Planet Business

This week: Premier League revenues, Heathrow Terminal 2 and Pepper the robot

Image of the week: Go to gate
Soon there will be no more Heathrow Terminal 1 circle of hell for Aer Lingus passengers flying to Ireland. The airline will be transferring its operations to the rebuilt £2.5 billion Terminal 2, named the Queen's Terminal, from July. And here's what it looks like now: a gleaming and gloriously empty paradise for the international traveller, free of queues, free of bedraggled long-haulers in need of a shower and free of despair.
The 28 airlines due to move into the terminal will be doing so on a phased basis over the next six months to avoid the chaos that marred the opening of the airport's now fully-functioning Terminal 5 in 2008. Heston Blumenthal will be showcasing his delights in the terminal at The Perfectionists' Cafe. But will there be a Wetherspoon's? Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters

In numbers: Premier league bonanza


Revenues at English Premier League clubs broke this mark in the 2013-14 season, having doubled over seven years, according to Deloitte analysts who called it "a remarkable achievement in isolation, but phenomenal in the wider economic context".


The extra broadcast revenue that the top-flight clubs collected, on average, in the most recent football season, thanks to the entry of BT Sport into the market.


The percentage of revenues that were spent on wage costs in the season, a new high. This compares to a wages-to-revenue ratio of 51 per cent in Germany’s Bundesliga.


The lexicon: ‘TLTRO’

A new LTRO is set to save the euro zone economy. Perhaps. “But what is a LTRO?” your polite dinner party companion may muster up the will to ask. LTROs are long-term refinancing operations, or lending schemes with extremely low interest rates offered by central banks in a bid to ensure economies don’t seize up.

Yesterday, the European Central Bank announced a €400 billion LTRO designed to help banks lend to small companies.ECB president Mario Draghi called it a targeted LTRO, or "TLTRO", and its target is the so-called "real economy", which in the euro zone is still dragging its scuffed heels a whole seven years after the credit crunch.

Getting to know: Pepper

Pepper is a robot unveiled by a Japanese company called Softbank, which claims it can read human emotions. "For the first time in human history, we're giving a robot a heart," said Softbank's human chief executive Masayoshi Son.

Pepper, which/who like most robots resembles a cross between a child and a hand blender, uses an “emotional engine” and a cloud-based artificial intelligence system that allows it to analyse gestures, expressions and voice tones – presumably including the two emotions most relevant to the robot population: fear and impatience.

The list: Retail CEOs under pressure

It’s a tough life being a shopkeeper, as these gentlemen would no doubt attest.

1 Philip Clarke: The Tesco boss (below) tops the list in a week in which the supermarket chain announced its worst quarterly sales performance in many years. He says he's not going anywhere.

2 Dalton Philips: Its chairman has stepped down, and the CEO of British grocer Morrison's isn't sitting pretty either. Sir Ken Morrison (82), son of the chain's founder, has reportedly had some choice words on his performance.

3 Marc Bolland: Investors waiting for the Marks & Spencer turnaround are about as tired as some of its women's fashion lines.

4 Neil Robertson: He is far from "embattled" status, but it hasn't been the best of weeks for the co-founder of online fashion retailer Asos, after a profit warning yesterday knocked £1.5 billion off its market valuation.

5 Sven Seidel: The just-in-the-door CEO of German retailer Lidl is tasked with overseeing its international growth, but its US expansion has been postponed. The last boss left after "unbridgeable" differences with Lidl's owner.