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Business

London Offices Aren’t Refilling Fast Enough for Shops Relying on Them

LONDON — Schroders, a big asset management firm, wants more of its workers to return to its office in the City of London. Over the summer, it encouraged people to come in for a day to test their commute and so the firm could demonstrate the new safety measures in place, including an app to order food from the canteen.Last week, about 15 percent of its 2,500 employees were in the office.A 15-minute walk away, in the building where the law firm Dentons employs 750 workers, fewer than 10 percent were in the office. Two streets to the west, Goldman Sachs’s new 826,000-square-foot European headquarters were about 15 percent full. In east London, in Canary Wharf’s cluster of towers, Citigroup had about 15 percent of its employees in an office that usually fits 5,000. In cities across the coun...

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Business

Europe’s unemployment rate climbs even as furlough benefits are extended.

The eurozone’s unemployment rate rose slightly in July to 7.9 percent, up from 7.2 percent in March, which was the lowest on record, according to data published on Tuesday.Though government programs protected the jobs of a substantial portion of Europe’s work force during the height of the pandemic, unemployment is still rising. In July, 12.8 million people were unemployed, 500,000 more than a year ago. Several countries, including France and Germany, have said recently that they would extend some of the wage-protection benefits as large employers continued to announce the layoffs of thousands of workers.The widespread use of furlough programs might also conceal the true impact of the pandemic on Europe’s labor market in the official data, which only records people who are unemployed an...

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World

In Britain, an Idea to Reduce Racial Inequality Gains Momentum

That said, there are additional challenges to reporting on ethnicity that are distinct from gender reporting. The thorniest issue is privacy. Employers have to get their staff to voluntarily disclose their ethnicity. There will also be companies that lack enough diversity to publish a nuanced breakdown of the data, or publish any data at all, without jeopardizing staff anonymity. (The government offers 18 different classifications of ethnic groups for census data in England and Wales.) And the severity of inequality and underrepresentation can really vary by region. Ethnic minorities make up just 14 percent of Britain’s total population but in London, 40 percent of people identify as having an Asian, Black, Arab, or multiple ethnic backgrounds.In response to the online petition on ethni...

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Business

How the U.K. Restarted Its Restaurant Industry: Paying Half the Bill

The government’s dining discount could be particularly effective at getting people out to eat on their lunch breaks, Mr. Vlaev said. “It’s a very powerful way to change people by habituating their behavior because they then act on autopilot,” he said.The second force is known as “psychological commitment,” Mr. Vlaev said: In order to get people to agree to a large request, you get them to agree to something small first. People in Britain might agree to take advantage of the restaurant discount, but once they are out and enjoying themselves the government can more easily ask them to return to offices, gyms, theaters and so on.So far, the experiment is working.A survey by CGA found that nearly 40 percent of people using the Eat Out to Help Out discount were dining out for the first time s...

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Business

Britain’s New Record: A Recession Worse Than in Europe and North America

Britain discovered on Wednesday that its economy had suffered a recession deeper than any other reported by a European or North American country during the coronavirus pandemic.The reasons for the severe downturn in the second quarter include an economy that relies more heavily than most on consumer spending and a longer national lockdown than its neighbors.Still, the cost of the pandemic provided another grim record. Last month, the government reported that Britain had Europe’s highest rate of excess deaths.“A few months ago, I said hard times are coming and today’s figures show hard times are here,” Rishi Sunak, Britain’s top finance official, said on Wednesday.Economic output declined by 20.4 percent from April to June, compared with the previous quarter, official preliminary statist...

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Business

Everyone’s lockdown obsession with Animal Crossing lifts Nintendo’s profits to $1 billion.

It didn’t just seem like everyone spent their lockdown playing Animal Crossing — they really were.Nintendo, the creator of the game for its Switch consoles, reported on Thursday a staggering 541 percent increase in quarterly profit from the previous year. Behind that number were 10.6 million sales of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, pushing the Japanese gaming company’s net income to 106.5 billion yen ($1 billion), and the company said “sales of this title continue to be strong with no loss of momentum.” Since it was released, there have been more than 22 million sales of the game, making it the most popular Animal Crossing game by a big margin. The only Nintendo Switch game that has ever sold more is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.Animal Crossing has brought in many new customers to Nintendo. Some ...

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Business

Britain’s economy won’t fully recover till end of 2021, its central bankers said.

The Bank of England presented both a better and worse outlook for the British economy on Thursday. As the central bank left its monetary policy stance unchanged, policymakers said that they expected the British economy to contract by 9.5 percent this year, a less severe downturn than they indicated a few months ago, and the unemployment rate would peak at 7.5 percent at the end of the year.But then the economy won’t return to its pre-pandemic level until the end of 2021, they said. Even in three years, the economy will still be smaller than it would have been had the growth rate followed the path it was on at the end of 2019.The central bank said economic indicators suggested consumer spending was rising but the bank’s governor, Andrew Bailey, added that it was not possible to make conf...

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Business

European Markets Offering an Alternative to the S&P 500

Scott Thiel can’t remember the last time BlackRock Investment Institute had a positive view on European stocks. It’s been that long.At the end of June, the research arm of the world’s largest asset manager upgraded its view on European equities to overweight, from underweight, recommending that investors buy more of these stocks. “It’s been a very long time,” said Mr. Thiel, the institute’s chief fixed income strategist.Europe has a bad rep with investors. For years, asset managers and bank strategists have characterized the region by its anemic growth rate and shaky political union, and steered investors away. Now, a crisis has turned into an unlikely investment opportunity as the region appears to have handled the pandemic better than some other parts of the world. In the past few mon...

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World

In Britain, the Economic Comeback Is in the Suburbs

READING, England — The British economy is facing its worst recession since “The Great Frost” of 1709, a horrifically cold winter. Large retailers are shutting stores, and inconsistent quarantine rules are raising anxiety about a second pandemic wave. And yet Summertown, a suburb north of Oxford, has something to look forward to: Its main shopping street is about to get a new bookstore.Daunt Books, a prominent chain, is opening its ninth store this weekend in Summertown. The suburb’s last bookstore closed in 2018 after nearly four decades. “People are so delighted a shop is opening and not closing,” said Brett Wolstencroft, the manager of the bookseller.About 60 miles away, in central London, the scene turns bleak.Daunt’s flagship store on Marylebone High Street, in an Edwardian building...

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