Are the wheels falling off Tesla tycoon Elon Musk’s wacky world after dodgy tweets and shares meltdown?

HE’S the Silicon Valley billionaire whose vision was to transform the world – pumping his PayPal fortune into electric cars and a bid to take passengers to space.

But after a series of bizarre tweets, jaw-dropping personal admissions and endless production problems, investors and fans now fear the wheels could be falling off Elon Musk’s Tesla car empire.

 We look at whether the wheels falling off Tesla tycoon Elon Musk's wacky world after his dodgy tweets and shares meltdown

Reuters

We look at whether the wheels falling off Tesla tycoon Elon Musk’s wacky world after his dodgy tweets and shares meltdown

A staggering £3.6billion was wiped off the firm’s value yesterday following his latest outburst, in which he admitted taking powerful sedatives to cope with the “most painful year” of his career.

In a candid and often tearful interview, the man credited with being the inspiration for Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man revealed he had started taking Ambien — aka the “Devil’s Aspirin” — to sleep.

He opened up about his sedative use as he hit back at claims he had been smoking WEED when he sent a tweet that sent stock markets berserk.

Musk’s explosive tweet, sent on August 7, read: “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.”

 The billionaire dubbed 'real-life Iron Man' opened up about his troubles in a tearful interview

Alamy

The billionaire dubbed ‘real-life Iron Man’ opened up about his troubles in a tearful interview
 Musk revealed he had started taking Ambien — aka the 'Devil’s Aspirin' — to sleep
Musk revealed he had started taking Ambien — aka the ‘Devil’s Aspirin’ — to sleep

News that Musk wanted to buy up Tesla shares at around 20 per cent above their recent trading value — an unheard-of move — sent the market into a frenzy and puzzled analysts.

It also led to accusations that the $420 referred to 420, which has long been a codeword for cannabis in the US, as it was used by cops in the Seventies to describe catching someone smoking marijuana.

By the end of that day Tesla shares were up 11 per cent — causing so-called short sellers, who bet on certain stocks losing value and who Musk has said are the bane of his business life, to lose billions.

It later emerged that the £55billion funding for the buy up had in fact not yet been secured.

 Musk’s explosive tweet announcing the unheard-of move sent stock markets berserk

TWITTER/ELON MUSK

Musk’s explosive tweet announcing the unheard-of move sent stock markets berserk
 The tycoon wanted to buy up Tesla shares at around 20 per cent above their recent trading value

EPA

The tycoon wanted to buy up Tesla shares at around 20 per cent above their recent trading value

The federal regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, is now reportedly looking into whether the tweet was to hurt those who were “shorting” the stock, and have served Tesla with a subpoena.

In his New York Times interview, chief executive Musk explained that he had made the calculation by simply adding 20 per cent to the then share price, taking it to $419 — then rounded it up to $420.

He said: “It seemed like better karma at $420 than at $419. But I was not on weed, to be clear. Weed is not helpful for productivity.

“There’s a reason for the word ‘stoned’. You just sit there like a stone on weed.”

 The federal regulator is reportedly looking into whether the tweet was to hurt those 'shorting' Tesla stock
The federal regulator is reportedly looking into whether the tweet was to hurt those ‘shorting’ Tesla stock
 The Tesla tycoon said that he was 'not on weed' when he tweeted his business move

Getty Images – Getty

The Tesla tycoon said that he was ‘not on weed’ when he tweeted his business move

Offering a glimpse of his inner torment — which caused Tesla’s stocks to tumble from their new heights, the 47-year-old revealed: “This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career. It was excruciating.”

It comes days after controversial rapper Azealia Banks claimed on social media she had spent a weekend at Musk’s house while waiting to record with his singer girlfriend, 30, known as Grimes.

Banks wrote on Instagram that the tech guru had tweeted while on psychedelic drug LSD, known as acid.

She wrote: “I waited around all weekend while Grimes coddled her boyfriend for being too stupid to know not to go on Twitter while on acid.”

 Azealia Banks described a weekend at Musk’s house on social media

Rex Features

Azealia Banks described a weekend at Musk’s house on social media
 Banks wrote on Instagram that the tech guru had tweeted while on psychedelic drug LSD

SNAPCHAT/AZEALIA BANKS

Banks wrote on Instagram that the tech guru had tweeted while on psychedelic drug LSD
 The controversial rapper was waiting to record with Musk's singer girlfriend, 30, known as Grimes

Getty – Contributor

The controversial rapper was waiting to record with Musk’s singer girlfriend, 30, known as Grimes

The rapper, 27, even speculated that the couple may have invited her to their home for “some weird threesome sex s**t to begin with”.

