and won’t lend a customer more than they can afford the payback, removing the possibility of indebtedness and credit-related anxiety.
 
Philip Belamant, Founder and CEO at Zilch, “At Zilch, we always put our customers first by giving them the freedom to choose where, when and how they shop while offering a responsible and convenient way for them to make payments over time. I can’t stand having to input my PIN when I use a card to pay these days and much prefer my phone as there are no limits when I tap – Our customers feel the same way and this is why we are so excited about bringing this market-leading feature to them soon. This new feature falls in line with our mission to become the best way to pay, anywhere – as we’ve created a completely easy and seamless journey for our customers in-store that doesn’t rely on annoying QR codes or Barcodes. Gen Z and millennials make up a large part of our customer base and are key to driving change when it comes to convenience and transparency – in a good way.
 
“The inspiration to keep innovating and bettering our product comes largely from them, and there will be more to come – watch this space.”
Dyson’s latest product is an air purifier that removes harmful indoor pollutants from the home.
 
The Dyson Purifier Formaldehyde was announced by the brand today, and is the product of several years of research.
 
Using new solid-state formaldehyde sensor tech developed by the company, the product aims to improve on other such products on the market which often use a gel-based sensor system, as well as Dyson’s own previous air purifier models.
 
According to Dyson, formaldehyde and other harmful indoor pollutants are more common than many think.
 
Formaldehyde is a colourless gas pollutant which, when ingested, can be lethal. It can also be dangerous in low levels, with long-term exposure causing asthma-like respiratory problems and skin irritation.
 
The gas can be released into a space via furniture and wooden products that contain resins like plywood and fibreboard. Beyond furniture, it can also make its way into the home through insulating materials DIY products like paint, wallpapers and varnishes and household cleaning products.
 
Alex Knox, vice president of environmental care at Dyson says this “off-gassing” tendency of formaldehyde – that is, the airborne release of a chemical in vapour form – means it can go “undetected in a home for years”.
 
The technology developed for the air purifier looks to improve on existing methods of detecting and destroying the pollutant. Other formaldehyde sensors use a gel-based detection system, however this can deteriorate over time and can be easily confused when encountering other volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
 
Dyson’s solid-state sensor “doesn’t dry out over time”, says Knox, and instead lasts the lifetime of the product itself. Once detected, the purifier is also able to destroy the harmful gas. The whole process is controlled via a magnetic remote, and can also be linked up to smart home devices like Google Home, Alexa and Siri.
 
Additionally, Dyson designers have reengineered the machine airflow pathways to ensure both that no air bypasses the fully-sealed HEPA 13 standard filter, but also that no dirty air leaks out and disrupts the airflow.
 
All in, the company says 99.95% of particles as small as 0.1 microns – with one micron being roughly the same size as 1/25,000 of an inch – are removed from the air using by the purifier.
 
Finally, this tech is housed in a machine that Dyson claims is 20% quieter that the brand’s predecessor machine. This was through an active effort from an international team.
 
“Through an iterative design, test and build process managed at the Dyson Malaysia Development Centre’s in-house acoustics chamber, the machine was reengineered,” says the company.
 
Actually achieving a quieter machine, the team needed to refine the overall airflow path by widening the aperture – the slot in which the air exits the machine. This reduced the amount of friction between the air and the surface of the machine, thereby resulting in less sound.
 
Even without the onset of the pandemic, the relevance of designing an air purifier was high, according to Dyson. Humans spend as much as 90% of their time indoors, and that’s without lockdowns and stay at home orders, according to the company.
 
“As our homes increasingly become spaces where we work and exercise as well as sleep and play, the quality of the air we breathe in all aspects of our routine is non-negotiable,” says Dyson. This latest machine, it says, reflects the latest tech in three core areas: sensing, filtration and acoustics.
Exertis has announced a new sales team called Exertis One, as the distributor has also unveiled a dedicated online hub to provide specialised support to the custom installation and smart technology markets.
 
The new team will support both new and existing customers in expanding their proficiency and offering in the custom installation market.
 
Exertis says this will provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for companies providing installed CI/AV (custom installation) and home automation solutions.
 
