Harvey Jones has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Harvey Jones | Saturday, 27th February, 2021 See all posts by Harvey Jones Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we’re offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our ‘no quibbles’ 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee. Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. One of the things I like most about investing in UK shares is that they pay income as well as provide capital growth. Many investors underestimate the importance of this, especially when starting out.I currently reinvest all of the dividends I receive straight back into my portfolio, to buy extra stock. This way, I am loading up on even more UK shares without having to dip into my own pocket. What’s not to like about that?5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…When I retire, I plan to draw those dividends as income, to top up whatever I get from the State Pension and my company schemes. By doing this, I hope to leave the underlying capital untouched, and pass it on to my loved ones when I die.I’m buying UK shares to retire onIn retirement, I plan to work to something called the 4% rule. This states that if you draw 4% of your portfolio as income, and leave the rest to grow, your money should never run out. I’ve set myself a target of generating a passive income of £24,000 a year from my portfolio. What does that mean in practice?Under the 4% rule, I would need UK shares worth £600,000 to generate income of £24,000 a year. This is a tall order, although plenty of ISA investors have done far better than that. The UK is now home to thousands of ISA millionaires, who would generate a minimum £40,000 a year from their portfolios.To save £600,000, an investor who started at age 25 would need to put away £250 a month, assuming their portfolio grew at an average of 7% a year. In fact, that would give them £640,000 by age 65. If they didn’t start saving until age 35, they would have to invest £350 a month.As these figures to demonstrate, to generate a passive income of £24,000 a year from UK shares, it pays to start early (and stick with it).My retirement is still 15 years away so I couldn’t say whether I will hit my goal. Even if I fall short, I will have more money for my retirement than if I had never tried at all. By investing in a Stocks and Shares ISA, the dividends I draw will be entirely free of income tax, which is a real boost.I hope my passive income is enoughAlso, that income will come on top of any State Pension I am due. Currently, the new State Pension pays a maximum of £9,110 a year. If I added that to my £24,000 target, I reckon I should have enough to live on. My only worry is that we might have a burst of inflation, so that £24,000 doesn’t have anywhere near the buying power as it does today.On the plus side, thanks to my ISA allowance, nearly all of my income from UK shares should be free of income tax. Also National Insurance, which Britons no longer pay once they reach State pension age, currently 66.I’m still some way short of the money I need. I’ll aim to put that right, by going shopping for more UK shares. The high-calibre small-cap stock flying under the City’s radar Enter Your Email Address Like this one maybe. 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Angola State Prison was the 18,000-acre Angola Plantation before the Civil War, named after the African country from which many of the enslaved people in Louisiana were kidnapped. The plantation was worked then by enslaved Africans and now by imprisoned workers of African descent.Incarcerated workers in Louisiana’s notorious Angola Prison began a hunger strike early Feb. 17. The reason: Prison officials refused to release them back into the prison population after they served their sentence in solitary for a rule infraction.According to The Lens, an independent nonprofit news outlet for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the hunger strikers reported that in segregation, they are kept in their cells for over 23 hours a day and are only let out to shower. But even that hour, some said, has no guarantee.