NOKIA has revealed an all-new Android phone packed with serious flagship specs, including 5G, that won’t break the bank. Here’s everything you need to know about the Nokia G50, including that all-important price.
The two silver boxes, about 2 metres in height, look more like dry cleaning units than a big step towards the future of retail. But, as a line of trousers on hangers sways its way through them, it is the start of a tracking system that has helped the world’s biggest clothing seller bounce back from the pandemic.
The process is vital to the success of Inditex, the Spanish fashion group best known for its Zara brand, in capitalising on its network of 6,700 stores across the world — even when they were almost all closed due to Covid curbs.
The task performed at the company’s headquarters by the two boxes, and about 150 others like them throughout the company’s network, is to give unique identifiers to each of the more than 1bn clothes Inditex handles each year, so they can be tracked across the globe until they are in shoppers’ hands.
That has allowed Inditex to turn its stores into mini-distribution hubs — merging its online and bricks and mortar presence, reducing inventories, and helping the company emerge from its biggest test ever since the opening of the first Zara store 46 years ago.
Anne Critchlow, an analyst at Société Générale, says very few retailers have the ability to fulfil online orders in a cost-effective way using the stock found in stores.
“Inditex has the technology to do this: its store network gives it the equivalent of more than 6,000 local warehouses that can ship orders quicker and at less cost because they are so close to customers,” she says.
The tracking technology, known as radio-frequency identification or RFID, depends on tiny circuits and antennas hidden in security tags fastened to clothing in Inditex’s factories. The rollout for the group — which also includes the Massimo Dutti, Pull&Bear and Stradivarius brands — was a decade-long effort completed at the end of 2019, in what looks in retrospect to be perfect timing for the pandemic.
The company only began taking orders for clothing online in 2010 — a decade after H&M. In 2019, online represented just 14 per cent of its €28bn in sales. But last year that proportion jumped to 32 per cent as the group used backrooms in its stores across the world to pack and dispatch €1.2bn of clothing customers ordered on mobiles and computers, in addition to more conventional shipments.
By 2020’s end, Inditex’s online revenues had soared 77 per cent, more than three times the 22 per cent overall rise in the global online clothing and footwear market.
“Since we began our sales online, it has been an obsession with me that it has to be fully integrated with the stores,” says Pablo Isla, executive chair of Inditex, who has headed the company for more than 15 years. “We never wanted to do a separate business online . . . although with [online] sales last year of €6.6bn we are world leaders in online fashion.”
In effect, Inditex is betting the industry’s future rests on a hybrid model that marries bricks and mortar and mobile apps and maintains its commitment to stores, even as many of its rivals close outlets and new online-only retailers mount a formidable challenge with lower prices and a wider range of products.
“Different business models can always be successful in a sector. But ours has a lot of potential and a long way to go,” says Isla. “I don’t believe this stuff about the death of the high street at all.”
The company says one of the reasons why its stores remain so integral to its operations is because they are still the best place to see what works — which clothes people make a beeline for, what products walk off the shelf.
“With the pandemic receding, everyone is trying to recalibrate the balance between the online and the real world and Inditex has invested big in an approach that tries to deliver a seamless experience between the two,” says Critchlow. “Their approach worked fantastically during the pandemic and may reduce costs still further this year, but how it fares over the long term could well shape the future of retail.”
Swift supply chains
In a country where blue-chip companies tend to be in regulated industries — banks or utilities — Inditex stands out for not depending on the government and for having made its own way.
More than anyone else, that way was forged by one man: Amancio Ortega, its reclusive 85-year-old founder. Ortega still owns almost 60 per cent of the stock, making him one of the world’s richest people, with net assets estimated at close to $ 70bn, mostly held through Pontegadea, his personal investment vehicle, which specialises in prime real estate across the world.
He stepped down as Inditex chair in 2011, focusing on Pontegadea’s investments, but his attention snapped back to the retailer during the crisis, as concern mounted about the business.
