The Financial Times (subscriber only) analyses Tesco’s announcement last week that it would "call a halt to new hypermarkets" because it believes the future of non-food shopping is online. The paper says "retail analysts believe Tesco’s admission marks a watershed for high street retail chains" and smaller retailers must follow suit and "shift to online sales or face extinction". According to the paper, figures from retail research firm Conlumino predict that 11 per cent of UK retail sales will be online this year, up from three per cent in 2005. Retail research firm Verdict predicts that clothing and footwear, health and beauty and food and grocery are the categories which will move online the fastest.
Also in the Financial Times, news that chancellor George Osborne has "urged" Chinese investors "to put money into British transport, energy and utility projects". According to the paper, High Speed 2 is one project that has attracted attention from China, along with broadband investment and road schemes.
The Daily Telegraph reports that a survey in the Midlands found that the number of local authority employees earning £50,000 or more rose by eight per cent last year to 7,265. The paper says Birmingham City Council spent almost £37 million on "middle managers’" pay while Sandwell Council spent close to £18 million, compared with £11 million in 2010. The paper reports comments from the director of lobby group the TaxPayers Alliance – who conducted the research – that "it is not fair to demand that ordinary workers take a pay freeze or lose their jobs while more and more middle managers are enjoying generous remuneration".
The Independent reports that the opening weekend of the 2012 Olympic Games could be marked by chaos as the effects of normal summer holiday visitors compound with 80,000 opening ceremony attendees, several thousand more people travelling to see the ceremony on big screens around the capital and the men’s road race the following day. A report by traffic specialist Inrix predicts an increase of 33 per cent in congestion in late July and early August, meaning that journeys could take up to a third longer.
Finally, the Daily Telegraph reports that Cromer Town Football Club in Norfolk is facing eviction from its ground "under a clause which stated the lease would expire 21 years after the death of Edward VII’s last grandchild". The paper says the land was given to the club by Evelyn Bond Cabbell in "recognition of the sacrifices made by the population in the First World War" on the condition that it should pass back to the town 21 years after the death of the last grandchild who was "in being" when the clause was signed. According to the paper, the council wants the football club to move to a new site on the outskirts of town that incorporates new youth team facilities but the club believes a move would "increase costs and cut the income it earns from regular car boot sales". Lawyers are arguing that another grandchild was a few months from birth at the time the lease was signed, and can be considered as "in being", the paper says, adding that this grandchild only died in July 2011.