Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

I have noticed that In all the supermarkets I have been to there are Christmas decorations everywhere. There have been advent calenders and Christmas chocolates in the shops for a long time. As soon as Halloween was over all the Christmas decorations were all over!

So what do you think of this? Have you noticed this?


Aldi has profited as other stores struggle, the mix of good quality and cheap prices (with an ever-changing product line) has seen huge growth, expanding into the US as well as in the UK, Australia and Germany. That has led to founder camera-shy Karl Albrecht’s wealth rising to see him become one of the 10 richest people alive.

Last month German retailer Aldi posted a 200% increase in UK profits. The UK business made a profit after tax of £57.8 million in 2011, having made a loss of £56 million in the previous year.

The privately owned chain opened 29 new stores last year and plans to invest £181 million opening 40 new stores by the end of 2013. This will take the number of Aldi stores in UK to 500 and create 4,500 jobs.

But how has it turned its fortunes around in such challenging trading conditions?

Essentially it’s cashed in on the recession. With household budgets being squeezed and wages stagnating, competition among supermarkets is intense. After all, people still have to eat.

Shopping at budget supermarkets was seen by some as a source of shame for the middle classes but it’s this group in particular responsible for the increased profits of Aldi.

The chain has introduced some new products to lure the squeezed middle away from Waitrose and Whole Foods, and the subsequent stampede of well-heeled customers has sent profits soaring.

“We’ve seen a shift in the socio-demographics,” UK joint managing director Roman Heini told Marketing Week. “Obviously we have kept the existing customers … but we now also see more A and especially B customers in our existing stores and also in the stores we have opened this year so far.”

So who’s behind Aldi?

Aldi is short for “Albrecht Discount”, Albrecht being the Germany brothers behind the supermarket chain. In Germany the company is divided into two: Aldi Nord (North) and Aldi Süd (South). The individual groups were originally owned and managed by brothers Karl Albrecht and Theo Albrecht.

Karl Albrecht is the richest man in Germany with a personal wealth of €17.2 billion. Theo Albrecht was the second richest when he died in 2010.

However, Aldi began when the brothers were just a twinkle in their mother’s eye; their mother opened a small store in a suburb of Essen in 1913. The brothers took over their mother’s business in 1946, and by 1950 they owned 13 stores in the Ruhr Valley, Germany. By the time the company split into two in 1960 they had 300 shops.

Their first branch in the UK opened in Birmingham in 1990. International expansion is not just confined the UK – the two groups also have stores across Europe as well as in the US and Australia.

Aldi’s plan

Aldi’s business model centres mainly on selling its own high-quality brands at low prices. It specialises in staple items such as basic foods, toiletries and cheap household items.

Selling its own generic brands means the store isn’t paying a premium to a major manufacturer for a well-known brand – and so it can pass discounts on to shoppers. In comparison other supermarkets tend to have around a 50% split of own products versus other brands.

Although Aldi does sell other brand names, these are normally limited to a maximum of two for any item. Its “special buy” programme consists of stock negotiated at a discount from other brands and sold at a reduced price.

That keeps the German store cheaper than the alternatives. A study by Grocer magazine found that on a shopping basket of 33 items Aldi was 16% cheaper than Asda, 20% cheaper than Tesco and 40% cheaper than Waitrose.

And despite the bargain basement image, some Aldi products are better than pricier rivals. Last month Aldi came second in Good Housekeeping magazine’s Christmas pudding taste test. While Waitrose came first, luxury department store Fortnum & Mason came a disappointing 29th out of 32 puddings tested. Aldi’s pudding was a fraction of the price too; costing £7.99 compared to Fortnum & Mason’s £24.95.

Innovating to stay ahead

In response to more customers flocking through the doors over the past couple of years, Aldi has developed bakery, meat and fruit and vegetable ranges to stop people looking elsewhere for fresh produce. Revenue from fresh meat, fruit and vegetables all went up in 2011.

Heini says the store has focused on understanding what consumers want and is working with a growing number of UK suppliers to quality products at everyday low prices.

Two-thirds of its core range in the UK is now sourced from UK suppliers and Heini claims a week’s shopping costs about a third less than the big name supermarkets.

