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Friday newspaper round-up: Marks & Spencer, Starling, Hinkley Point B

Fri 20 November 2020 07:28 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - The fashion chains Peacocks, Jaeger, Austin Reed and Jacques Vert have collapsed into administration, putting nearly 4,800 jobs at risk. The retailers are all part of entrepreneur Philip Day's Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM), which warned last month it was on the brink of collapse. The Cardiff-based budget fashion chain Peacocks, which Albert Peacock founded as a penny bazaar in Warrington, Cheshire, in 1884, employs 4,369 staff across its 423 stores. - Guardian

Marks & Spencer will keep 400 stores open until midnight in Christmas week as desperate high street retailers scramble to recoup billions of pounds of sales lost to lockdown restrictions. The UK's biggest clothing retailer said its "longest-ever" store opening hours would kick in on Monday 21 December, with two-thirds of its 600 shops opening until midnight for a run of three days. Unlike many of its rivals M&S's shops are currently open; however; government rules means it has been forced to close off its clothing floors. - Guardian

Starling says it has become the first digital challenger bank to be profitable, as its rivals continue to record large losses. The online bank, founded by Anne Boden in 2014 after she spent 30 years working for "boring big banks", has made a loss every month since its launch but says, on an operating basis, it will post a £0.8m profit for October. - Telegraph

Minimum unit pricing for alcohol is reasonably effective at targeting heavy drinkers but comes at a cost of hindering competition and reducing tax revenues, research suggests. According to the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies, a minimum unit price, combined with a more coherent set of taxes on alcohol, would be just as well targeted at heavy drinkers and would limit the fall in revenue for the exchequer. - The Times

The Hinkley Point B nuclear power station will close by July 2022 at the latest, EDF has announced, triggering renewed calls to invest in replacement reactors. The Somerset plant started generating in 1976 and was due to close in 2016 but in 2012 EDF secured an extension until March 2023. However, the reactor developed cracks in its graphite core, which has limited its operation. - The Times

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