Exertis’ new team will provide professional support to installers, specifiers, consultants, contractors, CEDIA members, independents, and smart home specialists.
 
Its portfolio will include major brands from consumer and domestic networking, smart home, audio visual, and smart energy.
 
Commenting on the launch of the Exertis One team, Exertis consumer commercial director Caroline Hope said: “We are bringing together the best brands and solutions to present to this vibrant channel, and our knowledgeable and dedicated team stands ready to assist on all brand and technical enquiries.
 
“The reality is that our custom install and smart tech customers will now only need one account manager to be able to access a broad array of experience, and complementary iconic brands.”
 
A range of technology products will be pushed by the new Exertis in emerging markets.
 
This range includes outdoor technology, CCTV, smart security and smart doorbells, while Exertis will be working with a number of brands including Sonos, Swann, Hive, Devolo and Google Nest.
 
“The focus of our dedicated team will be to expand the portfolio and revenue potential of each customer, and to add opportunity and value to each of their businesses in this sector,” added Exertis retail director of sales Jon Sutherland.
A recent announcement by the cloud-based banking platform Mambu has confirmed that the British challenger bank Tandem is now live on its SaaS banking platform.
 
Ten months after signing the agreement, the finalised implementation was succeeded by a four-month beta in late 2020, before a full rollout in early February 2021.
 
With close collaboration between the two fintechs, all customer accounts – divided between savings, loans, and mortgages – were migrated overnight, fulfilling the bank’s successful transition onto the new platform. The switch will allow Tandem to benefit from full control across all of its product services, whilst significantly improving its understanding of customer behaviour and how such an interaction can be made more efficient.
 
Migrating their legacy system to their own proprietary software that integrates best-of-breed cloud providers such as Mambu, not only provides Tandem access to the best banking technology in the market but helps them deliver on the green finance proposition to help people ‘save while saving the planet’.
 
“We’ve been progressing towards a greener banking ethos for a while now,” said Noam Zeigerson, Chief Data and Technology Officer at Tandem. “And with our recent acquisition of Allium Lending Group, we’ve been able to accelerate on this mission. We needed a technology partner that was both a culture fit for Tandem and had also technical hacks. Finding a partner that is an expert in a complex task, such as managing banking ledgers, enabled as well as making it all available in a programmatic way via APIs was a key for our success. It allowed us to focus on creating value for our customers, building our software technology in the way we love and move our business forward.”
 
Tandem chose to move to Mambu to provide the digital-only bank’s demographic with a more curated customer experience, whilst also creating more agile operations in regards to the launch of new products; all together helping the bank to stay true to its green goals as all work undertaken with Mambu was completed virtually; without travel or environmental impact.
 
“Having both teams closely aligned reduced the risk associated with implementation and migration processes, giving Tandem the confidence that if any issues should arise, they would be met by a well-briefed Mambu team, able to react quickly,” said Eelco-Jan Boonstra, Managing Director of Mambu EMEA. “When Tandem decided to move away from more traditional software providers, they knew it was the way to remain sustainable and achieve their green goals – and we’re exceptionally pleased to not only prove them right, but surprise them by how quickly we achieved it.”
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has reasserted Vauxhall’s claim of being a “British Brand since 1903” in its latest TV marketing campaign.
 
Viewers wrote to the advertising watchdog to challenge the statement, which appeared at the end of a recent advert of the new Corsa hatchback, in light of Vauxhall’s previous US owner General Motors (GM) and current French owner Stellantis.
 
After Vauxhall Motors Ltd issued a response stating that the Vauxhall brand was a UK-registered entity, which bult cars in Britain and sold Vauxhall-branded vehicles exclusively in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the ASA rebuffed the claims, however.
 
Vauxhall said in its statement that it had always built vehicles in Britain, adding that the fact that Vauxhall’s parent company, Stellantis was neither British nor based in the UK did not change the fact that Vauxhall was a British brand, the ASA said
 
Despite uncertainty surrounding the future of the Astra-producing Ellesmere car plant for a number of years, the ASA said Stellantis had “maintained their support for Vauxhall as a British entity so much that Vauxhall was now making a profit under its new owners”.
 
It added: “Current and previous owners had recognised the value of maintaining a British manufacturing base with British workforce and a sales and marketing effort geared to maintaining the Britishness and success of the brand.”
 
