Footfall and costs at Greggs have been hit by the weather, with the business reporting a drop in profits.The business’ operating profit in the first half of this year was £25.7m, down from £27.6m in the first half of 2017.Greggs had earlier stated that poor weather conditions in early spring had caused the temporary closure of some shops and impacted customer footfall that hit food-to-go trade in retail locations.In its interim results for the 26 weeks to 30 June, published today (31 July), the company said hot weather was now affecting agricultural yields. As reported by British Baker, the heatwave has pushed the cost of feed wheat to a five-year high, with bread prices also rising.Greggs’ total sales rose 5.2% to £476m, with like-for-like sales through company-managed shops up 1.5%. In contrast, sales rose 7.3% and 3.4% respectively a year ago.The company reported it had opened 59 new shops, including 19 franchised units, and closed 25 shops, giving it a total of 1,888 trading at 30 June 2018. Openings in the last six months have included its second drive through, at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, and its first London Underground shop in Westminster Tube station.The openings reflect the shift in the brand’s location strategy: in 2013, 20% of its sites were serving catchments outside of traditional shopping locations – that figure is now 35% and the company plans to grow it to 50% in the longer term. Greggs expects to have made around 100 net openings in the year as a whole.Strong growth continued to be seen in sales of hot drinks, breakfast, healthier choices and hot food, reported Greggs, with these ‘growth categories’ accounting for 30% of sales, up from 15% five years ago. The company recently expanded its £2 breakfast deal to include yoghurts and fruit pots, and has introduced a £2 ‘pizza slice + drink’ offer after 4pm.“Greggs has delivered a resilient performance despite challenging market conditions and we have continued to make good progress with our strategic investment programme to transform the business into the customers’ favourite for food-on-the-go,” said Greggs CEO Roger Whiteside.“While we remain cautious in respect of the outlook for sales in the balance of the year, given the consumer backdrop, we are confident in the medium and long-term growth potential for the business, supported by customers’ response to our initiatives, our strong cash generation and the ongoing strategic investments that we are making.”He added that the company expected underlying profits before exceptional costs were likely to be a similar to 2017.
Phish has brought their best to San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for the last two nights, treating fans to a tease-filled opener and a classic second night with some great song selections. Leave it to Phish to continue accelerating for night three, giving Bay Area fans one of the best shows that 2016 has seen. Whether it was the 11 consecutive tour debuts to open the show or highlights sprinkled through the second half, this was a finale none will soon forget.Right off the bat, Phish hit fans with a bust-out opener, playing Hoist tune “Demand” for the first time since 12/31/09 (258 shows). The tour debuts kept coming as the band nailed a great version of “The Curtain With,” before bringing out yet another bust out, “Alumni Blues.” Not seen since 8/3/13 (114 shows), the rocker kept fans locked in, before Mike Gordon took over lead vocals on the first “Fuck Your Face” of the summer. The next surprise was a cover of The Beatles’ “Cry Baby Cry,” not played since 11/21/98 (496 shows), and there were only more surprises in store!The band broke out into “Sing Monica,” the only Fuego track that hadn’t been performed in 2016. They dedicated the version of Bob Ezrin, famed producer who worked with Phish on the Fuego album, and also produced their new, unreleased album. The band also said they had just put the finishing touches on their new album today, so the excitement was truly palpable.The epic first set continued with “McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters,” yet another first-time-played song in 2016. The Gamehendge-themed song never fails to excite fans, as it only gets played roughly once per summer. The breezy tones eventually