A spokesman for Musk said: “Elon has never even met Ms Banks or communicated with her in any way.”

Three-times divorced dad-of-five Musk — who admits to sleeping on the Tesla factory floor and working 120 hours a week — said in the interview that his physical health had suffered from his workaholic tenancies.

He also struggles to rest, admitting: “It is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien.”

 The tree-times divorced dad-of-five was linked to Amber Heard after her divorce from Johnny Depp
The tree-times divorced dad-of-five was linked to Amber Heard after her divorce from Johnny Depp
 The Silicon Valley CEO and Brit actress Talulah Riley have been married and divorced twice

Getty – Contributor

The Silicon Valley CEO and Brit actress Talulah Riley have been married and divorced twice

The South Africa-born mogul, worth £16.5billion, added of his health: “It’s not been great, actually. I’ve had friends come by who are really concerned. There were times when I didn’t leave the factory for three or four days — days when I didn’t go outside.

“This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends.”

During the hour-long chat to the New York Times, published on Thursday, Musk “choked up” at “multiple points”.

Speaking from his Los Angeles home, he told how he almost missed his brother Kimbal’s Spanish wedding this summer and even spent his birthday at the Tesla plant.

 The South Africa-born mogul 'choked-up' at 'multiple points' in his interview with the New York Times

Reuters

The South Africa-born mogul ‘choked-up’ at ‘multiple points’ in his interview with the New York Times
Elon Musk refuses to answer ‘dry, bonehead questions’ in bizarre Tesla earnings call

At times “overcome by emotion”, Musk said he spent the whole 24 hours of his birthday on June 28 at work, emphasising: “All night — no friends, nothing.”

Two days later he was due to be best man at his brother’s wedding on the Costa Brava, arriving just two hours before the ceremony straight from Tesla’s California HQ.

Immediately after the nuptials ended, Musk boarded a flight back to the factory.

The pressure of producing his mass-market Tesla Model 3 — billed as a “game-changer” in the electric car market — appears to be the cause of much of the strain.

 The the 47-year-old offered a glimpse of his inner torment — which caused Tesla’s stocks to tumble

Reuters

The the 47-year-old offered a glimpse of his inner torment — which caused Tesla’s stocks to tumble
 'This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career. It was excruciating', said Musk

AP:Associated Press

‘This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career. It was excruciating’, said Musk

It has been blighted with production problems.

At one point Tesla’s vast factory in Silicon Valley was only managing to produce 2,000 a week, not the target 5,000.

Critics have pointed out that while Musk might be a genius and a visionary, he does not know as much as he should about large-scale manufacturing.

Claims of poor build quality on other models of Tesla, and a fatal accident involving the autopilot system on a Tesla Model X, are heaping on extra pressure.

 Elon Musk's rocket company, SpaceX, launched the world’s most powerful rocket in February

Handout – Getty

Elon Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX, launched the world’s most powerful rocket in February
 Critics have pointed out that while Musk might be a genius and a visionary, he does not know enough about large-scale manufacturing

Getty – Contributor

Critics have pointed out that while Musk might be a genius and a visionary, he does not know enough about large-scale manufacturing

And Tesla is far from the only project he has on the go — his rocket company, SpaceX, launched the world’s most powerful rocket in February.

Musk is determined to help make life possible on other planets, in order to protect against threats to human life on Earth.

He is also busy trying to revolutionise public transport, working on a high-speed system which would see passengers zoom around in capsules underground.

Meanwhile, the Tesla message was not the first strange tweet Musk has fired off recently.

 In July Musk apologised to British diver Vern Unsworth after calling him 'pedo guy'

EPA

In July Musk apologised to British diver Vern Unsworth after calling him ‘pedo guy’
 The Twitter row was over the cave rescue of a Thai boys’ football team
The Twitter row was over the cave rescue of a Thai boys’ football team
 Unsworth had ridiculed Musk’s offer of a mini-submarine to help the rescue as a 'PR stunt'

AP:Associated Press

Unsworth had ridiculed Musk’s offer of a mini-submarine to help the rescue as a ‘PR stunt’
Brit hero Vern Unsworth  reveals he is considering legal action after tech tycoon Elon Musk dubbed him a ‘paedo’ following Thai schoolboys cave rescue mission

In July he apologised to British diver Vern Unsworth after calling him “pedo guy” in a row over the cave rescue of a Thai boys’ football team.

He said he had “spoken in anger” after Unsworth ridiculed Musk’s offer of a mini-submarine to help the rescue as a “PR stunt”.

Musk made the apology after Unsworth threatened to sue. Musk’s Ambien habit has, in the words of the New York Times: “worried some [Tesla] board members, who have noted that sometimes the drug does not put Mr Musk to sleep but instead contributes to late-night Twitter sessions.”

