Animated GIF of US consumer spending online November 1 through December 31 ($ billion) showing Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday forecast record online spending

Traditional retail in crisis as the transition to online accelerates

The FT is offering a free 30-day trial of Coronavirus Business Update that includes access to FT.com. Please spread the word by forwarding this newsletter to friends and colleagues who you think are valuable. And if this has been forwarded to you, hello. Please sign in here.

Latest news

  • The pace of coronavirus infection in the UK appeared to be slowing as a key measure of its spread fell below 1.0 for the first time since early September

  • The head of the global pharmaceutical trade association said 10 Covid-19 vaccines could be available by the middle of next year (Reuters)

  • Airbus said it was confident of increasing A320 jet production next year despite the global slump in air traffic (Bloomberg).

For the latest coronavirus news, check out our live blog

Arcadia faces the administration

Today’s news of mounting financial troubles at UK Arcadia Group, which owns big names like Topshop and Burton, is the latest sign of distress among brick and mortar retailers hit by the pandemic. The fate of the Debenhams department store (founded in 1778) should also be decided in the next few days.

The Arcadia News appears on one of the most important days on the retail calendar. Today is Black Friday, which signals the start of the hectic shopping period before Christmas, which for some non-food retailers can generate sales of up to six months.

This year’s event was a huge boost to e-commerce as many shoppers were still unable or unwilling to visit stores – especially in the US, where record numbers of new coronavirus infections were recorded for the traditional post-Thanksgiving shopping spree got paid and shoppers exchanged billions of dollars from their smartphones and laptops.

In the US alone, online sales are expected to grow 40 percent from last year’s Black Friday to over $ 10 billion, with retail giants Amazon, Walmart and Target being the biggest beneficiaries. Amazon revenue for the quarter is likely to top $ 100 billion for the first time.

The seasonal surge in e-commerce has also led to a parallel surge in online fraud, which has more than doubled in the UK since early October.

Luxury is one of the key sectors in traditional retail that is under pressure, especially in places like London, which is suffering from a cocktail of high rents, Brexit and the end of a tourist tax refund system. The head of the handbag manufacturer Mulberry, who suffers from international travel restrictions along with names such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Tiffany, particularly complained about the dwindling number of Chinese tourists on lucrative shopping trips.

Still, the age of chic business is not over yet. As attendees at the FT’s Business of Luxury conference heard this week from William Lauder, chairman of Estée Lauder, the virtual retail experience should be about expanding rather than replacing physical venues.

As retail correspondent Jonathan Eley points out, the online relocation means profound changes to our urban environment as city centers are forced to offer more focused and diverse shopping opportunities. The only question is how long it will be before he gets there, he writes.

Markets

Vaccine breakthroughs and the imminent closure of a tough US election mean global stocks are on their way to their best month ever. “The US elections were linked to the vaccine [news] took two fairly significant tail risks off the market, ”said a fund manager, adding that further gains are still possible.

The monthly percentage change bar chart for the FTSE All-World Index shows that global stocks are headed for their best month in existence

Sweden expanded its bond-buying program as concerns about the impact of the pandemic arose amid a new wave of infections and questions about the country’s failed strategy to contain the virus.

The destructive effects of Covid-19 and sanctions are driving the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to increasingly extreme measures: A forex trader was executed as part of a crackdown on the foreign exchange markets after the North Korean won appreciated by 20 percent against the US dollar.

Companies

Moncef Slaoui, veteran of the pharmaceutical industry and American “vaccine czar”, says Donald Trump “Warp speed” The vaccination program has been instrumental in recent breakthroughs. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca and Oxford University have expressed doubts about their data on vaccine trials.

New lock restrictions in England are attracting growing flakes of politicians and corporations, particularly in the hospitality industry, where 80 percent of pubs are facing a “dangerous position”. Local government finances have also suffered a severe blow.

Maps showing how the New Plains of England will restrict many areas of the country more than they did before the national lockdown

Japan’s largest airline is facing its biggest loss ever ANA aims to raise ¥ 332.1 billion ($ 3.2 billion) in a new stock offering. delta and Alitalia launch “quarantine-free” flights to Italy, which is welcome news for the only country in Europe over 1m tall Hotel room and an industry that is suffering from a heavy debt burden due to the pandemic.

Global economy

India, Until recently, the world’s fastest growing major economy saw its gross domestic product fall 7.5 percent in the third quarter, after falling 24 percent in the second quarter when the country was largely closed. India has the second highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world at 9.3m and nearly 140,000 deaths.

Germany plans to borrow EUR 180 billion next year, double what it originally intended, and allocate more money to support the business and purchase vaccines. The European Commission Business and consumer confidence in the euro area fell for the first time in seven months, with Italy and France being hardest hit.

The USA Federal Reserve appears to be nearing agreement on changes to its bond purchase program as new Unemployment claims fueled fears that the economic recovery could stall amid the surge in infections and weakening fiscal support.

Share with me

Coronavirus vaccines finally mean light at the end of the tunnel. But there is still a long way to go before the world can say goodbye to pandemic disruptions. Can governments introduce vaccination programs quickly, efficiently and fairly? And who should have priority? Please let us know your views – email us at [email protected] Many thanks.

Trecar comments: You saved Christmas – now you are saving small businesses

I own a small business that is unregistered and that I don’t qualify for [UK] Government support and yet they turn to me asking me to help those in trouble. Like others in a similar position, I watch my savings being eaten up to support my business. I accept that it is and move on. If my business survives, it’s because I activated it, not because the government did it. What I am seeing, however, is that my future income is being decimated, just like the majority of the country. What I take from this is that I am still a long way from trusting the government.

The most necessary

British reporters Andy Bounds and Chris Tighe cover the pros and cons of open a business in the middle of a pandemic. Despite the economic decline and failure of companies, the crisis also opened up business opportunities, they write.

A side effect of the pandemic chaos was the trend for that divorced wealthy trying to reduce payments to former partners in the face of confusion over the value of assets such as businesses. However, retrospective changes are still difficult: many tried to rewrite settlements during the 2008 financial crisis and failed.

Last thought

If life gives you lemons – make a martini. Beverages editor Alice Lascelles describes how cocktail hour became an unexpected comfort in a year of total chaos.

Alice Lascelles' Instagram highlights of her year in homemade cocktailsAlice Lascelles’ Instagram highlights of her year in homemade cocktails © @alicelascelles

We would really like to hear from you. Please send your reactions or suggestions to [email protected] Many thanks