Planet Business

This week: Ebola vaccines, Manet auction and Tesco troubles

 

Image of the week: Good impressionists Edouard Manet’s Le Printemps is pictured on display at Christie’s Auction House in Paris, where it is about to go under the hammer. Manet’s 1881 work has been owned by the same family for a century and will be auctioned for the first time next month in New York, when it is expected to fetch up to $35 million. The portrait of Parisian actress Jeanne Demarsy is one of the last museum-quality works by the impressionist to come to auction and if it goes for its pre-sale estimate, it will surpass the record $33.2 million paid for Manet’s Self Portrait with a Palette in London four years ago. Le Printemps is French for spring and Manet nearly completed a L’Automne. Sadly for completists, he died before he could get round to the other seasons. Photograph: Reuters/Charles Platiau

In Numbers: Ebola vaccines $200 million The sum being invested by US pharmaceutical group Johnson & Johnson to accelerate its Ebola vaccine development programme

1 million The number of vaccine doses that J&J hopes to produce next year to combat the virus. Meanwhile, rival GlaxoSmithKline hopes to have its first vaccine doses ready this year.

4,500 More than this number of people have died from Ebola since the March outbreak, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Getting to know: Euan Sutherland After a 10-month stint at the UK retailers the Co-operative Group, which he eventually branded “ungovernable”, Euan Sutherland has now become the chief executive of SuperGroup, parent company of the once super-cool clothing label SuperDry, which has undergone a major retail expansion in recent years and is now looking for a new strategic push. During his time at the Co-op Group, Sutherland had to deal with a scandal that saw the boss of the Co-op Bank, the Rev Paul Flowers – aka the “Crystal Methodist” – resign due to his part in a banking scandal and later arrested on drug allegations. SuperGroup might be a youth fashion brand in need of fresh highs, but it looks like it’s going to be a quieter life for the career retailer, with a lower risk of headlines featuring words like “ketamine” and “cocaine”.

The List: Tesco troubles The supermarket group is consistently making the financial headlines for all the wrong reasons. Here are five of them:

1 Accounting black hole: Its profits overstatement is now reported to be £263 million, not £250 million, as previously stated. Or should that be misstated. Oops.

2 No obvious strategy: New chief executive Dave Lewis says he doesn’t have any strategy that he wants to share with anyone for the moment. He wants people to “feel some of the changes before I talk about them”.

3 Dreaded discounters: If Tesco executives had a penny for each time they hear the words “Every Lidl helps”, they would be rich indeed.

4 Too many out-of-town hypermarkets: Big grocery retailers are “20 years out of date”, according to Mark Price, the boss of Waitrose, who believes the phenomenon of the big weekly shop is now a “thing of the past”.

5 Lacklustre in-store experience: An enticing bakery offering would be a nice start.