Comedian Roseanne Barr, whose career derailed in May after she posted a racist message, blamed that on “Ambien tweeting”.

 Musk is determined to help make life possible on other planets to ensure human existence

Reuters

Musk is determined to help make life possible on other planets to ensure human existence

It has also been reported that Musk has occasionally used recreational drugs.

Last year the mogul admitted being at a drug-fuelled sex party in Silicon Valley at the home of a former investor in venture capital firm DFJ — but said he didn’t know it was a sex party.

According to reports, the billionaire wore a “black, armour-like costume adorned with silver spikes and chains” to the event.

A Musk spokesman said: “Elon was at the party for a couple hours and left around 1am after talking with several DFJ-funded entrepreneurs about technology and building companies.

“His impression was that it was a corporate party with a costume theme, not a ‘sex party’, and there was no indication that it would become one after he left.”

Space-mad Musk has said before that his greatest ambition of all is to die on Mars.

After his miserable year, he’ll likely be feeling he can’t get off this planet soon enough.

Elon Musk’s bid to NUKE Mars to help humans live there rubbished by experts

Publisher of Mirror and Express newspapers sees values plummet – going into a financial loss for the half year

THE publisher of the MIRROR and EXPRESS newspapers has seen the value of its regional titles plummet, forcing it into a loss for the half year.

REACH, formerly known as TRINITY MIRROR, has been hit by a £150million charge due to a “more challenging than expected outlook” for its regional publications.

 The publisher for the Mirror and Express newspapers has seen the value of its regional titles plummet

PA:Press Association

The publisher for the Mirror and Express newspapers has seen the value of its regional titles plummet

These are grappling with a slowdown in local advertising.

The company warned there is now “greater uncertainty” for its 100-plus regional titles — which include the Liverpool Echo, the Derby Telegraph and the Manchester Evening News — over the medium term.

The £150million bill means Reach plunged into a £113.5million pre-tax loss in the six months to July.

This compares with profits of £38.2million a year before.

Reach confirmed it has made £7.5million in extra provisions for legal bills relating to a phone hacking scandal, taking the total tab for settlements to £70.5million.

 Simon Fox is still optimistic despite the figures

� Guardian News & Media Ltd.

Simon Fox is still optimistic despite the figures

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ BELL, commented: “Uncomfortable as the group’s ongoing legal woes may be, the real issue is a lack of growth.

“Merging businesses and stripping out costs can only go so far, especially if the quality of the underlying product is to be maintained.

“And Reach’s lack of sales or profit progress over the last decade, despite three big acquisitions and multiple rounds of cost-cutting, shows just how hard it is for publishers to monetise digital audiences and support readers who still prefer print.”

Revenues were 10.6 per cent higher overall at £354million, boosted by the acquisition of the Express and Star titles from Richard Desmond in February.

Reach chief executive Simon Fox said: “We have delivered a positive financial performance in what remains a difficult trading environment for the industry, in particular the regional businesses.”



TalkTalk is the most slated broadband and landline provider

TALKTALK is the most complained-about broadband and landline provider, a watchdog reveals.

The firm had 29 gripes per 100,000 internet users from January to March, Ofcom said. It had 20 per 100,000 for landline.

 TalkTalk is the most complained-about broadband and landline provider

PA:Press Association

TalkTalk is the most complained-about broadband and landline provider
 Sky got the fewest complaints for its broadband, landline and pay TV

AFP or licensors

Sky got the fewest complaints for its broadband, landline and pay TV

Virgin Mobile attracted most complaints among mobile phone ­providers — 11 per 100,000 customers.

BT was deemed worst for pay telly services.

Sky got the least complaints for its broadband, landline and pay TV.

New Look reports a £75million loss as trouble on the high street continues

FASHION chain New Look has reported a dire loss of nearly £75million last year as a slump in sales leaves the future of the retailer hanging in the balance.

The retailer suffered blows online and in stores as sales fell by 11.7 per cent.

 New Look announced huge losses as slump in sales leaves the retailer's future uncertain

Alamy

New Look announced huge losses as slump in sales leaves the retailer’s future uncertain

Earlier this year, New Look announced plans to close 60 stores in a bid to pay off its huge debts as part of a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA).

The move puts 980 jobs at risk.

The retailer reported a loss of £74.3 million for the year to March 24, having made £97.6 million profit in the previous year.

In a bid to lure back customers, New Look’s executive chairman Alistair McGeorge has slashed prices to £20 or under.