led into the Halloween 2014 instrumental “The Very Long Fuse,” played for only the third time ever. The interplay between Trey Anastasio and Page McConnell was on point during the song’s coda, before the band exploded the fuse into “Big Black Furry Creature From Mars.” Yet another tour debut! Jon Fishman was playing around with the countdowns in the song, bantering with Gordo throughout the tune.As if “BBFCFM” wasn’t enough for this first set, they brought out a cover of James Gang’s “Walk Away.” Not played since 10/29/13 (100 shows), McConnell led some great vocals, but it was Anastasio that shined with a ripping guitar solo. The Junta track “Sanity” came next, with the band joking throughout the song’s silly lyrics and even getting into a vocal jam. McConnell teased “The Very Long Fuse” during the “I don’t care if the world explodes” section of the song, before Fishman led the band into a set closing “David Bowie.” Though it was the only non-tour debut of the set, having played the song at SPAC, the back-to-back Junta tracks served as a fine ending for one of the best sets yet.After the break, Phish returned to get things jamming with a great “No Men In No Man’s Land.” The soaring set opener was pulled into “Mike’s Song” by Anastsaio. It was a fun version, but it was the following “Fee” that really got the crowd’s attention. The 12th tour debut made its first appearance since 7/27/14 (74 shows), and was played after a “Mike’s Song” for the first time in band history. Wow! The band also played “Fee” > “Seven Below” for the first time, keeping the set energy high. They cooled things down with a “Waiting All Night,” but got the dance party started once more by bringing out “Gotta Jibboo.” Ripping through “Jibboo” with a passion, it was the return of 2016 debut “Miss You” that came next. The slower Anastasio-penned ballad brought the second set mood down, though Anastasio did finish the song with a nice melodic solo. Still, fans have yet to warm up to “Miss You” in its second-ever performance. Fortunately, “Weekapaug Groove” came out next, funking the finale of this lengthy “Mike’s Groove” set. The far-out improvisation session included more instrument swapping, and eventually wound its way into the “Weekapaug Groove” finale, but the set wasn’t over yet, as Phish touted out “The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony” before segueing into “Suzy Greenberg.” The two songs were played together in Philadelphia for the only time this summer, suggesting that the classic “Oh Kee Pa/Suzy” pairing may have just returned. A rockin’ “Julius” closed out the set in style.With a short break, Phish returned and Page thanked the audience for having them for three nights. The band then proceeded to perform the piano ballad “Wading In The Velvet Sea,” before finishing the performance with the straight up rock and roll of “Character Zero.” Anastasio let the crowd sing most of the familiar tune, only adding to its power.While the finale sent the crowd home rocking, something more in line with the 11 tour debuts from set one was certainly on people’s minds for the encore. The first set was the true highlight of this performance, going down as one of the best first sets ever.Check out the full Phish.net setlist below.Setlist: Phish at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA – 7/20/16Set 1: Demand, The Curtain With, Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues > Fuck Your Face, Cry Baby Cry, Sing Monica > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, The Very Long Fuse > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Walk Away > Sanity -> David BowieSet 2: No Men In No Man’s Land > Mike’s Song > Fee > Seven Below > Waiting All Night > Gotta Jibboo, Miss You, Weekapaug Groove, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg > Julius Dedicated to producer Bob Ezrin. Vocal jam.Notes: Demand was played for the first time since December 31, 2009 (258 shows). Alumni Blues and Letter to Jimmy Page were played for the first time since August 3, 2013 (114 shows). Cry Baby Cry was played for the first time since November 21, 1998 (496 shows). Sing Monica was dedicated to producer Bob Ezrin. Walk Away was played for the first time since October 29, 2013 (100 shows). Sanity contained a brief vocal jam.
