Planet Business


Image of the Week:If you’ve been to the average city centre Zara on a Saturday afternoon, it doesn’t look a whole lot different than this, to be honest.

The man in a red hood, however, is a Spanish protester, who is making his anti-capitalist feelings known by pushing over mannequins and showing a distaste for this season’s stock in a Barcelona store.

Zara-owner Inditex was founded by Amancio Ortega, whose personal wealth is soaring above Warren Buffett’s, according to Bloomberg, notwithstanding a 25 per cent unemployment rate in Spain. Photograph: Albert Gea/ Reuters

The lexicon: Skeuomorphism

This week’s sacking of Scott Forstall, Apple’s head of iOS software, has been partly attributed to an internal split about skeuomorphism. But then who hasn’t had a good old-fashioned argument about skeuomorphic matters down the pub on a Friday night? Forstall was a fan of digital skeuomorphic design, which is say that he liked Apple’s calendar apps to be adorned with faux leather-stitching and for iBooks’ shelves to be wood veneer, complete with stains for authenticity – in other words, he liked digital representation of objects to retain the ornamental elements of their real-world past. Others, including Apple hardware designer Jonathan Ive, who will now take over Forstall’s software responsibilities, are less keen.

Getting to know: Sheri McCoy

As chief executive of Avon Products Inc, Sheri McCoy is destined to be referred to as “the Avon lady”, but there are few dividends calling for the beauty group’s shareholders.

Avon yesterday slashed its payouts to investors and announced it will cut costs by $400 million, as McCoy, a research scientist and chemical engineer by training, battles to turn around the company she joined in April after she missed out on the top job at Johnson Johnson – effectively trading baby lotions for lipsticks.

Direct sales aren’t going away under her watch, it seems – Avon still has 6.4 million regular “Avon ladies” selling door-to-door, with Brazil proving to be its top market.

Pushing a few extra face creams with each ding-dong wouldn’t go amiss for Avon’s bottom line right now.

In numbers: Disney strikes back

$2 billion

The amount that Star Wars creator George Lucas will pocket from selling Lucasfilm to Disney for $4.05 billion – a deal that makes him the second largest individual shareholder in Disney.

$1.5 billion

The sum that each of the last three Star Wars films would generate if released today, adjusting for inflation, the expanded movie market and increased popularity of 3D releases, according to Disney.

$3 billion

Revenues that Disney raked in from merchandising and theme parks last year – a number that may well be boosted by its acquisition of Stormtroopers, light sabres and whips (Lucasfilm also owns the Indiana Jones franchise).

The list: The 'Big Five' Publishers

The “Big Six” book publishers may soon become the “Big Five”, if the merger of Pearson’s Penguin and Bertelsmann’s Random House goes ahead. Who are they?

1 Penguin Random House:Analysts were saddened by news that the merged entity will not be called “Random Penguin”.

2 Harper Collins:News Corp’s publishing arm wanted to pick up a Penguin too. It dropped Chris Patten’s East and West when it clashed with Rupert Murdoch’s Chinese business interests.

3 Simon & Schuster:Now owned by CBS Corporation, it was founded by someone called Simon and someone called Schuster in New York in 1924.

4 Macmillan:Keeps its head buried in academic publishing, but also owns fiction imprints such as Pan Books, Picador and Boxtree.

5 Hachette: Founded in 1826, the oldest imprint in the French company’s stable is Little, Brown, the publisher of Little Women.

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