These New Look stores are due to shut

Aberdeen – Bon Accord; Beckton; Bolton Mens; Borehamwood; Brynmawr; Burton Mens; Cameron Toll; Cardiff – Queen Arcade; Cheshunt; Clevedon; Craigleith; Doncaster Mens; Dundee – Wellgate; Exeter Mens; Fleet; Gateshead – Team Valley; Glasgow – Buchanan Street Mens; Gorleston; Hanley Mens – Intu Potteries; Hounslow Mens; Hull – Whitefriargate; Keynsham; Kingswood; Leeds – The Core Shopping Centre; Leicester – Haymarket; London – Marble Arch; London – Moorgate / London Wall; London – Oxford Circus; Maidenhead; Maidstone Mens; Merry Hill Mens; Metro Centre – Mens; Monmouth; Newport Mens; Newton Mearns; North Shields; Nottingham Mens; Ocean Terminal; Peterbrough Bridge Street; Pontypool; Portswood; Ramsgate; Reading – Broad Street; Reading Oracle Mens; Rhyl; Romford Mens; Rugby; Shrewsbury Mens; Sidmouth; Stockport – Merseyway; Stockton-on-Tees; Stratford Upon Avon -Bridge Street; Thornaby; Tonypandy; Torquay – Union Street; Tredegar; Troon; Wallsend; Weston Favell; Wigan Mens.

“Quite frankly, we have disappointed some of our best customers,” he said.

“It is interesting what happened. We had lost our prices. We had put our prices up, all we have done now is to put it back to where it should be.

“It didn’t work, it was never going to work.”

New Look launched a restructuring plan in March, announcing it would shut 60 stores as part of a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA), affecting 980 jobs.

The company said on Tuesday the CVA would allow the business to save £40 million.

Mr McGeorge said: “At the end of the day for a business to survive it has to have a good brand and be run properly. A CVA alone is not going to save a business.”

The poor trading news from New Look comes after House of Fraser proposed a CVA, saying it intended to shut 31 stores, putting 6,000 jobs at risk.

It’s another blow for the high street after Mothercare and Carpetright announced that they have also undertaken CVAs so far this year in a bid to save on costs.

Already this year, Toys R Us, Maplin and Poundworld have entered administration.


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Pret employees to get £1,000 bonus after sandwich chain is sold for £1.5bn to Krispy Kreme owner

THOUSANDS of Pret A Manger workers will be handed a £1,000 bonus when the company’s planned sale goes through.

The British sandwich shop, which has 381 stores in the UK, has been bought by Krispy Kreme’s owner JAB in a deal worth £1.5billion.

 Some 12,000 Pret A Manger staff will be handed a £1,000 windfall

Reuters

Some 12,000 Pret A Manger staff will be handed a £1,000 windfall

Pret A Manger boss Clive Schlee took to Twitter to tell the company’s 12,000 workers about their unexpected bonus following the sale.

He tweeted: “Today is a big day for @Pret. As we welcome JAB, we’ll be thanking the people who really matter by giving each of our 12,000 employees £1,000 when the deal completes.”

Pret’s employee receive a typical wage of £8.25, according to the company – that’s more than the minimum wage which stands at £7.50 for those aged 25 and over.

The company has 530 stores across the world and generated revenues of £879million last year.

A spokesperson for Pret told the Sun Online that the company could not confirm a date for when the planned sale will go through, but added it is expected during the summer.

Pret is to be sold by its private equity owners Bridgepoint, which bought the chain for £362million ten years ago.

Trendy pots of coconut flavoured porridge helped the sandwich chain boost profits by almost £30 million in 2016.

Earlier this year, Pret announced it will test a 10p deposit return scheme for plastic bottle in a bid to slash plastic waste

The scheme could be extended across the UK during autumn this year.

In April the chain was forced to remove adverts from Facebook and its own website, which claimed its food is preservative-free or made of “natural” ingredients.

Publishing the findings , the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the claims were “misleading” as some of Pret’s food does contain artificial additives.


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Marks and Spencer closures – which stores are closing and how many jobs losses are threatened?

MARKS and Spencer has announced that it will close over 100 stores by 2022 as part of a radical restructuring plan first announced in 2016.

The retailer has now identified the latest 14 stores facing the axe, following on from the 21 that it has already closed. Here’s what you need to know…

 M&S is set to close over 100 stores by 2022

Alamy

M&S is set to close over 100 stores by 2022

Which M&S stores are going to close?

On May 22, Marks and Spencer revealed the latest 14 stores facing closure.

Three will shut by the end of July 2018:

  • Bayswater
  • Fleetwood Outlet
  • Newton Abbot Outlet

Two others will both close by early 2019:

  • Clacton
  • Holloway Road

Nine other stores are proposed for closure, and enter a period of consultation.

