Sales rocket but Amazon growth slows as pandemic restrictions reduce

Amazon signalled last night that its breakneck growth will slow over the coming months as people emerge from pandemic restrictions.

Net sales at the world’s largest ecommerce group rose by 27 per cent to $113.1 billion in the second quarter, boosting net income by 50 per cent to a record $7.8 billion, but its revenues fell short of the $115.42 billion that Wall Street had expected.

Earnings were boosted by further gains at its powerhouse cloud computing division and its fast-growing online advertising business.

However, investors took fright at a striking slowdown at its mainstay online retail business. Sales in North America, Amazon’s largest market, rose by 22 per cent between April and June, about half the rate of the previous four quarters. Amazon’s shares fell by more than 6 per cent in after-hours trading, sliding $229.92 to $3,370, as the results raised concerns that the company would take a … Read more

UK workers on furlough falls below two million in the rush to reopen economy

The number of people on furlough fell below two million towards the end of June as the economic recovery gathered pace, official figures show.

Almost three million people have come off furlough since the restrictions started to ease in March, according to HM Revenue & Customs. In May last year about nine million people were furloughed.

More up-to-date figures suggest that use of the scheme fell again in July. The Office for National Statistics said that between a million and 1.5 million people, or 5 per cent of the workforce, were furloughed this month. However, its findings, based on interviews with about 5,000 businesses, have consistently undershot government figures.

“It’s fantastic to see businesses across the UK open, employees returning to work and the numbers of furloughed jobs falling to their lowest levels since the scheme began,” Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, said: “I’m proud our Plan for Jobs is working … Read more

Over 5m people in UK had parcels lost or stolen last year

More than 5 million people had a parcel lost or stolen last year, according to Citizens Advice, which has called on the government to start fining firms that keep losing deliveries as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the sector.

Currently, only Royal Mail faces fines for poor service, but the charity said the same sanctions should apply to the whole industry, after surveys showed customers had experienced a range of problems with deliveries. Ten parcels were lost or stolen during each minute over the last 12 months, it claimed.

Citizens Advice said that as many as 20 million people – 38% of all UK adults – had received a “Sorry you were out” card in the last year, despite being home at the time. It said time-strapped couriers had been leaving parcels in insecure places such as doorsteps and bins rather than waiting the extra few seconds for the … Read more