“The culture of the company reflects Amancio Ortega’s personality,” says Isla, who says he and Ortega are in “permanent contact”.
Isla remembers watching events in China — where Inditex has 320 stores — and Italy — where it has 350 — with dismay, until the company took a decision on March 9 last year to halt new stock-buying while honouring existing orders. A week later, it wrote off €287m in inventories and suspended dividends. For the three months to the end of April, it reported its first loss as a public company — of €409m.
“For the first two or three weeks we were all in shock, no one was thinking about buying [clothes],” he adds, noting that in the depths of the crisis the company focused on using its freight capacity and logistical knowhow to get medical equipment from China to Spain.
But Inditex was able to get access to its shops from mid-April last year, fulfilling online orders from them, thanks to its tracking system, even while they were closed.
Because of its fast supply chains — just three weeks between design approval and going on sale — Inditex can alter and add to its range in midseason, responding to consumer demand. It churns out 65,000 new designs a year, delivering the latest garments to its network of stores at least twice a week.
The group says its approach is based on “pull” rather than “push”. Inditex does not spend significantly on advertising, but 20m people view its products every day online on its apps or social media. It prefers to buy prime locations for its outlets. Prime real estate — Ortega’s big bet in investing his personal fortune — remains at the heart of what Inditex does.
“The essence of our strategy at Inditex is the same as ever: flexibility in our business model, the integration of logistics, manufacture and design; production close to hand; and a capacity to react from moment to moment,” says Isla.
“But now we have the integration between the digital and physical on top of that . . . 2020 was a key year in the strategic transformation of the company, from every point of view.”
Even amid the turmoil of the past year, the fate of the group’s brick and mortar stores is not the only existential question facing Inditex. It is also having to grapple with criticism over the sustainability of its business model and labour conditions at some of its suppliers.
“Inditex has pioneered a model that is logistically outstanding and has superb, responsive information systems that focus on novelty,” says Carmen Valor Martínez, a sustainable fashion expert at Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid.
“But for the environment this emphasis on the constantly new — clothes you might wear just twice — has been a disaster. To be fair, Inditex has been adjusting its model; but to be sustainable, it’s a model that needs to be broken with, not just tweaked.”
Inditex replies it has steadily increased sustainability — committing to zero waste to landfills and the end of single-use plastics by 2023.
Last week it unveiled more ambitious goals, including to use 25 per cent less water by 2025 and increase revenues from its more sustainable Join Life label to more than half of all sales next year. “It is a total bet on sustainability,” says Isla.
Labour practices are also in the spotlight. This month, French prosecutors opened a probe into Zara and three other fashion brands over the alleged use of forced labour by Muslim minority Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang province — one of the world’s cotton production centres.
Inditex says it has “zero tolerance for all forms of forced labour” and “rigorous traceability controls” for its supply chain. It does not have factories in Xinjiang. But officials are reluctant to make any statement to that effect. After rival H&M announced last year that it would no longer source cotton from Xinjiang, Chinese state-backed media and social media users launched a mass boycott of the Swedish retailer in March.
Inditex swiftly scrubbed its website of a statement that confirmed it did “not have commercial relations with any factory in Xinjiang” — a move that signals that it, like other multinationals, is vulnerable to pressure from Chinese consumers and the Chinese state.
Inditex’s 700 designers work solely out of its headquarters at Arteixo in the region of Galicia. They say people are hungry for a burst of colour after months of lockdown. One of the styles they are preparing is the “Camden look” — an eclectic mix of the colourful and the classic, mixing wool and cotton, checkered shirts and jeans.
Such calculations have a record of success. Inditex tweaks its offer based on local preferences and information. As of May, it has managed to surpass its 2019 levels of sales, despite remaining restrictions, as customers anticipate the end of the pandemic.
Isla signals optimism that increased profitability may put the group’s share price, which has bumped along below its 2017 peak, on a sustainable upward path. Total capital expenditure is set to dip from its level in recent years — which he says should increase operating cash flow.