This puts the jobs of 626 employees under threat, although M&S has pledged that these workers will be offered roles elsewhere before redundancy is considered.

  • Darlington
  • East Kilbride
  • Falkirk
  • Kettering
  • Newmarket
  • New Mersey Speke
  • Northampton
  • Stockton
  • Walsall

In total, 21 Marks and Spencer stores have closed already, including three which were relocated.

The closed stores are:

  • Andover
  • Basildon
  • Birkenhead
  • Bournemouth
  • Bridlington
  • Covent Garden
  • Crewe
  • Dover
  • Durham
  • Fareham
  • Fforestfach
  • Greenock
  • Keighley
  • Newry
  • Portsmouth
  • Putney
  • Redditch
  • Slough
  • Stockport
  • Warrington
  • Wokingham

Overall, it means that 35 M&S shops will shut down by 2019.

By 2020, the retailer will bring this number to 100 stores but it is yet to reveal the locations of the other outlets under threat.

Why are the M&S stores closing?

In November 2016, the high street chain said that it had marked 100 low-performing stores for closure or change.

Sixty stores were set to close in the initial announcement, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk.

In April 2017 the first six stores were announced for closure, and as part of the changes it has downsized a number of stores.

On May 20, The Sunday Times reported that the retailer could shut an additional 40 of its larger outlets that sell both food and clothes – meaning 100 shops would close overall.

The decision to accelerate its programme was reportedly brought about after early results from store closures – like the one in Warrington town centre –  led to an increase in sales at newer out-of-town stores.

A spokesperson for M&S told The Sun Online: “We have been clear about our plans to accelerate our store closure and the action we must take to build a business with sustainable, profitable growth.”

The retail giant is said to be focusing on more successful parts of its business such as food and moving away from areas such as clothing and homeware.

Following the latest announcement of closures, Sacha Berendji, director of retail at Marks & Spencer said axing stores “isn’t easy”.

“We are making good progress with our plans to reshape our store estate to be more relevant to our customers and support our online growth plans,” he said.

“Closing stores isn’t easy but it is vital for the future of M&S.

“Where we have closed stores, we are seeing an encouraging number of customers moving to nearby stores and enjoying shopping with us in a better environment, which is why we’re continuing to transform our estate with pace.”

Some viewers claim Marks & Spencers’ Christmas ad shows Paddington Bear being told by Santa: ‘F*** you little bear’

Marks and Spencer closures – full list of stores closing and how many jobs are under threat

MARKS and Spencer has announced that it will close over 100 stores by 2022 as part of a radical restructuring plan first announced in 2016.

The retailer has now identified the latest 14 stores facing the axe, following on from the 21 that it has already closed. Here’s what you need to know…

 M&S is set to close over 100 stores by 2022

Alamy

M&S is set to close over 100 stores by 2022

Which M&S stores are going to close?

On May 22, Marks and Spencer revealed the latest 14 stores facing closure.

Three will shut by the end of July 2018:

  • Bayswater
  • Fleetwood Outlet
  • Newton Abbot Outlet

Two others will both close by early 2019:

  • Clacton
  • Holloway Road

Nine other stores are proposed for closure, and enter a period of consultation.

This puts the jobs of 626 employees under threat, although M&S has pledged that these workers will be offered roles elsewhere before redundancy is considered.

  • Darlington
  • East Kilbride
  • Falkirk
  • Kettering
  • Newmarket
  • New Mersey Speke
  • Northampton
  • Stockton
  • Walsall

In total, 21 Marks and Spencer stores have closed already, including three which were relocated.

The closed stores are:

  • Andover
  • Basildon
  • Birkenhead
  • Bournemouth
  • Bridlington
  • Covent Garden
  • Crewe
  • Dover
  • Durham
  • Fareham
  • Fforestfach
  • Greenock
  • Keighley
  • Newry
  • Portsmouth
  • Putney
  • Redditch
  • Slough
  • Stockport
  • Warrington
  • Wokingham

Overall, it means that 35 M&S shops will shut down by 2019.

By 2020, the retailer will bring this number to 100 stores but it is yet to reveal the locations of the other outlets under threat.

Why are the M&S stores closing?

In November 2016, the high street chain said that it had marked 100 low-performing stores for closure or change.

Sixty stores were set to close in the initial announcement, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk.

In April 2017 the first six stores were announced for closure, and as part of the changes it has downsized a number of stores.

On May 20, The Sunday Times reported that the retailer could shut an additional 40 of its larger outlets that sell both food and clothes – meaning 100 shops would close overall.

The decision to accelerate its programme was reportedly brought about after early results from store closures – like the one in Warrington town centre –  led to an increase in sales at newer out-of-town stores.

