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Retailers hit by worst non-food sales growth on record
Sales of non-food items grew at the slowest pace since records began as families chose days out over shopping, the British Retail Consortium has said. Non-food sales rose by just 0.2% in the year to October, the weakest growth since the BRC began measuring the category in January 2011. The BRC said the figures would give retailers “cause for concern” in the run up to Christmas. Clothing sales were “particularly hard hit”, the BRC said. Total retail sales, including food, rose just 0.2% last month, compared with 2.4% last year. On a like-for-like basis, which excludes new store openings, sales were down 1%.
London’s Oxford Street could be traffic-free by December 2018, says mayor
Large parts of London’s Oxford Street could be pedestrianised by December 2018, under plans put forward by London Mayor Sadiq Khan. About half a mile of the street from Oxford Circus to Orchard Street could become a “traffic-free pedestrian boulevard”, the mayor said. He said he hoped it would coincide with the arrival of the Elizabeth Line in central London in December next year. More than four million people visit Oxford Street each week. All east-west traffic will be stopped but some north-south routes will be maintained, according to the plans.
PM plans new ministerial code after Priti Patel apology
Theresa May wants the ministerial code of conduct to be tightened – after it was revealed Priti Patel held secret meetings with Israeli officials. The international development secretary apologised for holding 12 meetings, including one with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, while on a private holiday. She was “reminded of her obligations” as a cabinet minister, Mrs May said. The BBC understands Ms Patel suggested some of Britain’s aid budget go to the Israeli army, after the visit.
British carmakers worst hit by sales slump
British car manufacturers are bearing the brunt of the deepening recession in new car sales after a 12 per cent slump in registrations last month, including a near 30 per cent crash in diesel sales. The seventh consecutive month of rapidly falling new car sales indicated that British-built brands were hit worst. The largest drop in registrations of a big brand was Jaguar, falling 38 per cent compared with October last year, while Vauxhall, recently taken over by PSA, the French group behind Peugeot and Citroën, lost its second place in the market to Volkswagen. The unexpectedly steep sales falls go some way to explain the large 14 per cent decline in UK car production for the domestic market this autumn.
Tiredness at wheel is like drink-driving
The motorway signs proclaiming that “Tiredness can kill” are based on the commonsense assumption that drivers could fall asleep at the wheel. Scientists have now discovered that the actual problem with sleep deprivation is that your brain cells switch off while you are still awake, leading to anything from forgetting your keys to car crashes. Research suggests that brain cells fail to communicate with each other properly when a person is tired, affecting memory and visual perception. Scientists scanned the brains of 12 sleep-deprived people and found how tiredness interfered with the ability of neurons to encode information and translate what was seen into conscious thought.
Electric cars now cheaper than diesel – the actual cost of going green
A new electric car is £5,000 more expensive than a petrol equivalent, but what happens when you add up everything else too? Well, it turns out electric cars now cost less overall than diesel ones, a whopping £5,407 less over the lifetime of the car, and they’re closing in on petrol ones fast. Electric cars were by some distance cheaper for services, tax, MOTs and fuel – and those savings add up. That means that over the lifetime of the car, going electric will save you thousands compared to picking up a diesel, figures from MoneySuperMarket show – something that’s being reflected in car sales. In the past 12 months diesel sales have collapsed 29.9%, while sales of “alternative fuel” cars have soared 36.9%.