The company is still planning significant investments — including €1.7bn on stores and €1bn on technology over three years. But it is winding up a €11bn programme dating back to 2012 and mainly intended to open, refurbish and merge stores while integrating them into the group’s IT system. It is maintaining a goal of increasing gross retail space by 2.5 per cent a year while focusing on bigger, better situated stores.
“These days Inditex is not necessarily a high growth model, but what it increasingly looks like is a gigantic cash generating machine,” says SocGen’s Critchlow.
There are other challenges facing the group. Some 15 per cent of Inditex’s revenues still come from Spain, an economy battered by the pandemic like no other, which means that overall growth will depend on other markets.
Competition is also becoming more intense, not just from rivals but also from online-only groups such as China’s Shein which offer a bigger range of products than physical stores — at lower prices, with a still shorter time between product design and delivery than Inditex’s own supply chain. In an indication of the pressures facing fashion retailers, Gap said last month it would close all its UK stores.
Jacqueline Windsor, a partner in PwC’s UK practice specialising in retail, says: “For an incumbent, Zara is pretty sharp, but the reality is that these disruptive models are going after the clothing wallet.”
She adds: “While it’s true that Zara serves a wider customer market that’s relatively older and more affluent, where sustainable, ethical credentials could be an important advantage, the question is how brave will Inditex be in moving into new areas.”
Windsor contends the word “retail” fails to capture the world where companies such as Inditex now operate — with competition from social media, groups focusing on second-hand clothes and rentals, or online marketplaces that hold no stock of their own.
In Arteixo, Inditex is betting that, for all the changes — accelerated during the pandemic — a big part of the industry will remain familiar: people going to stores and trying clothes on. After 2020’s spike in digital sales, the group expects online to grow more slowly, although steadily, this year and after.
Meanwhile, some online fashion retailers have begun to flirt with bricks and mortar. This week Asos and Boohoo announced partnerships with Nordstrom in the US and Alshaya in the Middle East respectively to sell their labels in physical stores.
“The strategy we are developing — full integration between the physical and the digital, managing the company with even less stock, betting on sustainability — is delivering results,” says Isla, who enthuses about the number of people he saw on a recent trip to the group’s Paris and Milan stores.
But it is also a strategy that looks back to the cautious innovation of Amancio Ortega. The Inditex founder would make relatively few items of clothing and see how they sold before committing more heavily, taking advantage of his group’s vertical integration between manufacturing and retail even when it was at a far smaller scale.
Decades and billions of items of clothing later, Inditex is maintaining Ortega’s emphasis on the importance of real estate and keeping to the basic tenet of his approach: to make what it sells, rather than to sell what it makes.
Virgin Media and BT are both bringing blisteringly quick broadband to more homes across the UK. These Internet Service Providers (ISPs) now offer ultimate 1Gbps downloads to millions of properties which allow users to whizz full HD movies to their TVs in a matter of seconds. It’s impressive stuff but this new technology does come at a price.
BT and Virgin both charge around £60 for their best broadband which makes it a very expensive option. As a comparison, you can get 100Mbps downloads for around £25 per month if you shop around. If that price has put you off making the jump to hyperfast broadband then help could be at hand thanks to one of Virgin and BT’s rivals.
Hyperoptic has been pumping speedy broadband into UK homes for over 10 years and the firm has just announced a sale that features prices that are pretty hard to believe. Right now, anyone who joins this ISP can get 1Gbps broadband for just £35 per month – that’s almost half the usual price.
That deal is for the first 12 months with things then switching back to the standard £60 per month cost. There’s also no activation fee to pay and installation is all free.
If 1Gbps sounds too fast for your needs then Hyperoptic is also offering 500Mbps speeds for £30 (usually £50) or there are 150Mbps speeds for £25 (usually £35).
The only thing to be aware of is that Hyperoptic isn’t in all areas of the UK just yet. The firm is growing but you’ll only find this connection in 43 towns and cities.