A spokesperson for M&S told The Sun Online: “We have been clear about our plans to accelerate our store closure and the action we must take to build a business with sustainable, profitable growth.”

The retail giant is said to be focusing on more successful parts of its business such as food and moving away from areas such as clothing and homeware.

Following the latest announcement of closures, Sacha Berendji, director of retail at Marks & Spencer said axing stores “isn’t easy”.

“We are making good progress with our plans to reshape our store estate to be more relevant to our customers and support our online growth plans,” he said.

“Closing stores isn’t easy but it is vital for the future of M&S.

“Where we have closed stores, we are seeing an encouraging number of customers moving to nearby stores and enjoying shopping with us in a better environment, which is why we’re continuing to transform our estate with pace.”

Some viewers claim Marks & Spencers’ Christmas ad shows Paddington Bear being told by Santa: ‘F*** you little bear’

Marks and Spencer closures – full list of the stores closing and the number of jobs put at risk

MARKS and Spencer has announced that it will close over 100 stores by 2022 as part of a radical restructuring plan first announced in 2016.

The retailer has now identified the latest 14 stores facing the axe, following on from the 21 that it has already closed. Here’s what you need to know…

 M&S is set to close over 100 stores by 2022

Alamy

M&S is set to close over 100 stores by 2022

Which M&S stores are going to close?

On May 22, Marks and Spencer revealed the latest 14 stores facing closure.

Three will shut by the end of July 2018:

  • Bayswater
  • Fleetwood Outlet
  • Newton Abbot Outlet

Two others will both close by early 2019:

  • Clacton
  • Holloway Road

Nine other stores are proposed for closure, and enter a period of consultation.

This puts the jobs of 626 employees under threat, although M&S has pledged that these workers will be offered roles elsewhere before redundancy is considered.

  • Darlington
  • East Kilbride
  • Falkirk
  • Kettering
  • Newmarket
  • New Mersey Speke
  • Northampton
  • Stockton
  • Walsall

In total, 21 Marks and Spencer stores have closed already, including three which were relocated.

The closed stores are:

  • Andover
  • Basildon
  • Birkenhead
  • Bournemouth
  • Bridlington
  • Covent Garden
  • Crewe
  • Dover
  • Durham
  • Fareham
  • Fforestfach
  • Greenock
  • Keighley
  • Newry
  • Portsmouth
  • Putney
  • Redditch
  • Slough
  • Stockport
  • Warrington
  • Wokingham

Overall, it means that 35 M&S shops will shut down by 2019.

By 2020, the retailer will bring this number to 100 stores but it is yet to reveal the locations of the other outlets under threat.

Why are the M&S stores closing?

In November 2016, the high street chain said that it had marked 100 low-performing stores for closure or change.

Sixty stores were set to close in the initial announcement, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk.

In April 2017 the first six stores were announced for closure, and as part of the changes it has downsized a number of stores.

On May 20, The Sunday Times reported that the retailer could shut an additional 40 of its larger outlets that sell both food and clothes – meaning 100 shops would close overall.

The decision to accelerate its programme was reportedly brought about after early results from store closures – like the one in Warrington town centre –  led to an increase in sales at newer out-of-town stores.

A spokesperson for M&S told The Sun Online: “We have been clear about our plans to accelerate our store closure and the action we must take to build a business with sustainable, profitable growth.”

The retail giant is said to be focusing on more successful parts of its business such as food and moving away from areas such as clothing and homeware.

Following the latest announcement of closures, Sacha Berendji, director of retail at Marks & Spencer said axing stores “isn’t easy”.

“We are making good progress with our plans to reshape our store estate to be more relevant to our customers and support our online growth plans,” he said.

“Closing stores isn’t easy but it is vital for the future of M&S.

“Where we have closed stores, we are seeing an encouraging number of customers moving to nearby stores and enjoying shopping with us in a better environment, which is why we’re continuing to transform our estate with pace.”

Some viewers claim Marks & Spencers’ Christmas ad shows Paddington Bear being told by Santa: ‘F*** you little bear’

Dad-of-four turned selling fish tanks on eBay into a million pound business

SELLING products on eBay is an easy way to earn a bit of extra cash in your spare time, but this dad-of-four has used it to turn his small fish supply shop into a million pound business.

Peter Amos, 48, from Bexleyheath, started off Aquacadabra in 1992, before expanding to selling supplies on eBay in 2003.

 Peter Amos expanded his business on eBay in 2003 and it turns more than £1m per year on eBay alone

Gary Stone -The Sun

Peter Amos expanded his business on eBay in 2003 and it turns more than £1m per year on eBay alone

Peter, who is part of an eBay millionaires’ club that has more than 1,000 members in the UK, sells everything from fish tanks to filters and even food for our scaly friends.