Last night at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO, local funk troupe The Motet played their first-ever headlining performance at the storied venue, bringing along both Medeski Martin & Wood and Vulfpeck to lend a hand in bringing some serious funky grooves. After a major storm rolled through the area, causing a delay, the festivities commenced and the night continued without a hitch.Vulfpeck Has Added A New Sunday Show To Their Colorado RunVulfpeck was as candid as ever, displaying their relative ease at showmanship and including the crowd in just about everything they do, with call and repeats, sing-alongs, and such. The Ann Arbor, MI-based act brought along their main cohort Antwaun Stanley who stood out on a rather extra funky “Funky Duck”. Medeski Martin & Wood put on an absolute clinic during their set, deciding to keep things more on the funk side, rather than go too experimental jazz-y on the crowd on this particular night.The Motet brought their A-game to the fray, and did not disappoint, as they ran through a 15-song set that featured sit-ins from John Medeski, who played side-by-side with the dominant Joey Porter on keys, on “Cloak and Dagger”. Former member and Big Gigantic leading man Dominic Lalli joined his former mates during a “Nemesis” that featured a jam of David Bowie‘s “Fame” and an outstanding solo from the saxophonist.Trey Anastasio Band trombonist Natalie Cressman also joined the horn section for the entire show. A “Fool No More” encore ended the night proper for what was a wildly successful first headlining gig for the Colorado-based band, led by founder and drummer Dave Watts. Check out some videos below from the night:The Motet “Nemesis” w/ Dominic Lalli from Big Gigantic, courtesy of Brian Eckes:Medeski Martin & Wood – Red Rocks:Vulfpeck “Funky Duck” w/ Antwaun Stanley:The Motet Setlist – Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO – 7/22/16DamnSo HighKnow It Too WellRippin HerbBack It Up Like We Own ItCloak and Dagger*The TruthFountain Ain’t No WayKeep OnDangerNemesis# >Closed MouthEncore: Fool No More#* w/ John Medeski of MMW# w/ Dom Lalli of Big GiganticPhotos by Gary Sheer. Full Gallery: Load remaining images
Photo: Vic Brazen Load remaining images Photo: Vic Brazen Colorado’s fan-favorite funk act, The Motet, rang in 2019 with a four-night New Year’s Eve run across the Northeast with TAUK, Sophistafunk, Moon Hooch, and JAW GEMS opening up as support.The run culminated with a celebration at the State Theatre in Portland, Maine, the hometown of frontman Lyle Divinsky. The New Year’s Eve throwdown opened up with sets from Moon Hooch and Jaw Gems, who are also local favorites.The extended set featured a high-octane mix of originals, before welcoming Lyle’s father, Phil Divinsky, to the stage to sing and dance to The Temptations‘ “Shakey Ground” as they all entered the new year. After the balloon drop, the band supercharged into “Jungle Love” by Morris Day and the Time before returning to their original tunes.As always, The Motet delivered a soul-stirring spectacle on Monday night. They will return to the road in a couple of weeks, linking up with Galactic and John Medeski’s Mad Skillet respectively this winter. While spring/summer tour dates have yet to be announced, The Motet have confirmed a co-headlining performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre with Galactic on Friday, July 12th, 2019, with support from Moon Hooch. Head here for a full list of upcoming tour dates.Setlist: The Motet | State Theatre | Portland, ME | 12/31/18Truth, Contagious, That Dream, Rippin Herb, Keep On, Don’t Stoppin, Death or Devotion, Supernova, Shakey Ground #, *Countdown*, Jungle Love, Return of the Mack, Cloak and Dagger, Fool No More, Whacha Gonna Bring,ClosedEncore: Back it Up, Get it Right# with Phil Divinsky on vocals and dance moves
Since VCE was founded in 2009, Vblock Systems have become well known throughout the industry for best-of-breed hardware, rapid deployment, and single vendor support. However, we must continue to focus on our customers’ experience when integrating new technologies from our investor companies, not only to accelerate time-to-market, but also to reduce risk and lower the total cost of operation.Case in point: In September, VCE introduced two new storage platforms to the Vblock System family: the next-generation VNX platform and the XtremIO all-flash array. Both platforms have understandably generated a great deal of excitement.With an increased number of faster cores utilizing MCx multi-core optimization, the new VNX platform offers quicker file response and lower latency times. Block de-deuplication and a lower cost per gigabyte are providing greater efficiencies and increased application availability.Designed to meet the requirements of the most demanding applications, the EMC XtremIO all flash-based arrays ensure exceptional performance and responsiveness for massively scalable solutions. This makes it ideal for solutions such as virtual desktop infrastructure, enabling higher performance per virtual desktop at a lower price.All this of course leads to the question – “When do new technologies become available within Vblock Systems?”ShareIn this case, it’s not as simple as plugging in the new storage; customers expect VCE to perform the due diligence so they don’t have to. They expect a pre-validated solution