“We gotta fight for a shower,” striker Percy Hawthorne told The Lens. Hawthorne had been held in disciplinary segregation since early November for “defiance” and “aggravated disobedience,” although his punishment was only supposed to be 10 days. Another striker, Frederick Ross, told The Lens that for most of the time he was in disciplinary segregation, he was not allowed to purchase items from the canteen. “I have no property, no books, no television, no nothing.”Miguel told Workers World that he joined the hunger strike because “I was sentenced to 90 days of isolation confinement which resulted in me staying over four months. This was over 30 days more. I do not know if the inmates are currently on hunger strike but during this time, I was also on hunger strike for about three days.”A prisoner who needed to remain anonymous told Workers World that in 2020, he was in the same solitary tier where the hunger strike began. “After doing time in solitary, men are totally stressed out. There’s no TV, no radios; showers are seldom, and maybe we get a phone call once a month. Mail is haphazard, with a letter from Baton Rouge sometimes taking a month to be delivered. “The guards are lazy and hateful, so sometimes fires are set to get their attention. Prisoners get into fights. One guy stomped another’s head, and he died on the tier. The stress is everywhere, but officials try to cover up the killings.” A 2019 report by the Vera Institute of Justice found that between January 2015 and November 2016, “on average, 17.4% of people incarcerated in Louisiana’s state-operated prisons were housed in some form of segregated housing, which is approximately 3.9 times the estimated national average of 4.5%.”On June 11, 2010, the New York Times reported that “Angola is the largest maximum-security prison in the United States with 6,300 prisoners and 1,800 staff, including corrections officers, janitors, maintenance and wardens.”According to the ACLU of Louisiana, Louisiana has the highest rate of prison deaths per capita in the country. The state has more people serving life sentences without parole than Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas combined.Solitary WatchSolitary Watch investigates, documents and disseminates information on the widespread use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails. In 2019, this nonprofit national watchdog group published a report on solitary confinement in Louisiana, based on the largest survey ever taken by people held in solitary confinement. The report told “chilling stories of abuse, deprivation and soul-crushing loneliness.”According to solitarywatch.org, solitary confinement in Louisiana is “deeply rooted in the history of racial subjugation and captivity in the South, which begins with slavery and stretches through convict leasing and Jim Crow to the modern era of mass incarceration.”Prisoner rights advocates with the Louisiana Stop Solitary Coalition are slamming the department for failing to treat inmates humanely. “Having served 44 plus years in solitary confinement, I am fully aware of the brutality of solitary. Hunger strikes are brutal; so I know from personal experience how desperate these men must be to resort to this,” said Albert Woodfox, a part of the Stop Solitary Coalition. Woodfox was one of the Angola 3, three men wrongfully accused of murder held for decades at the prison. He was released from Angola in 2016 and has written a book, appropriately named “Solitary.”Contact Warden Nettles to demand the strikers be immediately released — phone (225) 655-4411. The strikers want guarantees in writing that they will be released from solitary and moved to appropriate and safe conditions. While the issue that precipitated the hunger strike was not releasing men when their time was completed for rule violations, there are so many, many other crimes being committed against the incarcerated workers at Angola. Each of these crimes by the Louisiana Department of Corrections would more than justify a strike.No one should have to go on a hunger strike to be treated justly. We demand: Immediately End Solitary Confinement! Tear Down the Prison Walls! Free Them All! FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this
WhatsApp By Digital AIM Web Support – February 19, 2021 Previous articlePressure can be a concern with baseball’s top prospectsNext articleTahoe setting is ‘mic drop’ moment for outdoor NHL games Digital AIM Web Support Westlake Chemical Corporation Declares Quarterly Dividend Facebook Pinterest WhatsApp TAGS Local NewsBusiness Twitter Pinterest Facebook Twitter
Calls for maternity restrictions to be lifted at LUH Over 2,800 people spent time on trolleys and chairs at LUH during 2015 WhatsApp NPHET ‘positive’ on easing restrictions – Donnelly Three factors driving Donegal housing market – Robinson Previous articleFarmers affected by flooding have two weeks to apply to new assistance fundNext articleRenewed speculation that Paddy Harte Jnr may be added to FG election ticket admin GAA decision not sitting well with Donegal – Mick McGrath WhatsApp Donegal Deputy Pearse Doherty has said the hospital overcrowding crisis is a national scandal, with latest figures showing a total of 2,814 patients spent time on trolleys, chairs and additional beds at Letterkenny University Hospital during 2015The health minister says his Department is to hold new talks with the INMO and HSE to try and avert next week’s strike. Leo Varadkar says the strike will put patient safety at risk – and the numbers on trolleys are down compared to last year.However, Deputy Doherty says promises made last year have come to nothing……………Audio Playerhttp://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/pearsetrollies.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. By admin – January 8, 2016 Twitter Pinterest Twitter Pinterest Homepage BannerNews Google+ Guidelines for reopening of hospitality sector published Facebook Nine Til Noon Show – Listen back to Wednesday’s Programme Google+ Facebook RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR
News UpdatesDelhi HC Issues Notice In Plea Seeking A Direction To Be Issued To All E-Commerce Websites To Publish Country Of Origin Of The Products Sold By Them Karan Tripathi30 Jun 2020 10:44 PMShare This – xDelhi High Court has issued notice in a plea seeking a direction to be issued to the e-commerce websites to publish the country of origin along with the products in order to promote selling of goods manufactured in India. The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Hari Shankar has issued notices to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry as well as to various…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginDelhi High Court has issued notice in a plea seeking a direction to be issued to the e-commerce websites to publish the country of origin along with the products in order to promote selling of goods manufactured in India. The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Hari Shankar has issued notices to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry as well as to various e-commerce websites such as Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, and others. Filed by Mr Amit Shukla, the petition seeks a direction to be issued to all the e-commerce websites to comply with the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules by mentioning the country of origin/manufacturer along with the product. It is the case of the Petitioner that in 2017, the said Rules were amended to make it mandatory for e-commerce websites to publish the country of origin. However, the said rule has not been enforced so far. ‘During these times, when Indians are motivated to buy products which are domestically manufactured, compliance with the Packaged Commodities Rules become extremely significant’, the Petitioner argued. In light of the border tension with China and the adverse effect on the economy due to COVID19, the Petitioner argues that the e-commerce websites must mandatorily comply with the aforesaid Rules in order to be in sync with the intent of the government to promote Indian goods. The Petitioner also highlighted the recent notification of the Ministry of Commerce dated June 23, 2020, which directs the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) to enter the Country of Origin while registering all new products on GeM. The Petitioner has submitted that the economy of the entire nation would suffer in the event the e-commerce websites continue not to mention the Manufacturing country / Country of Origin of products on the e-commerce websites. The petition states that: ‘the rights of the Consumers shall be gravely prejudiced in the event the E-Commerce entities are not directed to conspicuously display the Country of Origin in the products offered for sale in e-commerce platforms.’ Therefore, the Petitioner also seeks a direction to be issued to the Ministry of Commerce to ensure that the e-commerce entities first display the products manufactured in India followed by other products manufactured by other countries for the product searched by the consumer. Next Story
Government called to account over judicial ‘diversity’On 7 Jan 2003 in Personnel Today Despite government promises of a shake-up, the judiciary is still largelymade up of privileged, white, elderly men, according to a survey by the LabourResearch Department. The survey of all 774 judges sitting in English and Welsh courts found that67 per cent went to public school, 60 per cent attended Oxford or Cambridge universities,the UK’s highest court remains an all-male all-white bastion, the average ageof the judges is over 60, only 8 per cent of judges are women, and fewer than 1per cent are from an ethnic minority group. Authors of the study said that after more than five years of Labour rule,and considering its promised to end ‘old boy’ networks for the appointment ofjudges, the judiciary does not look very different compared with 10 years ago. In fact, the trend in the highest courts has been to increase the proportionof those with public school backgrounds. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed.