Aquacadabra started as a small corner shop with just  five employees.

But it has since expanded into a 8,000 sq ft warehouse, which includes a physical store with 22 members of staff to cope with demand.

So how exactly did Peter use eBay to make a splash in the industry?

 Peter insisted that he doesn't sell actual fish on eBay - but you can buy them in his shop

Gary Stone -The Sun

Peter insisted that he doesn’t sell actual fish on eBay – but you can buy them in his shop
 Aquacadrabra occupies an 8,000 sq. ft. warehouse, which includes a physical store, and employs 22 people to cope with demand

Gary Stone -The Sun

Aquacadrabra occupies an 8,000 sq. ft. warehouse, which includes a physical store, and employs 22 people to cope with demand

According to the dad-of-four, eBay makes it easier to find customers without forking out a huge amount of money on a website and the marketing he would need to put behind that.

He said: “When shopping online, a lot of people tend to go to certain market places.

“So unless you’re spending a lot of money on being ranked highly on Google, people are more likely to find your products on eBay.

“It also allows us to stock a huge selection of products. We have around 5,000 to 6,000 listings”

Of course, it’s not the only factor contributing to Aquacadabra’s success. Peter also attributes his growing turnover to reliable suppliers and to his team.

The dad-of-four said: “Many of the people working here have been with the company a long time, like Simon who first came on work experience about 24 years ago and is now my general manager.”

His passion for fish also makes him an expert in his field.

He said: “I’ve kept them since the age of nine and went on to have a fish house of around 40 tanks, breeding and showing fish.

“When I left school at 16, I immediately went and worked for Roman Tropicals, a very well-known fish shop in the UK at time.”

 Every item in the shop is also listed on eBay

Gary Stone -The Sun

Every item in the shop is also listed on eBay
 Peter says his team has been a big part in pushing the business forward and is equally responsible for its success

Gary Stone -The Sun

Peter says his team has been a big part in pushing the business forward and is equally responsible for its success

Obviously, you can’t buy fish from Aquacadabra online. Not only would this go against eBay’s policy, but more importantly it could make your fish stressed or even kill it.

And that’s one of the reason why Peter has no plans of becoming an online only business.

He said: “I want customers to feel like they’re actually coming to an aquarium store when visiting Aquacadabra, I want them to be able to look around at the equiment and buy some fish.”

Peter’s tips for young business owners

HERE’s how to set up a successful business according to Peter:

  • Stick to a business you know – According to Peter, his knowledge of the fishkeeping world has helped Aquacadabra to be successful.
  • Make sure the products you’re selling are of a good quality – you don’t want to hurt your own reputation by selling products customers won’t be satisfied with.
  • Have a good system in place from the start –  this will help you manage your orders properly and keep on top of what you’ve got coming in and out.
  • Find good suppliers – Find reliable suppliers and keep good relationships with them.
  • Don’t rush ahead – grow with your business. Steaming ahead leads to more than you can cope with and means you’re over-stretched, getting in the way of good customer service.

The cost of products at Aquacadabra varies hugely, depending on how big an aquarium we’re talking about and the sort of fish Peter’s customers want to keep.

A basic starter aquarium costs around £50 to £60, up to £2,000 for a very large, high-end aquarium with all the latest features.

If you’re considering expanding your business on eBay, there are fees involved.

A seller turning over £1million will have an anchor store subscription, which would set you back £399 per month.

This includes more inclusive listings, packaging supplies and free international listings.

 Around 22 people are working at Aquacadabra, either picking and packing order, working in the office on customer service or assisting customers in the shop

Gary Stone -The Sun

Around 22 people are working at Aquacadabra, either picking and packing order, working in the office on customer service or assisting customers in the shop
 The cost of products varies hugely, depending on how big an aquarium we’re talking about and the sort of fish Peter's customers want to keep.

Gary Stone -The Sun

The cost of products varies hugely, depending on how big an aquarium we’re talking about and the sort of fish Peter’s customers want to keep.
 Peter's interest in fish started from an early age and his business is a passion project

Gary Stone -The Sun

Peter’s interest in fish started from an early age and his business is a passion project

A more basic subscription to get your business started with reduced fees would set you back about £25.

When an item sells business owners will then pay a percentage of the final transaction, including postage, which varies by category.

Selling your things on eBay can be a big money earner, even if your items don’t seem worth it.