that will perform and scale predictably, ensuring critical business applications are available and service-level agreements (SLAs) are met.For several months prior to the announcement, VCE and EMC engineers worked hand-in-hand to test and pre-validate the next-generation VNX storage array within the Vblock System 340 and the XtremIO array within the Vblock Specialized System for Extreme Applications. So what does this really mean?The integration of compute, network, storage, and virtualization components is critical – those who work in data centers know all too well that hardware integration can be time-consuming and complex. When deploying a new infrastructure into production, engineers must ask:What’s the best configuration for a given application?How do we properly segregate workloads or use cases?How do we protect against critical data loss or a localized disaster?How are we going to maintain the environment?VCE considers these questions when testing and pre-validating Vblock Systems for not only the application type or workload, but with disaster recovery and data mobility in mind too. Depending upon requirements, VCE engineers are able to factory-integrate products, such as Avamar, Data Domain, and VPLEX, into Vblock Systems so they’re production-ready on day one.I meet with a good number of customers on my travels, often discussing their pain points and what would be most critical to them in a potential solution. One pain point that often comes up, and it isn’t a glamorous one, is upgrades. This is an area I can certainly relate to – I’ve lived the dream in a former life! In fact, I once worked as a storage engineer for a company that kept all code releases – storage, network, compute, HBAs, and more – on a whiteboard. This might sound eerily familiar to some. With some digging and searching for the correct code revisions, upgrades would work well until we upgraded a SAN switch, unaware somebody hadn’t upgraded an HBA. At this point, the servers couldn’t see their storage and the application (in this case an Oracle database) came crashing down. Missed SLAs and a frantic dash to the data center is what happened next.You know what’s coming – we’ve taken care of that too – even for a Vblock System with newly introduced hardware. We test and validate our systems prior to making them available, and will continue to do so with future releases to accelerate time to market and reduce risk in customer data centers.We’ve actually taken it a step further through the use of VCE Vision Intelligent Operations. VCE Vision Intelligent Operations can discover and validate the code levels throughout Vblock Systems – it’s like someone verifying all the information on the whiteboard before you start the upgrade – giving customers this baseline so no one has to make that dash from the office to the data center. It’s true push-button automation.Looking back to the graphic above you can see, at least at a high level, all we do for each and every Vblock System landing on a data center floor. Whether or not we’re introducing a new technology, we’ve done the testing so customers don’t have to.
Financial Technology (FinTech) seems to be taking over the world of banking. And your Board of Directors, Executive staff and possibly even you are all a little on edge. You all know banking…but this whole technology thing…maybe not so much.Loans and deposits will always be with us–but in the future, the winners in banking will have to fight through the value propositions in all of this new technology to find the things that matter.So, what matters? The same banking metrics that have always mattered.Seek out the technologies that improve your institution’s overall performance. You know, bottom-line kind of stuff. People that matter most (investors, shareholders, members) still want to see loan growth, efficiency and stronger margins. Sinking money and talent into technology that doesn’t achieve these endpoints in the near term can be disastrous.Most institutions are not ready. It may be a money thing, but there is also a talent gap. Rare is the institution that has strong tech-savvy executives who can discern the importance of why and which and how to monetize new technologies, or not. Every institution will need smart people to help them understand, assess and execute strategies and tactics that take advantage of these FinTech changes.In my opinion, two tech areas are essential today.Strategically you cannot live without 1) leveraging client data analytics for use in strategy, sales, marketing, cross-selling, retention and 2) integrating the most friction-free ways for your clients to transact business with and through your institution. Each of these technology efforts can and will add value to your traditional “banking” metrics. They must help you make money. And these two areas uniquely enable any financial institution to efficiently capture and nurture the client and allow them to “bank” digitally.Some institutions have already embraced FinTech in even more significant ways. Bank of America just announced card-less ATMs are coming, while at the same time filing over 12 more patents on block chain technology (they have already filed 20 patents). Are they a bank or FinTech? Now Neo-banks are beginning to partner with marketplace lenders and credit card consolidators to offer a bundle of services to customers, emulating what