If you have Hyperoptic in your road then you can find the deals here.
WHAT SPEED DO YOU REALLY NEED?
1Gbps might sound like something everyone will want but do you really need it? That’s an interesting question and there’s no doubt that, in the future, these speeds will be a necessity of any house. The web is a bit like a motorway with the more traffic running through it the slower it will get. That means busy homes with a slow connection will find things grinding to halt as more people use it.
The hypersonic fibre broadband service offers blistering downloads with a full HD movie taking under a minute to download.
A PlayStation 5 game from the digital store – like Red Dead Redemption 2 (99GB) – will take 4 hours and 20 minutes on the average UK broadband connection. That drops to 14 minutes when connected to 1Gbps speeds.
That’s all very impressive but services such as Netflix only require a speed of 25Mbps to stream 4K Ultra HD content. So, it’ll take a small army regiment streaming The Haunting Of Hill House in your living room to get close to maxing out that Gig1 allowance.
Of course, if your house is full of connected gadgets and your kids are streaming games all day long whist you’re downloading 4K movies or trying to make the morning Zoom call this will be a welcomed addition.
If that’s not your home then anything around 100Mbps should do just fine.
A Pew Research Center poll has concluded about two-thirds of Americans believe alien life exists somewhere out there among the stars. UFO mania has swept across the US in recent months thanks to the US Pentagon publishing its highly anticipated report on UFO sightings. Although the report did not validate the existence of extraterrestrials – as many hoped – it did not outright deny this possibility and that is a big deal in and of itself.
The Pew Research Center carried out is poll just before the Pentagon report was published, and examined America’s attitudes towards ETs.
The survey of more than 10,400 Americans asked questions about the existence of aliens and the possibility of ETs visiting our planet.
About 65 percent of those surveyed, said intelligent life exists somewhere on other planets.
Only 34 percent said alien life “does not” exist on other planets and a mere two percent refused to answer the question.
Elvis Presley shot to fame in 1956 and moved his family into Graceland a year later. One member of his Memphis Mafia inner circle was his cousin Billy Smith, who was just a boy at the time. And now over 60 years later, he’s shared his memories of first seeing Elvis record in the studio back in 1958.
Appearing on the Memphis Mafia Kid YouTube channel with his son Danny, Billy said: “When I first went to hear Elvis record was in 1958.
“He was home on leave and had to do a session because he had to have so many songs in the can before he was overseas and all.”
From 1958-60, The King did his army service in West Germany, while his manager Colonel Tom Parker rolled out some pre-recorded singles to keep the star in the public eye while he was away.
Elvis Presley‘s cousin shared: “And I remember I was in the Studio B with him and all I could do was stand there and watch him.”
Billy continued: “He’d have a break…I’d go get him water…but I finally got to thinking, ‘He don’t like this much’.
“He didn’t say anything, but I just thought, ‘He’s probably not real crazy about me gawking.’
“So I finally got the hint enough for myself that I went on and watched him from a distance.”
Yet even from further away, Elvis’ cousin was amazed at the talent he was witnessing.
Billy said: “It was just something different. To put my finger on it, I can’t. But I feel like so many of Elvis’ fans know exactly what I’m talking about.
“It’s just that one little difference that made Elvis extra special.
“When Elvis picked a song to record, he usually looked at it and thought, ‘What can I do with it?’, especially during the movie days.
“I think he put his heart and soul into every song he recorded, good or bad.”
Author: George Simpson
This post originally appeared on Daily Express
KILLEEN, Texas (KXAN) — The Killeen Police Department announced officers arrested Sixth Street mass shooting suspect De’Ondre White on Thursday.
White, 19, is being held in Killeen City Jail, according to police, after being arrested without incident. Bond has been set at $ 1 million.
Officers said on Thursday at about 2:23 p.m., members of the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, with help from the Killeen PD SWAT team, found White in the 1300 block of Anna Lee Drive in Killeen. That’s west of South Fort Hood Street.