In-store merchandising is based largely on price and, although perhaps bland, it’s successful in communicating what the store is all about: Low prices. Aldi has also spent time researching what matters to customers in different parts of the world: While the Germans don’t mind a queue in the supermarket, Brits do – so in the UK the store operates a different system.

And while Aldi has a policy of not advertising in its home market of Germany – it has realised that mass media advertising is necessary in the UK.

Much of its success in 2011 can be attributed to its TV campaign: “Aldi. Like brands only cheaper”, which has the core message that Aldi’s private label is just as good as major brands but is significantly cheaper.

It’s a message that has stuck home in these tougher times and as long as the price stays low and the quality high, it’s a success story that’s set to run and run.


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Which is best Gold or Silver? Now if you are someone who likes to read up on the latest news you will know that if this world keeps on this track our currency could change to Silver and Gold. At the moment China are thinking about moving to the currency of Gold and Silver.

So which is best Gold or Silver?

Well Gold is for protecting your assets and Silver is for purchasing power. Protecting your assets means, if you invest in gold it is a tangible asset once you have got it, if the euro or dollar collapses Gold holds its value against currency deflation.

Purchasing power, this means you have power over what you buy if you have Silver. You can spend your silver on everyday items. But with Silver you have to pay VAT and with Gold you don’t have to.

So I cannot tell you what is best but all I can say is this; Gold will increase in value and so will silver. so when you buy gold and silver you won’t be spending money on nothing! How I think of it is you are buying money with money. When you have lets say £100 worth of Gold and you wait for the price rates to go up a bit you could actually be making money just by owning that Gold or Silver.

So it is up to you weather you but Gold or Silver I think that what ever you buy is still worth your money.

A typewriter has been made in a factory in North Wales, the makers say that it is the last typewriter ever made. The company Brother has made around 5.9 million typewriters since they opened in 1985 has given the last typewriter to the London Science Museum.

The museum said that the type writer signified the end to such a great technology that was so important to many people.

Edward Bryan, the worker who made the last type writer had worked at the factory since 1989.

“If people ever ask me, I can always say now, as a strange question, that I’ve made the last typewriter in the UK,” he said to the BBC.

He had been so good at making typewriters that he tried and succeeded in making one with his eyes closed.


For those typewriter lovers what do you think. will this make a big difference to the world? or will it just be forgotten about?


  • Image: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

    Yahoo! Finance UK – Image: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

The average person takes nine minutes in the shower and has five showers a week, new research from E.ON has found. Women also typically take longer in the shower than men, the report.

But by reducing your average shower time by two minutes, the average home could save £20 a year, on top of the environmental benefits of saving water and energy.

By timing our showers on a typical day, I found that my husband spent just seven minutes washing, while I lazed under the water for a whole 12 minutes.

Being slightly obsessed with finding ways to save on bills, I decided to cut more than two minutes off my daily shower. If my husband can manage just seven minutes then I decided I would not spend more than that.

After investing in a dedicated shower timer (and then replacing it with my existing egg timer because it was easier to work), I was ready to go.

For the last three days, I have set a timer for seven minutes, thinking that at least that way I’m not costing more than my other half. I thought it would be easy.

It’s not. Getting clean and getting out in seven minutes flat means there’s no time for staring into space, vaguely wondering whether to have muesli or porridge for breakfast. There’s definitely no time for using that ‘3 minute miracle’ conditioner I like.

It’s bad enough waking up to an alarm, but having to leap out of the shower at the sound of a bell is even worse.

A price worth paying

I doubt very much that I will keep the timer in the bathroom. I also don’t think the financial savings are that impressive – £20 a year by cutting back two minutes in the shower isn’t actually that much.

For a household where everyone showers every day, it’s less than 0.05p a day. I like small savings that add up, but this one doesn’t seem that impressive to me.

However, I do like the idea of cutting down on wasted water from an environmental point of view.

According to the Environment Agency, the average UK family uses 500 litres of water a day, including communal appliances – that equates to 1.5 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year.

That’s quite a strong argument in favour of cutting down. In short, I’m going to ditch the alarm but I’m also going to make a concerted effort to speed up my showers.