traditional banks do. This can and should be viewed as a direct threat to financial institutions.Success requires leadership. Yet many executives are standing by, watching the game change before their very eyes. And why? Because they don’t understand any of it. It’s technology; it’s not banking. Yet it is this very technology that is informing the very transactions that every successful Financial Institution must embrace and deploy down the line to stay in business. And the rewards of unleashing the power of data analytics is undeniable.Yet no future exists in banking without being able to monetize these game changing technologies. How will technology move the needle on the loan growth, efficiency and/or profit margins? You must embrace those things that can improve your institution’s overall performance. Consider the need you may have for technology folks who understand the context of marrying these new/valuable technology pieces, while keeping the bottom-line in mind. This is essential, right? After all, this is the future of banking… No freakin’ out is needed. 21SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Jay Kassing Jay Kassing is President of MARQUIS, a Texas based provider of marketing analytics solutions including MCIF/CRM software, MCIF services, profitability, compliance, consulting and direct mail creative/fulfillment. Jay has … Web: www.gomarquis.com Details
Comment Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 19 Jun 2019 8:27 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link20Shares Unai Emery urges Arsenal board to sign Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney Arsenal are ready to step up their interest in Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney (Getty Images)Unai Emery is urging Arsenal to complete a deal for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, according to reports.The Gunners have a budget of around £40 million for the summer transfer window following their failure to secure a place in next season’s Champions League.Emery is looking to strengthen several areas of his squad, while Arsenal are open to offloading Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, two of their top earners, in order to boost their transfer funds.According to the Daily Mail, Emery has made Tierney one of his priority signings for the summer and has told Arsenal’s hierarchy that the Celtic defender would make a significant improvement to his team.ADVERTISEMENT Advertisement Advertisement Tierney has been targeted by Arsenal boss Unai Emery (Getty Images)The report claims that Emery is ‘convinced’ that the 22-year-old can make the transition from the Scottish top flight to the the Premier League and views the player as a ‘shrewd investment’.AdvertisementAdvertisementCeltic, however, are in a strong negotiating position as Tierney has a contract which runs until 2023.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityAnd it’s believed that the Gunners would need to submit a bid of around £20m in order to sign the left-back.Meanwhile, Arsenal have been frustrated in their search for a new winger as Bournemouth are standing firm over Ryan Fraser’s £30m valuation, while a deal for Yannick Carrasco is off the table as Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang are also demanding £30m.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal
French oil major Total has discovered hydrocarbons in the Upper Jurassic and Triassic sandstone reservoirs of its Isabella exploration well in Block 30/12d in the UK Central North Sea.The well is located in Licence P.1820, about 40 kilometers south of the Elgin-Franklin Field and 170 kilometers east of Aberdeen.Total is the operator of the license with a 30% interest and its partners are Neptune Energy with a 50% interest and Edison’s Euroil Exploration Limited and Ithaca Energy with a 10% interest each.Ithaca also has a cost carried interest in the well as a result of prior farm-out agreements with Total and Euroil. Neptune Energy entered the license in August 2018 after acquiring Apache’s interest.In an update on Tuesday, Ithaca said that this is an encouraging high-pressure high-temperature discovery in a location close to existing infrastructure.Further analysis of the well results will now be performed by the license operator, Total E&P North Sea UK Limited, to determine future appraisal activity and recoverable resource estimates.The well is in the process of being plugged and abandoned.In a separate statement on Tuesday, Neptune said that the well encountered 64 metres net pay, consisting of lean gas and condensate and high-quality light oil.Neptune also said that the well was drilled by the Noble Sam Hartley jack-up rig to a total depth of 5,557 meters in water depths of 80 meters.Jim House, CEO of Neptune Energy, said: “While analysis of the results is ongoing, the initial findings show significant promise.“Having acquired our interest in the exciting HPHT Isabella prospect in 2018, the result further strengthens our growing UK portfolio and demonstrates the significant remaining hydrocarbon potential in the region.”Kevin McLachlan, Senior Vice President Exploration at Total, said: “The initial results at Isabella are encouraging. This demonstrates that our exploration strategy in the North Sea to explore for value adding prospects nearby to our infrastructure is working.”
