Gap profits fall short
Gap Inc, the biggest US specialty-apparel retailer, maintained an annual profit forecast range signaling that the crucial holiday-shopping quarter may fall short of analysts’ estimates. The company reaffirmed its full-year earnings estimates of US$2.57 to US$2.65 a share. That range, excluding results from the first three quarters, implies fourth-quarter profit of US$0.50 to US$0.58, trailing analysts’ estimates of US$0.69 cents. Chief executive officer Glenn Murphy is working to boost holiday sales with lower-priced and on-trend products as apparel retailers increase discounts. Consumers also are shifting their spending to durable goods, such as cars and appliances. Sales for the third quarter rose 2.9 percent to US$3.98 billion.
London plans posh homes
Luxury home developers plan to build more than 20,000 properties in London over the next decade, ramping up the pace of construction even as price gains slow, consulting firm EC Harris LLP said. The 10-year development pipeline stood at 15,000 a year earlier, EC Harris said on Friday in a statement. There has been a 55 percent increase in the number of homes planned for the lower end of the luxury market, mainly on the edges of neighborhoods like Mayfair and Knightsbridge. South Asian buyers account for two-thirds of new London homes sold before completion, according to Land Securities Group PLC, the largest UK real-estate investment trust. There is a risk that those investors will grow weary of repeated sales exhibitions promoting London property, EC Harris head of residential Mark Farmer said in the report. Luxury home values in central London rose 6.8 percent last month from a year earlier, the slowest in about four years, according to London-based broker Knight Frank LLP.
Union takes on Amazon
German labor union Verdi is preparing more strikes to step up pressure on Amazon, the world’s biggest Internet retailer, in a dispute over pay and conditions, a newspaper reported. “Further strikes are to be expected,” Welt am Sonntag quoted Verdi board member Stefanie Nutzenberger as saying in an excerpt of an interview that was to be published yesterday. The union has organized several short strikes this year in a bid to force Amazon to accept a collective agreement on employment conditions similar to deals for the mail order and retail sector, which are more generous than for the logistics sector. Amazon regards staff in Bad Hersfeld and Leipzig as logistics workers and says they receive above-average pay by the standards of that industry.
French pilots plan action
The French pilots’ union SNPL called a one-day strike against easyJet for today, accusing the British budget airline of not adequately sharing with employees record profits it announced earlier in the week. EasyJet said it did not plan to cancel flights, but warned of possible delays. Ninety percent of easyJet pilots in France belong to SNPL and easyJet operates out of 16 French airports. EasyJet, Europe’s second-largest low-cost carrier after Ryanair Holdings PLC, announced on Tuesday that pretax profit rose 51 percent in the financial year ended September. It said it would pay a ￡175 million (US$282 million) special dividend to shareholders. In a statement issued the same day, SNPL said its pilots would receive “no profit-sharing agreement, no company share plan, no improved working conditions,” and warned of protest walkouts in coming months.