Business Live reported yesterday (April 6) that Stellantis had dismissed suggestions that a decision on the future of the Ellesmere Port site could be made this week as "speculation".
 
In its ruling against the complaints directed at Vauxhall’s TV advertising campaign for the new Corsa, the ASA said that the brand’s successive foreign ownership “did not change the fact that the brand was established in and exclusively sold in the UK, adding that it “maintained offices and manufacturing operations in the country, thus contributing to the national economy”.
The Co-op Group saw its annual revenues and profits rise, despite the coronavirus pandemic, and has pledged to repay £15.5m to the Government in furlough allowances.
 
However, it has declined to repay approximately £64.5m in business rates relief, according to its annual results for the year to January 2, 2021.
 
Most of its peers, led by Tesco, have repaid government support funding and its decision to retain business rates relief will throw its ethical values into question, critics claim.
 
Revenue for the year was £11.5bn (2019: £10.9bn) with Food growth of 3.5% and Funeralcare revenue flat year-on-year. Reported profit before tax was £127m (2019: £24m).
 
Net debt reduced from £695m in 2019 to £550m. Capital expenditure of £313m compared with £407m in 2019, reflecting the reduced investment in the business, due to the pandemic
 
The Manchester-based group said it incurred additional COVID costs during the year of £84m, including additional new colleagues, increased colleague absence linked to the virus, a colleague ‘Thank You’ reward and the purchasing of personal protective equipment.
 
Looking ahead, the group said it sees significant uncertainty and must continue to exercise financial prudence.
 
It said the market remains highly competitive and, against the backdrop of a worsening consumer economy, the Co-op is planning for, and dealing with, continued lockdowns.
 
The group also said it is working to respond to the changing needs of its customers, reflected in hyper-localism, further moves towards digitisation in all its businesses and providing value for money across the business.
 
Chief executive, Steve Murrells, said: “In 2020 we lived through a perfect storm, with every part of our lives turned upside down – socially and economically, mentally and physically.
 
“Along the way we discovered much about our society, some of it brilliant and inspiring, and some of it quite ugly thanks to the unfairness and inequality COVID-19 has revealed and exacerbated.
 
“During the last few years we’ve created a business that is truly focused on delivering clear value and benefits for our members, customers and their communities.”
 
He added: “All that work proved to be essential in giving us the ability to respond to the immediate and sustained demands which the pandemic brought with it. Our Vision, Co-operating for a Fairer World, was our guiding light throughout, and our response to COVID-19 demonstrated the power of co-operative enterprise and the relevance of co-operative values.”
 
Chair, Allan Leighton, said: “COVID-19 presented us with a national emergency and a unique set of business challenges and community needs which showed that co-operation was capable of making a difference during an extraordinary time in the nation’s history.
 
“I am proud of how we rose to the challenge of the pandemic through our business operations and through our support to local communities.
 
“Creating Co-op value for our members has always been at the heart of our endeavours and I believe that reached new heights during 2020.”
 
He said: “On behalf of the board, I want to acknowledge the incredible commitment shown by Co-op colleagues across all parts and at all levels of the business throughout 2020. It was an outstanding achievement, which epitomised our Co-op way of doing business, throughout a year that none of us will forget.”
South Korean electronics giant LG has announced it is shutting down its smartphone business as it struggles to keep up with competition from Apple, Samsung and Huawei.
 
The business will now concentrate on building electric-vehicle components and robotics manufacturing, as well as its home-appliances business, which fared well during the Covid-19 pandemic.
 
LG was, at one time, the world’s third-largest phone maker by shipments and is still the biggest US tech vendor after Apple and Samsung. However, its overall phone business has fallen behind in the past six years and has been in the red for 23 quarters consecutively, with total losses exceeding $4.4 billion.
 
LG’s mobile business represented about 8% of its total annual revenue in 2020.
 
It was the original smartphone trailblazer. LG’s first touchscreen phone, the LG Prada, in 2006, preceded the iPhone. Chinese smartphone brands like Huawei Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo accounted for a record 57% combined market share in 2020.
 
