Subdued US core inflation cheers markets; Lego sales soar; Cathay Pacific’s record loss – as it happened

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Subdued US core inflation cheers markets; Lego sales soar; Cathay Pacific’s record loss – as it happened

Hundreds of email addresses for the UK’s leading business bosses have been accidentally shared due to an apparent gaffe by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), my colleague Rob Davies reports.

The error, which appears to put BEIS in breach of GDPR rules governing the use of private data, occurred while the department was gathering suggestions for the 2022 new year honours list.

It shows that the chief executives of firms including Serco, which has received criticism over its £37bn test and trace contract, have been invited to nominate staff for honours.

BEIS approached more than 500 captains of industry, inviting them to submit nominations from the world of business and finance.

But instead of using the bcc (blind carbon copy) option, which disguises the recipients of a bulk email, the department used the cc option, meaning that everyone in the chain could see each other’s addresses…

Here’s the full story:

UK borrowers are being given the chance to lock their mortgage repayments at the same level for up to 40 years with the launch of the longest fixed-rate deal on the market.

The lender Habito plans to launch a range of mortgages for borrowers with a 10% deposit that offers fixed-rate terms of up to four decades. The rates are based on the size of the deposit and how long the borrower wants to repay their mortgage.

Someone taking the 40-year option with a 40% deposit will fix at 4.2%, while a borrower with just 10% to put down will pay 5.35%….

The combination of traditional plastic toy bricks with digital games such as Super Mario helped the toymaker Lego achieve double-digit growth in sales, revenue and profit in 2020.

The Danish company said its tie-up with the games company Nintendo, which spawned the unlikely link between Lego and the moustachioed plumber Super Mario, was its most successful launch.

Families spending more time together during the coronavirus pandemic sparked strong consumer demand for Lego products, pushing the business to double-digit growth for the first time since its growth spurt came to an end in 2017, when its sales and profits fell.

Consumer sales climbed by more than a fifth in 2019, while Lego’s operating profit rose by 19% to almost 13bn Danish kroner (£1.5bn).

The family-owned business grew its market share globally, including in its 12 largest markets in 2020, outpacing growth recorded for toys in general, which was about 10%, according to the market research firm NPD….

Photograph: Jollibee

If you’ve a hunger for fried chicken, there will soon be another purveyor in central London, this time one with an Asian twist.

Restaurant chain Jollibee, founded in the Philippines in 1978, is to open a flagship branch in the capital’s Leicester Square later this year, followed by seven other outlets around the UK by the end of the year in places such as Edinburgh and Cardiff.

The expansion, expected to lead to the creation of 1,350 new jobs, is part of a £30m investment in the UK, combined with a £20m investment in Europe, including its first Spanish branch in Madrid. Jollibee, which first opened in Earl’s Court in west London in 2018, opened two new restaurants in Liverpool and Leicester during 2020.

Dennis Flores, president of international business at Jollibee, said the company is dedicated to growing the brand in the UK and Europe.

“We adapted our approach to appeal to a young British demographic which meant building a premium, inviting space with a touch of our distinctive Asian heritage.

The pandemic may have been a setback, but it will not deter us from pursuing our vision for Jollibee in the UK and the rest of Europe.”

The chain is especially targeting fast food fans in their 20s. While its most loyal customers are Filipino, Jollibee said that 70% of its customers in its Leicester and Liverpool branches are British. Jollibee is banking on a return to eating out when Covid restrictions ease.

“Community spirit and hospitality are central to both Jollibee as a brand and the Filipino culture. When restrictions are lifted, we know our customers will want to return to their normal social lives, and restaurants play a key role in that,” said Adam Parkinson, VP of Europe at Jollibee.

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