Tag: Ocado

Retailers think online sales tax is rubbish

poundsCalls for the introduction of a new online sales tax have been growing louder and unsurprisingly online retailers are having none of it. They believe any additional tax burden imposed on their businesses would be detrimental for people, for jobs and investment.

In an open letter, signed by the CEOs of Ocado, Shop Direct, N Brown, Boden, Appliances Online and notonthehighstreet.com, the plans for the introduction of a new tax were branded as “nonsense”, as online retailers are overburdened as it is.

“Online retailers already pay tax on many fronts. Customers pay VAT while other taxes include fuel duties, employment taxes, corporation tax, as well as business rates on their warehouses and offices. Just because the online business model does not require as much property does not mean that other areas should be taxed more heavily,” the execs said. “A popular view has been that bricks and mortar retailers have a high tax burden whilst a few very large international online businesses pay a small amount of tax here, therefore the tax system for all online players – big and small, UK and international – should change. But this is a red herring, an issue of domicile not online retail.”

The retailers believe that a new online sales tax would kill entrepreneurial spirit, making it harder for small retailers to get started. It would also have a detrimental effect on supporting industries and exports abroad. They noted that SMEs would be hit by the unintended consequences of the law, along with people that buy stuff.

“The idea is vague and ill thought-out. Does it include just those retailers which operate online-only, or those with stores too? Should online travel agents be wary? Could it also capture online financial services providers? There is no logic to penalising companies that provide consumers the convenience, efficiency and value online shopping offers,” say the e-tail execs. “Online is a rare and precious success story for the UK and one that we should take pride in. We support our high street counterparts in their call for lower business rates, but hitting online businesses by replacing lost revenue with this type of tax will hamper growth, slow the economy, impact jobs and reduce investment whilst not achieving a significant uplift for the Treasury.”

Morrisons’ boss calls for online sales tax

 morrisons-dalton-philipsMorrisons chief executive Dalton Philips believes the Government should impose a new online sales tax to level the playing field with its rivals and e-commerce outfits. Philips told The Daily Telegraph that the tax imbalance between internet and high street retailers is illogical and it is taking its toll on Britain’s town centres.

Interestingly, Morrisons is moving into the online space right now, but it still feels it should pay its fair share. Last week Philips said Morrisons lost £700 million of sales last year because it lacked an e-commerce platform. Shoppers simply chose the convenience offered by online groceries instead. In response, Morrisons is entering the e-commerce space with Ocado and it believes the new platform should be able to break even in just four years.

But Morrisons’ online push isn’t about to change Philips’ mind.

“As a country, we need to look at how we’re going to tax retailers in general wherever they operate, because we’ve all got to contribute to society, but one can’t be disadvantaged over the other,” he said. “I’m not into intervention for intervention’s sake but you’ve got to have a level playing field. As more and more sales migrate online, it seems to me intuitive that you would tax the online channels as well.”

Philips added that there was simply no logic to the tax system anymore, as the rates keep going up, while at the same time town centres become ghost towns, as brick and mortar outfits find themselves fighting against the odds to stay competitive.

More often than not, they fail.

Morrisons gets into online food

smartphone-shoppingMorrisons has bitten the bullet and announced that it will be going head- to-head with its supermarket rivals in the online food space.

The supermarket giant, which posted its first drop in profits for six years has said it aims to offer this service by January next year and is reportedly in talks with Ocado to help it begin conquering the online food shopping space.

The giant saw its pretax profit drop to £901 million in February this year compared to the £935 million made in 2011.

It said that in a bid to grow over the next year it had implemented a range of measures to ensure this happened. It described its moves into online as an “important step.”

Supermarkets are doing all they currently can to bring customers through the door. This month Tesco announced a range of plans to help it get ahead of its competitors offering price promises and claims that it was buying eatery Giraffe to attract a different range of consumers.

Morrisons has also not rested on its laurels recently also announcing that it was building up its army of 12 convenience stores, and snapping up  62 sites from the administrators of Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster.

Cost and pressure of uni work placements could put students off

bbc 330Work placements at degree stage help prepare  IT students for full time work, yet the cost and pressure of finding them can put many off, a work experience professional has said.

The comments follow a survey of 320 graduates from CWJobs, which found that those who had completed a placement year had been better prepared to enter the world of work when they had finished their degree.

A quarter of those asked said they had completed a placement while studying for their degrees. Of these, 81 percent said they felt the experience had helped them when it came to their IT career.

Just under half of students who had not completed a placement year admitted that they did not feel that just having a degree better placed them for the world of work.

According to recruitment firm Experis, and IT jobs site CWJobs.com, which jointly conducted the research, employers often look for students who had completed relevant work experience.

However, they pointed out that of the 2,048 computing courses offered in the UK, only 470 offer a placement year.

According to a work experience expert,  many students who don’t have the option of a sandwich course will fail to find a placement during their time at university.

“At university level things change slightly from school age where it is down to each borough to place a 16 year old in a work experience placement”, she told ChannelEye. “At degree level, it’s no longer down to the government to place students, which in some ways, considering the tuition fee hike is unfair.

“It means that on top of their workload students are put under pressure- with probably minimal help from their tutors, to find placements to accompany their course. There may be companies who are signed up with the course but the competition is rife.”

There are financial costs involved too.

An article in the Guardian last year suggested that some universities can charge up to around £4,500 for sandwich years, while businesses are also reluctant to become a part of this scheme as they don’t have the time to supervise these students.

“Placements are very important, but for some, the time and effort associated with these put students off and, as we’ve seen from this research could prove detrimental in the future,” the work experience expert added.

Meanwhile, the Chartered Institute for IT announced that it is launching a teacher training scholarship aimed at creating the next generation of computer science teachers.

The organisation wants secondary schools to “have outstanding computer science teachers” and it hopes the scholarships will help towards achieving this.

The scheme also aims to help students receive a good grounding in computer science education so they are suitably equipped for progression into further education and a professional career.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We need to bring computational thinking into our schools. Having Computer Science in the EBacc (English Baccalaureate) will have a big impact on schools over the next decade.

“It will mean millions of children learning to write computer code so they are active creators and controllers of technology instead of just being passive users. It will be great for education, great for the economy, and will help restore the spirit of Alan Turing and make Britain a world leader again.”

Fifty scholarships per year, each worth £20,000, will be awarded for those engaged in an initial teacher training course, with the funding supplied by the Department for Education.

The scheme will also be backed by the likes of Microsoft, Google, IBM, BT, Facebook, Meta Switch Networks and Ocado.