This has seen LG’s global market share slip to the low single digits. The company shipped 24.7m devices in 2020, equivalent to a market share of just 1.9%.
 
Samsung currently leads in market share at 19.2%, followed by Apple at 15.1%. Huawei, at 14.1%, Xiaomi (10.9%) and Oppo (8.4%) close out the top five.
Asos has revealed that sales and profits soared during its first half period as bricks-and-mortar stores endured lockdowns and other restrictions.
 
Revenues at the online fashion retailer jumped 24% year-on-year to £1.98 billion in the six months to the end of February, while half-year pre-tax profits skyrocketed 253% to £106.4 million.
 
Asos said it benefited particularly from strong UK sales during the period – which covered the a brief lockdown in November in England and Wales, the subsequent tiering system and the current UK-wide lockdown.
 
High street fashion rivals have been unable to open their doors throughout 2021 so far, but will be allowed to welcome back customers from next Monday in England and Wales.
 
In the UK, Asos half-year sales were up 39 per cent year-on-year to £800.4 million, compared with 18 per cent in the EU, 16 per cent in the US and 16 per cent in the rest of the world.
 
“Overall we saw a net Covid-19 tailwind of £48.5 million – a benefit which we expect to reverse once we see restrictions lifted on the hospitality and tourism sectors,” Asos said.
 
The integration of the Topshop brands, which Asos bought out of administration earlier this year, is also progressing to plan, the online giant said.
 
It added that it has remained flexible in responding to demands for “lockdown” products, as sales of formal and outfits for social events remained low.
 
Instead, shoppers turned to “activewear” and “casualwear” categories.
 
However, profit margins fell during the period by 200 basis points – or two per cent – due to increased freight and duty costs, alongside foreign exchange rate movements going against the company.
 
Asos bosses said they hope to be in a strong position, ready to capitalise on “event-led” products, when social restrictions ease.
 
“We believe the shift to online retail as a result of the pandemic and the accelerating consolidation of offline retail has increased consumer confidence in shopping online,” Asos said.
 
“In the coming months we expect a portion of consumer demand will move back to stores as restrictions are eased throughout our markets, but we expect online penetration to remain structurally higher than pre Covid-19 levels.”
 
Asos chief executive Nick Beighton said: “We are delighted with our exceptional first-half performance and proud of the work our teams have put in to achieve this.
 
“These record results, which include robust growth in sales, customer numbers and profitability, demonstrate the significant progress we have made against all of our strategic priorities and the strength of our execution capability.
 
“The swift integration of the Topshop brands and the impressive early customer engagement is also especially pleasing.
 
“Looking ahead, while we are mindful of the short-term uncertainty and potential economic consequences of the continuing pandemic, we are confident in the momentum we have built, and excited about delivering on our ambition of being the number one destination for fashion-loving 20-somethings.”
Over-50s insurance-to-cruises company Saga lost £61.2 million in the year to the end of January as it wrote down the value of its Covid-hit travel business. On an underlying basis profits fell 84% to £17.1 million.
 
Underlying profits in the group’s insurance business rose 2.9% to £134.6 million as claims fell, with customers driving fewer miles during Covid-19 lockdowns. But the group’s travel division made a loss of £78.5 million.
 
Saga reported total cruise bookings of £154 million for 2021/22 and 2022/23 combined, in comparison with £128 million at the same point last year.
 
Euan Sutherland, group chief executive, said: “It is clear that there is significant pent-up demand among our customer base, the vast majority of whom have now been vaccinated and are ready to enjoy post-lockdown freedom.”
Emma Isaac has been named as Waitrose’s new head of brand marketing & marketing planning.
 
Most recently, Isaac spent four years as brand marketing director at NatWest Group. She has previously held senior marketing roles at Barclays and British Airways, among others, and is an active member of WACL (Women in Advertising & Communications Leadership).
 
Martin George, director of customer for Waitrose, said: “Emma brings a wealth of experience from well known brands and we are thrilled she is joining us at a really pivotal moment for our brand.”
 
Isaac added: “Waitrose is a brand which I’ve long admired as a customer and as a marketer. It’s a real privilege to be joining the team to continue to build customers’ love for the Waitrose brand as well as help deliver the broader Partnership Plan.”
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