There are few people who thought Donald Trump could ever directly damage the UK property industry, but in one way he did yesterday after his £141 billion threatened trade war with China helped wipe millions off property PLC share prices.China imports approximately half a trillion dollars’ worth of goods into the US every year, while American manufacturers only export $100 billion worth of goods to China, it is claimed.Although the FTSE 250 index dipped by just 1% yesterday, but more elsewhere around the world’s markets, the trade war jitters dragged down stocks in the UK’s main property industry PLCs disproportionately.Unusually, all except Belvoir and the Property Franchise Group experienced dropping share prices yesterday including, significantly, Purplebricks.Its share price reduced the second most at -3.38% during yesterday’s trading, reflecting the company’s exposure to both the UK and the US.Countrywide’s share price dropped by 2.56% while OnTheMarket took the biggest hit with a 3.38% reduction.Donald Trump’s mounting war of words with China over its trade deficit with the US also helped drive Foxtons share price down to another all-time low of 60.6p, even less than its 12th June rock bottom price of 62p.Retirement sharesBut the biggest loser today on the London stock exchange was retirement home builder McCarthy & Stone, whose share price dipped by 17.24% yesterday, helped by plummeting profits at the company.This, departing boss Clive Fenton says, has been created by economic uncertainty and weaker property prices the South East.Read more about other recent share price plunges for the industry’s big PLC hitters. London Stock Exchange Purplebricks Countrywide Donald Trump Foxtons June 20, 2018Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Home » News » Trump’s trade war with China wipes millions off value of industry big names previous nextTrump’s trade war with China wipes millions off value of industry big namesDropping share prices around the world disproportionally drag down share prices in UK property PLCs, in particular Purplebricks, Countrywide and OnTheMarket.Nigel Lewis20th June 201801,247 Views
Dear Editor:The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People- Hoboken Branch (NAACP) is questioning the validity of Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise’s decision to renew the County’s 287(g) agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).The county’s 287(g) agreement explicitly states that the Hudson County Department of Corrections “shall follow ICE’s civil immigration enforcement priorities,” which means that Hudson County is now legally obligated to carry out Trump’s executive order.According to a New Jersey Opinion article, DeGise falsely claimed that Hudson has the right under law to “continue to operate 287(g) under the Obama standard.” He was either deliberately lying or has no idea how 287(g) works. Hudson County Corrections Officers are now legally bound, deputized agents of the Trump Administration’s “deportation force.”The reason DeGise decided to renew the partnership with ICE was for the $20.5 million the county received in 2015 from the federal government for incarcerating immigrant detainees. The county profits financially, when, rather than being released, immigrants whose criminal charges have been dismissed or otherwise resolved continue to be held on immigration matters. It seems that Hudson County is in a race to fill empty criminal defendant beds with immigrant detainees to collect federal cash. Yet DeGise mentioned none of this in his address.DeGise falsely claimed that the reach of 287(g) is limited to a “tiny number of very dangerous individuals”; falsely claimed that the priority enforcement standard set by President Obama are still in effect’; falsely claimed that Hudson County has the right to continue to operate 287(g) under the Obama standards and failed to disclose that 287(g) is a tool to funnel immigrants into detention beds to fill the county’s purse.Jersey City, the largest city in Hudson County, recently regained its title as the most diverse city in the United States. Many of these residents are immigrants and are extremely fearful of being deported. Jersey City with a population of 264,000, ranked No. 2 in ethnic-racial diversity and No. 1 in linguistics.When news that the president had signed orders to target cities where local leaders refuse to hand over immigrants who have entered the nation illegally, Mayor Steve Fulop said Jersey City stands by its immigrant population.Recently, DeGise endorsed Fulop on his re-election bid for mayor. This endorsement has residents wondering if DeGise is going to lock up immigrants as they arrive in Jersey City because he has to adhere to 287(g) if the county wants federal dollars.The NAACP and Hudson County residents demand that the county immediately end 287(g) and its immigrant detention contract with ICE because under it our county is legally obligated to carry out the racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim policies of Donald Trump.Sincerely,Eugene G. Drayton, PresidentHoboken Branch NAACP
