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Business column: Brighton and beyond

Brighton’s independent raders under threat due to new supermarket openings

Despite resistance from various local residency groups, Brighton continues to attract the attention of large supermarkets looking to expand further.

With a new Tesco store due to open in Hove next year, small businesses in close proximity have had to start considering the effects of the arrival of superstores on their livelihoods.

So far, both Tesco and Sainsbury’s boast ten units each in Brighton and Hove, with more superstores in the surrounding areas.

Sainsbury’s caused uproar last year when it announced that it was to replace the popular Taj Grocer’s on Kemptown’s St James Street, adding to the two supermarket chains already occupying St James Street: Morrisons and Tesco.

Local businesses are reacting slightly more optimistically then residents towards the proposed new sites, with some looking to the benefits that increased footfall could have on their trade. 

Brighton’s Retailers told to ‘Dress for Success’ this Christmas

A joint initiative between Brighton and Hove City Council and Metamorphosis is under way to help retailers in Brighton make the most of their shop windows in the run up to what is expected to be a below average Christmas shopping period this year.

Metamorphosis, a consulting company that specialises in window dressing, is to offer one-to-one coaching sessions to businesses to equip them with the tools needed to maximise their customer-influenced storefronts. 

The cost of the project will be incurred by the city council’s budget, and businesses will simply have to register for one of the 30 places available.

Brighton and Hove City Council have backed the project with £7000 funding and believe it will help to ensure the stability of a sector that employs many residents within Brighton and Hove.
More unions joins 30 November strike

Proposed industrial action to be held on 30 November across the country is set to go ahead with even more unions agreeing to strike after balloting members.

Last week some of the largest Unions in the UK, including the teachers union: NASUWT, building workers: UCATT and the influential general union GMB agreed to take their members into strike action.

So far, 24 unions have received yes votes after balloting members – meaning a total of three million members could potentially walk out.  

The action, which has been planned in reaction to government proposals on public sector pension reform, threatens to disrupt services across the United Kingdom.

The government has responded by offering new concessions and peace deals, however, union leaders have insisted that the strike will go ahead if their demands are not met, regardless of the impact that the action could have on the economy.
Union leaders have also maintained the possibility of further, longer, industrial action if a solution is not found with the 30 November strikes.
Crawley-based airline enters administration

Astraeus Airlines, which is based in Crawley, Sussex, has announced that it is to enter administration after months of struggling to stay afloat.

The airline, which boasts Bruce Dickinson (formerly of Iron Maidan) as one of its pilots, entered the air travel market in 2002 and began leasing airplanes to other carries in 2008.

The airline industry has come under increasing pressure in the last few years due to increased taxes and fuel costs as well as environmental issues.

Astraeus is one of many airlines in the past few years to collapse in what is an ultra competitive market.

The airline attributed its failings to unexpectedly low business in the summer and a lack of firm forecasted contracts for the winter.
Public sector contracts not a viable option for Brighton-based businesses

Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce have found that businesses in Brighton and Hove are pessimistic about applying for public sector work.

In an online poll, which can be found on the chambers’ website, only 5 percent responded positively.

The results of the poll entitled, ‘Have you ever thought about tendering for public sector work?’ highlight people’s fear of public sector bureaucracy when applying to take on work for the public sector.

Out of 110 existing respondents, only five percent responded that they already tender.

Whereas 28 percent said they had tendered in the past but found it frustrating, 49 percent said they would like to but fear it will be too complicated and the remaining 18 percent said that they simply didn’t see the point.

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