I like milka chocolates very much

In probably the best lecture of my MBA programme, my professor told us: “Don’t chase big salaries. Focus on working for a company which is aligned to your values.” So when I was offered a job with Cadbury five years later, I couldn’t have been happier. The company always knew it was part of something bigger, which is why its Quaker founders built houses around its factory in Bournville back in 1880.

My job in the audit department was to make sure Cadbury was meeting its commitments on promoting its products ethically, manufacturing them sustainably and looking after its own employees. From the factory in Bucharest to the office in Lima, all my colleagues around the world felt immense pride in what our company was doing to build a better world – as well as giving us the chocolate we loved.

That all changed in January 2010, when we learned that Cadbury was to be taken over by Kraft.

Todd Stitzer, then CEO of the company, called a town hall meeting in our Uxbridge office, looking emotionally shattered. He and the board had done all they could to fight off the deal but were left with no choice but to accept an offer from Kraft on behalf of Cadbury shareholders.

A few days later the Kraft CEO, Irene Rosenfeld, came to meet us and made platitudes about the future. But we all knew things would never be the same: Cadbury’s deeply cherished corporate values were at risk of being discarded.

As in any takeover deal, the number one worry was jobs. Redundancies followed fast. At the time my first child was on the way, so I was happy to take some time out and was well looked after – but others were not.

As part of the deal Kraft claimed in official stock market announcements that the UK would be a “net beneficiary in terms of jobs” and, if it took over Cadbury, it would be “in a position to continue to operate its Somerdale factory near Bristol”. But its management knew the plans to close Somerdale were well advanced as it would have been part of due-diligence. No sooner was the deal done than Kraft proceeded with the plant closure, resulting in the loss of 500 jobs

A guide to sixflags

  • Six Flags Magic Mountain boasts one of the world’s largest collections of extreme rides. It doesn’t have the cohesive “theme” of other area parks, but it has its fans. Some folks call it an “iron park” for the steel used to build the rides, and its collection of roller coasters come with superlative descriptions that include fastest, tallest, first and only.

    Six Flags Magic Mountain Basics

    Fans of fast, scary thrill rides like Six Flags Magic Mountain best. Some attractions are geared toward the under-48-inch-tall set, but most visitors are in their mid-teens to mid-twenties (especially on weekends).

    On select days between mid-March and early September, Six Flags puts on an evening parade that ends with fireworks. Six Flags Magic Mountain also hosts musical concerts and other special events. In October, their Fright Fest offers special themed activities.

    Good and Bad at Six Flags Magic Mountain

    This is a summary of Six Flags’ good and bad characteristics, based on our visits and reading lots of online reviews.

    Good:

    • Lots of thrill rides
    • Online reviewers who give the park high ratings think the thrill of their rides outweighs other factors. You can read some of their reviews on Yelp.
    • Six Flags Magic Mountain has made progress in keeping people from cutting in line (a huge problem a few years ago).
    • Johnny Rocket and Chop Six have improved the food choices.
    • To minimize the “fry” factor while standing in line on a hot day, misters help keep the queues cool.

    Bad:

    • Mediocre maintenance: too much peeling paint, chewing gum on the sidewalks and smelly bathrooms.
    • Waits can be 3 hours at the worst. With fewer visitors, they run fewer cars and lines are still long.
    • Online reviewers who give Magic Mountain low ratings write about questionable cleanliness, poor customer service and “rude, vulgar” behavior.
    • On a summer day, the heat can be nearly unbearable.
    • Lots of extra costs (locker rental, parking, some activities).
    • It’s a long drive out to Valencia and traffic can be more than aggravating.

    What’s New at Magic Mountain in 2019

    Six Flags Magic Mountain opened as just plain Magic Mountain in 1971, with trolls named Blop, Bleep, Bloop, and the Wizard as mascots. Six Flags Corporation bought it in 1979. Today it’s a place where new attractions appear every year.