He was arrested on a warrant for murder in connection with the June 12 mass shooting that took place in downtown Austin, police said. White is awaiting arraignment.
“We are glad to work with dedicated professionals that are committed to keeping our communities safe regardless of boundaries. This case covered multiple jurisdictions, and together we were able to locate and take into custody a violent fugitive,” said Killeen PD Chief Charles Kimble in a press release.
White’s arrest comes just two days after the Travis County District Attorney’s Office dropped charges against the two previous teenaged suspects in the case, ages 15 and 17. White was named the new, sole suspect by the Austin Police Department on Tuesday.
APD claimed on Tuesday White was responsible for the death of 25-year-old Douglas Kantor in the mass shooting, which also injured 14 others. Interim Chief Joseph Chacon said new witness statements, ballistic evidence and surveillance camera footage led investigators to believe White was the one who fired the shots.
APD said White was interviewed after the shooting but was released back to Killeen. Officers said he changed his hair and appearance before hiding from law enforcement.
APD believes White fired the sole gun in shooting
According to an arrest affidavit for White, a disagreement between two rival groups of teens/young adults from Killeen led to the shooting.
When interviewed by police, two people within White’s group named White as the shooter, the affidavit said. One said a person with other group showed a gun, and that’s when White fired multiple rounds from near the curb line into the street at the other group.
“This information matches evidence on scene, specifically the location of the cartridge cases on the sidewalk and in the street near the curb, as well as the victim locations in the street, away from the sidewalk area,” the affidavit reads.
Witnesses said White admitted he shot in self defense during a discussion among the group once they returned to Killeen, according to the affidavit.
A third person in White’s group also said White was the shooter and described to investigators where White was standing as he allegedly fired shots into the street, which lined up with other witness accounts.
Crime scene investigators found eight cartridges at the scene in front of a pub on the sidewalk near the north curb line in the 400 block of East Sixth Street. A preliminary examination determined the eight cartridge cases were most likely fired from the same gun, according to the affidavit.
In White’s June 20 interview with investigators before he was released back to Killeen, he said his group was standing on the sidewalk facing the street, while the other group was in the street facing the buildings.
The affidavit said White “claimed to have turned away and then heard gunfire coming from [the other group].” But officers in the affidavit said this would not have lined up with where the cartridges and victims were found.
“No victims were located on the sidewalk and no projectile defects were located in the building behind [White’s group],” the affidavit said.
DA wants to add aggravated assault charges
The Travis County District Attorney’s Office released a statement Thursday evening, saying it will be presenting the case to a grand jury and asking that White be charged with murder and multiple counts of aggravated assault.
The office also plans to ask that White be held in custody while awaiting trail.
“We’re grateful to the Lone Star Task Force and APD for bringing Mr. White into custody,” said Travis County District Attorney José Garza in a press release. “We know this has been a scary and stressful time, and appreciate our community’s patience throughout the investigation. Based on both forensic and eyewitness testimony, we have full confidence that the person responsible for the shooting has been arrested and is no longer a danger to our community. At this time, we believe that Mr. White was the only shooter.”
Author: Jaclyn Ramkissoon
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin
The fallout continues over an incident that many are calling racist, at a Coronado championship game that ended with people throwing tortillas at Orange Glen High.
CORONADO, Calif. — There is still a lot of heated reaction regarding the firing of the Coronado High School basketball coach. Some are surprised at the firing while others say that action does not go far enough.
David Roberts was at the CIF championship game Saturday, where his former Coronado High School basketball team faced off in overtime against Orange Glen High School of Escondido, who lost by 3 points.
Roberts said that all game long, tensions were high and tortillas brought by a fan were then thrown by other fans and team members at the mostly Hispanic Orange Glen team.
Those were actions that the Coronado team captain Wayne McKinney apologized for.
“The throwing of the tortillas after the game and the scuffle was unsportsmanlike and inexcusable, and on behalf of the team we apologize for the action,” McKinney said.