ACT’s David Seymour, the abortion lobbyists, and the Facebook scrapStuff co.nz 14 March 2020Family First Comment: Finally the media picks up that we’re sidestepping the bias mainstream media, and speaking to (and influencing) the masses via social media!The abortion debate has always created a lot of noise, and the introduction of the bill last year turned up the volume.The conservative Christian lobby group Family First paid for 20 ads that rolled out on Facebook between August 12 and March 12.Five of them are the personal stories of women or families, and another is an interview with a former abortion provider, all filmed by an in-house team.Others, featuring videos of a pink-haired woman giving what the group says is a “humorous” take on the issue, have been imported from Canada and adapted for New Zealand.Family First leader Bob McCoskrie said paying for campaigns was “not cheap” – “more in the hundreds of thousands than the tens of thousands”.It was funded “purely by donations from families in New Zealand”.“There have been allegations that we’ve had donations from the United States – I keep standing out at the letterbox waiting for the cheque, but nothing has arrived,” McCoskrie said.Like Cormack, he felt the media didn’t tell his group’s story, and so social media provided a platform to go straight to the public.“Hopefully then they’ll communicate to politicians.”With the abortion bill still going through its committee stages in the House, and the third reading not far away, this was a critical time, and they wouldn’t be backing away from the pressure, said McCoskrie.A lobby group in support of change, the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ), has not paid for any Facebook ads, but is posting regularly on social media.Its financial accounts show revenue in 2018 was less than a quarter of Voice for Life, at just $5400.President Terry Bellamak said ALRANZ’s policy was to “play it straight” and to use social media to reach supporters, posting articles and research-backed facts about abortion.“We don’t pay for Facebook ads because we don’t have that kind of money. And honestly we’re not really needing to right now.”Justice Minister Andrew Little, in charge of the bill, told Stuff he wasn’t aware of any increase in ads from Voice for Life.“Personally, I ignore communications from extremist groups.”READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/120251127/acts-david-seymour-the-abortion-lobbyists-and-the-facebook-scrap?cid=app-iPhoneNZ Abortion Debate #1 – Human Rights Explained….Human Rights. You may think you’ve always had yours, but you would be wrong!This video explains exactly when your human rights begin – and why.
This world-famous island is alsobracing for the arrivals of travelers from South Korea, China and Taiwan. Ithas posted around 1,882,215 tourist arrivals as of November this year with964,250 foreigners staying in the island. BORACAY – The Philippine Coast Guard(PCG) in Aklan said its forces are now on heightened alert as it beefs upsafety measures for the holiday season. As of Dec. 18, the PCG-Aklan has registeredaround 3,709 outbound passengers from various ports in the province. “Normal itong security preparations natinsa holiday season. May mga CoastGuard K9 units tayo to inspect ang mga baggage sa mga port terminals at‘Malasakit desks’ para sa mga pasahero,”he added. Second Class Frank Valle ofPCG-Caticlan on Dec. 18 said the random checking of passengers and theirluggage was necessary to ensure safety in the ports. The passengers were also told not tobring prohibited items to avoid delays and to comply with the safetyregulations of the ports and sea vessels. The Cagban and Caticlan ports in Aklan prepare for the influx of passengers as the Philippine Coast Guard in the province declared a heightened alert status for the security of the passengers in the area. AKEAN FORUM It also conducted coastal securitypatrols and established assistance desks in the Cagban and Caticlan ports toassist passengers during the holiday season while monitoring the maritimeactivities in the area. The tighter security protocols of thePCG were in coordination with the Philippine National Police, Maritime IndustryAuthority and the Department of Transportation.(With a report from Akean Forum/PN)