Planet Business: Scratching the shingles itch

Time Warner, John Lewis, paper receipts and Heathrow runway woe

Come to no Harmondsworth: village is situated in west London right next to Heathrow and faces partial demolition following the UK government’s decision to build a third runway. Photograph:  Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Come to no Harmondsworth: village is situated in west London right next to Heathrow and faces partial demolition following the UK government’s decision to build a third runway. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

 

In numbers: Itchy business

$1 billion

Sum that analysts think GlaxoSmithKline could make annually by 2021 from worldwide sales of Shingrix, its imminent shingles vaccine. It has filed for regulatory approval for the drug in the US, and will apply in Canada and Europe next.

37,000

Number of people Shingrix has been tested on. Glaxo’s vaccine for herpes zoster, aka shingles, has been developed over two decades.

$749 million

Sales recorded last year by Glaxo rival Merck from Zostavax, the only shingles vaccine currently on the market. It’s a blistering performance.

Image of the week: Village death-knell

Welcome to Harmondsworth, where cars that do not drive slowly are not the biggest problem right now. That’s because the village is situated in west London right next to Heathrow and faces partial demolition following the UK government’s decision to build a third runway. About half of the village is set to disappear under the plans, with the other half, including an 11th-century church and a 600-year-old, grade-one-listed barn, aka the Great Barn, soon adjoining the runway tarmac. The people of Harmondsworth are mostly unimpressed by talk of world-class compensation packages for homeowners, and have decorated their lampposts with the appropriate protest signs. Nearby Longford, meanwhile, is set to be completely destroyed.

The lexicon: Paperless till

It won’t be of any surprise to shoppers to learn that a retail conspiracy is underway to rid our pockets, purses and “safe-keeping” drawers of paper receipts. Convenience stores stopped bothering with them ages ago. Supermarket staff now ask you if you want one, implying by their tone that only weird people do. And fashion retailers make a big play of sending customers “e-receipts” to their emails. Now Tesco has begun a three-month trial of a contactless, paperless till system that will send an e-receipt to an app on smartphones. The paperless till seems a more realistic prospect than the paperless office but, as saving-the-environment initiatives go, you might say it’s a little token.

Getting to know: Paula Nickolds

She began as a graduate trainee at the haberdashery department of London’s Oxford Street branch in 1994: now Paula Nickolds has been appointed managing director of John Lewis. Nickolds (43), who is currently commercial director of the department store chain, will become the first woman to lead it in its 152-year history when she takes up the position in January, replacing Andy Street, who is off to run as a Conservative mayoral candidate.

Nickolds identifies “impatience” as the trait she least likes in herself, admitting “it drives everyone around me mad”. Before she officially takes control, there is the annual delight of the John Lewis Christmas ad, which is expected to “drop” as early as this day week.

The list: Time Warner facts

US telecoms group AT&T has declared its interest in buying entertainment behemoth Time Warner for $85.4 billion, which, if approved by competition regulators, could make it the biggest corporate deal this year. So which one is Time Warner again?

1. Eighties child: Time Warner was formed in the late 1980s from what was then regarded as the “mega-merger” of Warner Communications and publisher Time Inc, both of which date back to the 1920s.

2. Biggest regret: Its 2001 merger with AOL, since unwound, was the “biggest mistake in corporate history”, according to Time Warner’s current chief executive, Jeff Bewkes.

3. Prize asset: Time Warner comes complete with the original “golden age of television” network, HBO, which is great for news media, as it means the deal can be illustrated with pictures of Game of Thrones, and analogies between the cut-throat world of business and the kingdom of Westeros.

4. News beast: Time Warner’s CNN, controversially self-styled as the “most trusted name in news”, has been raking it in from a Trump-related ratings boost and expects to make about $100 million more in advertising cash as a result.

5. A-list names: Warner Bros movies slated for release in 2017 include the Lego Batman movie (ker-ching, ker-ching), Wonder Woman (another popular picture option) and Blade Runner 2049 (sacrilege).