    In 2019, Magic Mountain’s newest attraction is West Coast Racers, a racing coaster that will feature two side-by-side tracks with four individual high-speed launches.

    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
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    Magic Mountain Tickets, Coupons and Discounts

    Buying Tickets at Magic Mountain
    ©2010 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    You already know the easy, obvious way to get Magic Mountain tickets: Go there, walk up to the ticket booth, buy tickets and go in.

    However, if you get a little organized ahead of time, you can save some money.

    All the (sometimes confusing) ticket options, passes, discounts and coupons are outlined in the Magic Mountain Tickets Guide.

The 4 Zara Items Everyone Will Want to Buy This Month

Last year, a particularly frustrating experience in Zara’s Oxford Street store lead me to write this article, praising retailers who – in contrast to the Spanish retailer – typically excel when it comes to their in-store customer experience.

Since that time, it appears Zara has undergone quite a few changes, largely through an increased investment and focus on technology.

From this it aims to offer customers a slicker, more streamlined, and ultimately enjoyable experience – as well as to combat the growing competition of ecommerce front-runners.

So, here’s a run-down of how Zara is using technology to gain an in-store edge, as well as what value it provides consumers.

Streamlining checkout with self-service

There’s no denying that Zara is one of the most in-demand retailers of the past few years. As of May 2017, it was ranked as the 51st most valuable brand in the world by Forbes, with sales increasing 13% to reach a record £602.7 million.

This is pretty evident in Zara stores, hence my frustrating experience last year. Shops are typically packed, often resulting in long queues for the fitting rooms and even longer ones to actually buy something (or god forbid, make a return).

In a bid to combat this, Zara has now launched self-service checkouts, allowing customers to skip the queue and buy for their items via do-it-yourself kiosks (à la Tesco).

However, the technology looks and feels much slicker than your average supermarket. Since being made a permanent feature of stores last September, I’ve given it a go a few times myself, and have actually left feeling quite impressed.

Instead of receiving the classic ‘unexpected item in bagging area’ alert, I enjoyed an intuitive and relatively easy-to-use experience. One of its best features is that it adds any item to your basket that you hold up in front of it (meaning no searching for or scanning pesky barcodes).

Aldi new jobs announcement ‘good news’, says Cameron

David Cameron has said the thousands of new jobs Aldi has announced it will create in the UK, is a sign the long term economic plan is working.

The supermarket chain is planning to create 35,000 new jobs in the UK over the next eight years.

They will include management and office roles as well as store and distribution jobs.

The German discount retailer wants to open 550 new stores across the country by 2022 , doubling the size of its UK workforce.

 

 

 

Not unexpected
In early June, Aldi began selling a-brands in Belgium. Initially it was about Coca-Cola, Kinder, M & M, Nutella and Lenor. Moments later followed Mars, Twix and Snickers, Axe and Dreft. In the meantime, we are finding more and more brands at Aldi, including Dash, Devos-Lemmens, Dove, Gillette, Gordon’s, Heinz … The range remains in motion, but what is the real impact? We asked Tom Padgett, client business partner at Nielsen. It is the initiative of the harddiscounter.

“The introduction of A-brands was not an unexpected move by Aldi. It went a bit stiffer at the discount store for a while, there was little progress, partly because expansion slowed. Aldi, however, expanded opening hours. In the Netherlands, Aldi faced the same problems. In September 2012, the chain introduced a number of brands to reduce market share decline.

Marken bei Aldi? Eine schwierige Geschichte …

“Merken bij Aldi? Een moeilijk verhaal…”

 

Nach rund einem halben Jahr a-Marken bei Aldi ist die Bilanz positiv: Hartabsatz-Kunden müssen nicht unbedingt für ihre Lieblingsmarken in andere Supermärkte gehen. Was bedeutet das für den unabhängigen Supermarkt?