How to start a succesful eBay business

HERE are some basic tips to begin:

  • Join eBay and register as a business seller. If you’re a trader – someone who buys things with the intention of selling them on – then you must register as a business seller on eBay.
  • Do your homework. Carry out thorough research on other products and competitors to ensure you know your market inside out.
  • Learn how eBay shopping works. Look at listings in different formats. Before you can successfully sell on eBay, you’ll need to see how people on eBay buy.
  • Start small. Give yourself the best chance of getting it right by focusing on a core range of products. You can scale up from there.
  • Stand out from the crowd. Think about how you can optimize your listings to attract customers. Use the right keywords so that your products show up in searches and high-quality pictures to draw buyers in. 
  • Find good sourcing options. Locating  good and reliable suppliers for your inventory is critical to your business’ success.
  • Put your customer first. Focus on offering customers a great service with speedy delivery and great communication so that they keep coming back.
  • Remember there are fees. eBay will charge you a set monthly fee, depending on the size of your business and what you’re selling. You can find how much you’ll have to pay here

Earlier this year, we reported how you can make hundreds of pounds a year by selling your rubbish – even leftover loo roll tubes.

Obviously, eBay is not the only way to start a successful business.

Last week we revealed how a mum of two’s quest to spend more time with her kids prompted her to launch her own beauty shop and it now has a healthy turnover of £130,000 a year.


SELLERS BEWARE Why you need to read this before selling ANYTHING on eBay


The Sun Online also spoke to a dad-of-two who quit banking job to set up children’s hairdressers and it makes £650,000 a year.


We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team? Email us at money@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 78 24516. Don’t forget to join the Sun Money’s Facebook group for the latest bargains and money-saving advice.


Marks and Spencer closures – full list of the stores closing and how many jobs are at risk

MARKS and Spencer has announced that it will close over 100 stores by 2022 as part of a radical restructuring plan first announced in 2016.

The retailer has now identified the latest 14 stores facing the axe, following on from the 21 that it has already closed. Here’s what you need to know…

 M&S is set to close over 100 stores by 2022

Alamy

M&S is set to close over 100 stores by 2022

Which M&S stores are going to close?

On May 22, Marks and Spencer revealed the latest 14 stores facing closure.

Three will shut by the end of July 2018:

  • Bayswater
  • Fleetwood Outlet
  • Newton Abbot Outlet

Two others will both close by early 2019:

  • Clacton
  • Holloway Road

Nine other stores are proposed for closure, and enter a period of consultation.

This puts the jobs of 626 employees under threat, although M&S has pledged that these workers will be offered roles elsewhere before redundancy is considered.

  • Darlington
  • East Kilbride
  • Falkirk
  • Kettering
  • Newmarket
  • New Mersey Speke
  • Northampton
  • Stockton
  • Walsall

In total, 21 Marks and Spencer stores have closed already, including three which were relocated.

The closed stores are:

  • Andover
  • Basildon
  • Birkenhead
  • Bournemouth
  • Bridlington
  • Covent Garden
  • Crewe
  • Dover
  • Durham
  • Fareham
  • Fforestfach
  • Greenock
  • Keighley
  • Newry
  • Portsmouth
  • Putney
  • Redditch
  • Slough
  • Stockport
  • Warrington
  • Wokingham

Overall, it means that 35 M&S shops will shut down by 2019.

By 2020, the retailer will bring this number to 100 stores but it is yet to reveal the locations of the other outlets under threat.

Why are the M&S stores closing?

In November 2016, the high street chain said that it had marked 100 low-performing stores for closure or change.

Sixty stores were set to close in the initial announcement, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk.

In April 2017 the first six stores were announced for closure, and as part of the changes it has downsized a number of stores.

On May 20, The Sunday Times reported that the retailer could shut an additional 40 of its larger outlets that sell both food and clothes – meaning 100 shops would close overall.

The decision to accelerate its programme was reportedly brought about after early results from store closures – like the one in Warrington town centre –  led to an increase in sales at newer out-of-town stores.

A spokesperson for M&S told The Sun Online: “We have been clear about our plans to accelerate our store closure and the action we must take to build a business with sustainable, profitable growth.”

The retail giant is said to be focusing on more successful parts of its business such as food and moving away from areas such as clothing and homeware.

Following the latest announcement of closures, Sacha Berendji, director of retail at Marks & Spencer said axing stores “isn’t easy”.

“We are making good progress with our plans to reshape our store estate to be more relevant to our customers and support our online growth plans,” he said.

“Closing stores isn’t easy but it is vital for the future of M&S.

“Where we have closed stores, we are seeing an encouraging number of customers moving to nearby stores and enjoying shopping with us in a better environment, which is why we’re continuing to transform our estate with pace.”

Some viewers claim Marks & Spencers’ Christmas ad shows Paddington Bear being told by Santa: ‘F*** you little bear’