Public-sector net debt in Britain rose above 2trn pounds ($2.6trn) for the first time. The government’s debt at the end of July was roughly equal to GDP.
American Airlines confirmed that it would slash 19,000 jobs in October, when the requirement to retain staff ends under the conditions of the federal bail-out of the aviation industry. The government was said to be considering a new rescue package for America’s biggest airlines.
Virgin Atlantic reached a vital agreement with creditors that will allow a 1.2bn pounds ($1.6bn) private-refinancing plan to proceed. The cash-strapped airline was unable to secure a rescue deal earlier in the year from the British government.
Rolls-Royce reported a 5.4bn pounds ($6.8bn) pre-tax loss for the first six months of the year. The engineering company has been hurt by the grounding of flights during the pandemic; airlines pay it based on how many hours they use its engines.
In contrast to the aviation industry’s woes, the boom in home shopping has led Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket chain, to create 16,000 extra permanent jobs in its online business, mostly warehouse pickers and drivers.
Purveyors of electronic goods have also done well as people spend more time at home. Best Buy reported a 242% increase from online revenue in its most recent quarter. Trade has been so brisk that the American retailer could run out of some goods, such as game consoles.
The cost of building Crossrail, which will link west and east London by train and is Europe’s biggest infrastructure project, rose again, to 18.7bn pounds ($25bn). The opening date was again pushed back, to mid-2022. It was supposed to open in 2018.
Once a scourge of the music industry because of its pioneering platform that allowed people to share tunes, illegally, over the internet, Napster was sold for $70m by RealNetworks, its current owner, to Melodyvr, a startup based in London. Napster was forced to close in 2001 but the name lived on and it reinvented itself as a music-streaming service.
Don’t touch your face!
Kentucky Fried Chicken’s latest ad campaign dropped the “finger lickin’ good” slogan it has used for 64 years, because it doesn’t “quite fit” with clinical advice on COVID-19.