Ways to cut water use

Even though the savings made by cutting two minutes off your shower aren’t that huge, reducing water use in your home more generally can save money.

Here are some tips for cutting back:

Fix your drips – According to the Energy Saving Trust, a dripping tap can waste more than 5,500 litres of water a year.

Be more efficient – Attach a flow regulator to your shower and cut the water it uses (Don’t try this with electric showers though as they could be damaged).

Reuse unused water – Don’t throw away leftover water, instead, poor them into houseplants. The same goes for running the tap to get it hot – catch the water and use it elsewhere.

Don’t run the tap unnecessarily – Turn it off while you brush your teeth or shave. Also, most modern showers are hot straight away, so don’t run them before getting in. Consider turning off the shower while lathering up – and use a shower puff or sponge as they lather up really quickly.

Buy efficient models – When you come to replace your bathroom fittings, consider investing in more efficient models like low-flush and duel-flush toilets – saving up to six litres per flush! More efficient appliances like washing machines also use less water and electricity.

Ask for help – Some water companies will issue free cistern hippos and other water-saving devices, get in touch with yours to see if it offers any help.

Turn down the temperature – This isn’t to suggest you should have a freezing shower, but turning down the dial a few notches can save real money and you’ll soon stop noticing. Also, it’s better for your hair and skin.

Think about where else you can shower. If you work out or go for a regular run, you might need more than one shower a day. But if you could time your fitness regime so you shower at the gym, the pool, or even at work if there are facilities, you could really make a difference to your water and heating bills.

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is that our money just disappearing? what do you think?

Apple Stock Returns to Where It Was Before iPhone 5


Apple’s new iPhone 5 offers up a huge selection of apps, a gorgeous screen and amongst the best design around, but starting at £519 SIM-free, it’s very much the expensive option.

Luckily there are some great cheaper alternatives out there running Google’s Android, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and even Apple’s iOS operating systems.

The T-Mobile Vivacity is the cheapest kid on the block offering smartphone brains for just £50. The Nokia Lumia 710 delivers a slick user interface for around £100. For £200 Samsung’s Galaxy Ace 2 gives you music, gaming performance and a sharp shooting camera.

The Orange San Diego also comes in at £200 and packs a gorgeous 4-inch screen, perfect for video. Finally, the iPhone 3GS is for all those mobile users who want Apple, only Apple and nothing but Apple, and all for £159. Our in-depth reviews should help you pick which is best for you.

T-Mobile Vivacity £50
The most cost-effective phone in our list comes in at just £50. While the T-Mobile Vivacity may look like an iPhone. it’s actually built by ZTE and runs Android. It doesn’t offer up super speed or aluminium design, but it does have a sharp WVGA screen, a 5-megapixel camera and offers access to all the apps on the Google Play store. Not bad for £50.

Nokia Lumia 710 from £100
Windows Phone is the operating system most comparable to iOS in terms of visual polish and ease of use. That you can get a Nokia Lumia 710 for as little as £100 if you look around, is fantastic considering it’s got a faster processor than an iPhone 4, a sharp 3.7-inch screen and a 5-megapixel camera. The icing on the cake comes in the form of Nokia’s own apps. These include Nokia Mix Radio for free offline music, Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive, turning your budget smartphone into a fully functioning offline GPS with turn by turn voice instructions.

Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 from £200
If an iPhone 5 is too expensive, the obvious alternative is a Samsung Galaxy S3. They’re not exactly cheap though. For some of the key functionality of the Galaxy S3 for around £200 (or £15 per month), the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 comes in highly recommended. Loaded with a dual-core processor and a crisp screen, it also offers Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface for that Samsung Galaxy experience. With free access for a limited time to Samsung’s Official Top 40 music app, good gaming performance and a great camera, the Galaxy Ace 2 makes for the best teen-targeted phone in our list.

