Established in 1997, the Tesco banking business employs thousands of staff in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle.
Established in 1997, the Tesco banking business employs thousands of staff in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle.

Edinburgh-based Tesco Bank’s chief executive Gerry Mallon described the acquisition of Ageas’s holding in Tesco Underwriting as a “significant step” in the financial division’s development.

Tesco Bank will acquire Ageas’s 50.1 per cent stake in the underwriting joint venture for a total of £104 million plus Ageas’s part of any change in net asset value realised by Tesco Underwriting from 30 June until closing of the deal. In addition, Ageas will receive a reimbursement of an internal loan for an amount of £21m.

The bank said all parties would work closely “to ensure a smooth transition” ahead of the formal change in control, which is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2021.

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Bosses said the partnership had been valuable for both Tesco Bank and Ageas since the joint venture was established ten years ago, underwriting Tesco Bank-branded car and home insurance policies that have “proved popular with customers”. In 2014, the partnership was extended for a further seven years, to 2021.

The bank added: “This investment is in line with Tesco Bank’s strategy of focusing on propositions which better meet the needs of Tesco shoppers, and builds on the unique offering insurance customers already benefit from as part of the wider Tesco family, such as the guaranteed Clubcard discount.”

Ageas is to focus on developing its core business and broker distribution channel.

Mallon said: “[This] announcement is a significant step in Tesco Bank’s development which underlines our commitment to the insurance market and our customers.

“We look forward to doing more of what we know our customers want – offering products that have a strong emphasis on value,

Dollar General Corp., the rapidly growing discount chain with over 16,300 stores dotting the rural American landscape, wants to attract more high-income shoppers looking to splurge.

The company plans to open a new brand of stores called Popshelf that mostly sells things shoppers don’t need but might want, such as party supplies, home decor or beauty products. Stores will be in the suburbs of larger cities, with two planned for the Nashville, Tenn., area in the next few weeks and 30 by the end of next year. Items will be priced low, mostly under $5, but designed to appeal to women from households that earn as much as $125,000 a year.

DOLLAR TREE TO HIRE OVER 25,000 EMPLOYEES NATIONWIDE

A record number of stores closed in the first half of the year and 18 retailers filed for chapter 11 protection, putting this year on a pace for new highs for bankruptcies and liquidations. While many pandemic lockdowns and temporary closures have been lifted, bricks-and-mortar chains are bracing for much of the spending that moved online to stay there.

Dollar General expects even cash-strapped shoppers to like the idea of “treating themselves without the guilt associated with overspending,” said Emily Taylor, Dollar General’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. Executives started working on the new chain about two years ago, but the company isn’t changing course because of the pandemic, Ms. Taylor said.

Many of the categories Popshelf will sell have experienced an uptick in sales during the pandemic, such as home decor, and shoppers are likely to be hunting for bargains in a weakened economy, she said. “The need for this store is very relevant now

The combination of a down economy, the pandemic and election uncertainty are causing the youngest consumers, Generations Y and Z to be pulling back on spending. That does not bode well for retailers in the run-up to the holiday season.

Bloomberg news announced in September that the U.S. unemployment rate was 7.9 percent, more than double what it was last year. But among those ages 16 to 24 that straddle Generations Y and Z, the unemployment rate is a staggering 13.5 percent, according to data from the Labor Department released last week.  

A new Piper Sandler survey suggests that teen spending hit its lowest levels in two decades. While it is hardly surprising that they spent less on food and events during the coronavirus pandemic, even apparel spending was down 11% from last fall. And there is plenty of reason to suggest things could get worse among our youngest spending cohorts. This is particularly troubling given that it was younger spenders that powered the economy out of the 2008 recession.   

Easing the Pay Pain

Retailers are working overtime to reengage the Generation Z demographic, which still wants to touch and feel the goods. Eighty-one percent of this cohort group prefer the instore experience, according to buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) leader Afterpay. As a result, retailers and the fast-growing BNPL industry are mounting a multifront, seasonal attack aimed at this valuable consumer, on and offline.

Two major announcements hit the wires on October 6th introducing new relationships between two major BNPL players with a couple retail powerhouses. First, Australian based Afterpay which claims 10 million active users globally, announced a partnership with Simon Property Group to promote in-store shopping ahead