Last month’s preliminary Competition Commission (CC) report into the supply of groceries in the UK contained serious flaws and omissions, which reflect an ignorance of a range of hidden elements affecting trading in town and city centres. It even encouraged the development of more edge-of and out-of-town stores in areas that may already be saturated with superstores and hypermarkets. While retail bakers may have been dismayed by the findings, one question remained unposed: why are independent French bakers thriving in spite of excessive competition from out-of-town hypermarkets, while their UK counterparts are not?Over the past 37 years, marketing, management and economic consultant MPC has conducted market research into out-of-town shopping in France and the UK. Independents face huge competition from hypermarkets and superstores in French cities such as Toulouse, Nancy and Evreux. In fact, town-centre trade has dropped in these places from anywhere between 13% and 27% for small supermarkets and convenience stores. In spite of this, we have found that bakers and other specialist food retailers have not been affected. In fact, the majority are thriving.Why is this? In the past, French bakers had an advantage over their UK counterparts as government set minimum prices for bakery goods, a system no longer in place. But our research found the reason for their success is the French do bakery retailing well. The quality of flours and other ingredients used, the care taken over presentation and the standards of hygiene are, on the whole, exemplary.This enables relatively small outfits to compete against high-quality hypermarket and superstore bakeries. The type of locations in town centres plays a part, but this is not as crucial with a bakery as with other retail outlets – the smell of baked bread wafting down high streets tends to extend catchment areas.taking the fight to the enemy’s doorstepIndeed, it has been shown that French independent bakery outlets can succeed despite being located in the jaws of a French out-of-town hypermarket commercial centre. This is defined as 80-100,000sq ft of selling area with 40 checkouts and 10-20 small independent shops running adjacent to the mall outside the main store.Toulouse has always been regarded as having more out-of-town retail competition than any other city in Europe. There, we asked a bakery why it chose to trade on such a competitive site. The answer was that the ingredients of the tarte aux pommes in the hypermarket were entirely different from the quality of its own flour and other ingredients.MPC also researched the competitive effect on town-centre trade in Nancy (population at the time, 1973, 130,000) after three out-of-town hypermarkets with a total selling area of 160,000sq ft opened in the space of two years. Contrary to what many local chambers of trade might expect, independent bakery and specialist food traders within the town centre were not seriously affected.While our research findings in Nancy and Toulouse might appear dated (they were conducted in 1973 and 1994 respectively), the premise of the research holds good, as what we saw there shows the same pattern of competition that we see in the UK now. Indeed, this research could only now take place in a UK town or city that had no hypermarkets or superstores – and thus competition could be assessed through new openings.So, while UK bakery retailers should be able to thrive under the same conditions, many compare poorly with the French. So too do farmers’ markets, which still have much to learn, particularly with regards to hygiene and presentation. It is apparent that the French public are better informed about the quality of the food they eat than their UK counterparts.But the CC report appears to encourage more hyper-markets and superstores in already saturated areas, and this could harm town-centre bakery trade. MPC is now analysing 1,800 towns and cities in the UK with populations in excess of 4,000; latest research shows that saturation levels from hypermarket and superstore openings are now well in excess of those in Toulouse.For example Hereford, population 56,000, has four outlets that fit MPC’s hypermarket definition (see [http://www.tinyurl.com/yrwsve]), each with ample parking/selling areas. All four are within six minutes’ driving time from the centre and within 12 minutes’ driving time of each other. The ratio of saturation here is 32% higher than in Toulouse.drowning, not wavingWorryingly, the CC appears unaware of a host of hidden commercial factors around out-of-town trading. There is no appreciation or admission that saturation levels have already been reached in a number of areas across the UK. There is no mention of free car-parking at supermarkets or, indeed, the effects on traffic congestion and carbon emissions caused by opening new stores in already saturated areas. Worse still, the CC report does not even provide a definition for hypermarkets, superstores and supermarkets.It can be overlooked that 27% of households don’t own a car and that many people find town centres more convenient. Then there are households without a car in villages (9%) and town-fringe areas (19%). For them it is vitally important to retain small local stores. This point was ignored by the CC.There is hope for the many town-centre bakeries – providing they take up the challenge of improved quality, presentation and location – of emulating their French counterparts in succeeding in the face of hypermarket competition.It is crucial that the public understand the issues, but these same issues should be made apparent to local authority planning departments. It is not sur-prising that so many planning approvals have been given for edge-of or out-of-town developments in town centres where saturation levels have already been exceeded. Usually the planners have been blamed, but clearly they need to be educated.Sanity must prevail to ensure that, in future, all towns and cities that have reached hypermarket and superstore saturation levels are protected from further edge-of or out-of-town development. There really could be a great future for UK bakery retailers – provided these lessons are learned. n—-=== High street woes ===A new report this week from The British Shops and Stores Association, which asked shoppers about spending habits, found that:73% thought high streets are “a vital part of a healthy society”;42% believed their local high street had declined in quality over the past five years, citing a lack of variety, rising vandalism and a glut of charity shops;52% said they would shop more locally If there were a greater variety of stores.Over 300 of the 4,500-strong small stores that make up the BSSA’s membership have closed in the past year. A Federation of Small Businesses’ survey of Scottish food shops also revealed that, since 1998, one in six bakery shops had been forced out of business.