Orange San Diego from £200
One of the key reasons iPhone fans are upgrading to the iPhone 5 is the screen. With additional size and a longer aspect ratio, its 4-inch display is better for movies, games and optimised apps. In the Android world though, there’s a phone called the Orange San Diego. Also packing a very sharp 4-inch display and a virtually identical aspect ratio to that of the iPhone 5, it’s a great buy for just £200. Powered by an Intel processor, it’s powerful enough to handle HD videos and 3D games and even delivers an HDMI port, so you can easily plug it into your TV and enjoy your mobile movies on a big screen.

iPhone 3GS from £159
If you’ve read all our recommendations and you still want an iPhone for under £200, then there really is just one option out there, the iPhone 3GS. Available on eBay for as little as £159, despite inferior hardware to the iPhone 5, the 3GS is still getting the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 6 albeit with tapered functionality. What do we mean by ‘tapered functionality’? When compared to its bigger screened brother, the iPhone 5, Apple’s iPhone 3GS will forgo the likes of Panorama, Siri and Flyover, as well as turn-by-turn navigation in maps. The 3GS will still support most of the apps out now and offer tight integration with the iTunes ecosystem, not to mention deliver Apple’s slick design and stunning build quality.

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wow this is some great news. looks like the original i phone makers are going to be run out of town. share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Supermarkets use every trick in the book to part you from your hard-earned cash. But you don’t have to passively submit and now there’s a new way to fight back.

Image: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Sometimes, it can seem like supermarkets are the enemy. Despite their occasional bargains and loyalty schemes, they want every penny of yours they can get.

It’s understandable that they need to make a profit, but when they appear to be wilfully misleading shoppers it’s harder to forgive.

So I was disappointed to read a new report from Which? that showed almost three-quarters of Brits feel that supermarkets are trying to mislead them by using confusing pricing practices.

Because we’ve all seen it done, in every supermarket. The law requires that retailers provide both a selling price and a unit price, to help customers compare the true cost of a product.

So, if you’re trying to work out whether the bigger packet is better value for money, there should be an easily comparable unit price on the shelf.

But all too often these comparisons are misleading or difficult to work out, often when the larger packet isn’t better value. One is priced per tin, the other per 100g, for example.

Which? has been encouraging people to tweet photos of misleading labels – MP Thomas Brake found beer advertised at £1.26 a metre. Another irate customer found tins priced at £1.03, or four for £1. What a great bargain!

Fighting back

One of the most frustrating tricks is when a supermarket advertises a price as though it’s a bargain when actually it’s the same cost as elsewhere or even a price hike.

But there’s a great new way to keep on top of such supermarket swindles. The website is a good way to compare your basket of shopping in different supermarkets to find the cheapest deal.

In fact, it claims that customers save an average of £17 every single time they use the site to compare shopping. And it just got even more useful.

Thanks to the website’s newest tool, customers can see the price of an item over the previous year.

If you look at the graph in the bottom right of the screen, it shows that these beans are a genuinely good deal from this supermarket, the price has actually fallen. You can also compare the prices to other shops, to see if the product is cheaper elsewhere.

This allows customers to see the real value of an offer, and avoid getting ripped off. has also launched a ‘Savvy Buys’ section of the website, which highlights products that are at least 30% lower than average.

Getting wise to the tricks

Sadly, supermarkets will continue to encourage extra spending in their stores, using tricks as varied as enticing smells to special offers that see you buying more than you need.

You can read about some of the biggest scams out there in our article ‘The seven biggest supermarket scams’.

But there are ways to overcome these money-making methods, such as buying your fruit, veg and meat at your local market and only visiting the aisles you need.

You can read more about ways to beat their manipulating tricks in our article ‘A fanatic’s guide to supermarket savings’.

Planning healthy meals cheaply

One of the reasons it’s so hard to keep the cost of food down is that most people want to feed their families the best they can afford.

But by cooking from ingredients rather than buying ready-made items, it’s possible to keep the food bill down without sacrificing quality.

My favourite tool for this is the NHS’ Change 4 Life meal planner. If you need some inspiration for cheap, tasty recipes, this is incredibly useful.

It’s full of recipes that cost around £5 to make but feed four adults, and you can plan a week’s worth of meals in one go.

Once you’ve chosen your meals for the week, it will even email you a shopping list, so you don’t buy more than you need.
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P.S what do you think about all of this? super markets trying to tick us out of our money? leave your thought is a comment.