Also at the Coronado Unified School District meeting, the board voted unanimously to fire the Boy’s Basketball Head Coach JD Laaperi.
“We are excited about the first step, which was to fire the coach because the coach is the gravity of all the incidents that happened on Juneteenth,” said Yusef Miller of the San Diego Racial justice coalition.
News 8 reached out to Coach Laaperi for a response, but he did not respond.
“He got fired, and there’s nothing I can do about it. If people want to bring him back that’s up to them, but you know in this day in age when it comes to racial stuff, it’s very reactive,” said David Roberts, a former Coronado High School Basketball team Center, who said he won the Sportsmanship Award last year when his team also played in the CIF Championship.
While some Coronado students argue the tortillas thrown had no racial intent, others differ and say firing the coach is not enough, the students need to be held accountable and some wish for their CIF winning title to be stripped.
“This is bigger than just bad sportsmanship. That’s racist, and they need to be held accountable, so that all these other schools that think it’s funny to make fun of the team’s race, now you know what is coming and you can get in trouble,” said Maya Figure, an Orange Glen Alumni of the Class of 2019.
Activist Shane Harris calls this a teachable moment.
“That’s a good first start, I think Coronado needs to invest in a restorative justice round table, and I have already been in talks with the San Diego County Office of Education, and they have agreed to provide the space for that dialogue to happen between both teams,” Harris said.
Miller said there needs to be a policy and curriculum change.
The Escondido Union High School District will hold a special board meeting Thursday at 5:45 p.m. to bring forth a resolution denouncing racism.
WATCH RELATED: Community outraged after Coronado High students throw tortillas at Orange Glen athletes after basket (June 2021)
It’s no secret that Android devices can offer some serious value for money, but what’s coming soon from realme takes things to a whole new level. The Chinese manufacturer has just announced the launch of a new flagship-killing smartphone that features some hugely impressive specs for a price that’s pretty hard to believe.
Perhaps the biggest news about the new realme GT is that it’s powered by the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor. These brains are the fastest available in Android handsets right now. As such, Snapdragon 888 chipsets are usually only found inside the most premium devices, such as the new Xperia 1 III and OnePlus 9, that cost more than double the price of the latest from realme.
When the 888 launched late last year, Qualcomm boasted that phones using it would see huge performance gains whilst using much less power.
Alongside that blisteringly quick processor, there’s a bunch of other features inside the realme GT that we’d usually only expect to see inside the top-end of the market with price tags north of £800 or so.
Owners will be treated to a 120Hz refresh rate screen which makes scrolling through content feel silky-smooth and stutter-free.
There’s also a 64MP triple rear camera that uses Sony technology for improved image results and this device can connect to the latest 5G data technology allowing users to access the web at speeds of over 300Mbps.
To help power owners through the day is a 4,500mAh battery, which is compatible with realme’s speedy 65W SuperDart charging. That means this device will go from flat to full in just 35 minutes!
Other features include Dolby Atmos Dual Stereo speakers, Hi-Res Audio, and a 3.5mm audio jack allowing wired headphones to be plugged straight into the case without the need for annoying dongles.
So, now we get on to the all-important price.
realme says its new GT with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage will be priced at €449 (around £390). That’s pretty cheap but there’s an early bird promotion which drops that cost to just €369 (around £320).
The more expensive realme GT with 12GB RAM 256GB storage will be priced at €599 (around £520) with an early-bird special promotion of €499 (around £420) also available from June 21 to all consumers taking part in Amazon Prime Day.
Speaking about the phone, realme said: “realme aims to disrupt the mid- to high-end phone segment with the launch of realme GT. By offering the maximum number of flagship features for budget minded consumers, realme GT reflects the smartphone brand’s commitment to making cutting-edge technology more accessible to young consumers. “realme GT is equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, the most sophisticated chip, delivering the ultimate flagship-grade performance for users.”