Last week Starbucks unveiled its new-look store on Conduit Street in London. Well, a look that’s not supposed to be a look. A look that reflects its newfound back-to-roots indie outlook. So how does it, erm, look?In two words, ’sustainable’ and ’local’. A facelift was long overdue. A recent review of coffee shops, published by The Local Data Company, said Starbucks was “entering a period of introspection” as it took stock of its strategy. “The uniform ambience doesn’t seem so appealing these days and, now the bubble has been pricked, real questions are being asked about all premium coffee shops,” it stated.The chain has haemorrhaged stores, while rival Costa has continued its rapid growth. Now, Starbucks plans to open a number of stores next year, but the focus will be on refitting 100 outlets in 2010 at a cost of £25m, matching the 100 it refitted last year.The aim is to reconnect the store to its heritage, with locally focused fittings and a less uniform approach. Tim Pfeiffer, senior vice-president, global design, flew into the UK last week to launch the plan, saying there are “several levels of environmental initiatives that we have pretty much embedded in the design going forwards”.”We wanted to embed the character of the neighourhood in this and really elevate the offering to the customer, with the overall vibe of the store, creating an environment that really is very much more bespoke and one-off. We wanted to elevate the overall value of what Starbucks represents,” says Pfeiffer.A sense of repurposeIt’s all about recycled materials and cosy meeting spaces in a library setting. For example, the flagship store features a large meeting table made from repurposed steel. “It is beautiful, but it also meets a real need,” explains a spokesperson. “Customers want to hold meetings here whether it’s a book club, a mum’s group or business people using our free Wi-Fi to hold meetings everything is here for a reason.”There is also a return to the original ’heritage’ logo, introduced in 1971; there’s a lower-profile bar to improve interactivity with baristas; and they’ve even improved the coffee offer, with new Mastrena espresso machines. So has Starbucks done enough to stage a fightback?”The look is fine but the global-local thing is too much of an oxymoron for it to be real,” believes BB’s resident shop design expert, Richard Hamilton of Agile Space. While using windfall wood and salvaged materials are all well and good, will Starbucks be able to sustain this level of detail in all of its shop fits? “It’s a move on from the current store look, but the fortunes of Starbucks won’t be resolved by installing £800 Finnish bent plywood lampshades.”Sustaining this level of design detail will be difficult, he adds. “The cost implication will be much greater given its past cookie-cutter approach. The amount needing to be invested in sourcing, design and fit-out will also increase. It will be interesting to witness how and if this happens.” Of course, the one-off indie-style is nothing new. When Pret tried this approach three years ago, the hassle of operating stores with different finishes required everything from varied cleaning materials to light bulbs, causing problems with maintenance and upkeep. Meanwhile, the chain has brand perception problems to overcome. “Unfortunately, the Starbucks brand has become synonymous for me with dirty stores and a place for students to hang out for the day,” says Hamilton.A spokesperson for Starbucks responded, saying that it had worked on the cleanliness of stores and that customer satisfaction ratings were improving. She also said cost savings from green initiatives help pay the increased costs. “Yes, this approach is more expensive than adopting a one-size-fits-all policy. However, we are satisfied that the investment makes sound business sense. For example, higher green construction techniques will be repaid through lower energy and water bills.” The challenge will be not to accidentally slip back into identikit shopfit mode, especially as “all the refits will be inspired by the look, feel and principles of the new design approach”.