Nicht unerwartet
Anfang Juni hat Aldi mit dem Verkauf von a-Marken in Belgien begonnen. Anfangs ging es um Coca-Cola, Kinder, M & M, Nutella und Lenor. Augenblicke später folgten Mars, Twix und Snickers, Axe und Dreft. Mittlerweile finden wir bei Aldi immer mehr Marken, unter denen auch Dash, Devos-Lemmens, Dove, Gillette, Gordon ‘ s, Heinz … Das Sortiment bleibt in Bewegung, aber was ist die wirkliche Wirkung? Wir haben Tom Padgett, Client Business Partner bei Nielsen, gefragt. Er ist die Initiative des Harddiscounters.

“Die Einführung von A-Marken war kein unerwarteter Schritt von Aldi. Es ging eine Weile etwas steifer am Discounter, es gab kaum Fortschritte, unter anderem weil sich die Expansion verlangsamte. Aldi weitete die Öffnungszeiten jedoch aus. In den Niederlanden sah sich Aldi mit den gleichen Problemen konfrontiert. Im September 2012 führte die Kette eine Reihe von Marken ein, um den Marktanteilsrückgang zu reduzieren.

 

 

What It’s Like To Live In A New Country Every Month

We are Chanel & Stevo and we’ve been on the road for over 3 years now. What started as a dream to see as what this world has to offer over a 1 year journey ended up as the two of us living in a new country every month. We slowly make our way around the globe 1 country at at time. Immersing ourselves in its culture as much we can. The way we travel has evolved over the years. At first we volunteered our way around, working in some unique places like a Husky Lodge at he top of Norway. These stays were anywhere from 3 -8 weeks. We have some great stories about these days. The second year was a jet set mission bouncing from country to country as many as 3 in one day. We wanted to see an photograph as much as possible and we made our way around the globe for a second time. Now though, the aim of our travel is to slow things down a bit and stay in places for longer. We still have times were we travel like mad for a week (that’s part of the deal when you are travel filmmakers and photographers like us) but now we try immerse ourselves in a culture for 4 weeks at a time and then we move on.

As in every lifestyle there are pros and cons and this is what we have learnt and some of things we have observed.

The PROS to living in a new country every month.

Everything is new. All the time.

It’s hard to get bored.

We spend 365 24/7 together. Having your closest mate with you all the time is a blast.

Having access to new and different kinds of produce. There is always something thrilling walking into a supermarket in a new country. Japan comes to mind as one of the best.

You have the opportunity to make new friends from different cultures.

Nobody knows you, you are a blank canvas and you can be anyone you want to be.

You get to see how people from opposite side of the world live. From remote Icelandic islands to box hotels in Vietnam.

Your mind is positively stimulated everyday.

The CONS

You have to try learn a new language every month. Yes English is spoken everywhere but we have been in many situations where a few local words helped us out.

We spend 365 24/7 together. It’s a con as well as a pro. We still try and do things independently each day like exercising or shopping but for the most part we’re glued .

We have to quickly learn the culture in order to best understand the place we live in.

Rent is high. When we rent an apartment it’s comes at a price as we’re only short term tenants.

Uncomfortable beds and small showers. Unless we stay in a high end apartment there is no real guarantee that the bed will be comfy and the shower will have a shower head that works.

Eating healthily is tough. Every new county has different produce and stocking the fridge with all the essentials to make a great meal is harder than you think.

Strong relationships are hard to come by and you have to say goodbye way to soon.

You miss your friends and family.

Having a routine is almost impossible. Packing up and moving every month takes its toll on the body and mind.

Dealing with currency conversions and banking is sometimes confusing.

Changing time zones messes with your body clock.

Flying. Flying is super tiring.

Tesco shutting series of city centre stores

Thousands of Tesco jobs are thought to be at risk as Tesco begins closing a series of city centre stores.

According to a report from The Times, industry insiders believe Tesco is planning to close up to 30 poorly performing Metro stores and to convert a further 60, although Tesco has not confirmed those figures.

 

The move comes as Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis looks to cut costs to boost profit margins.

Lewis has set a target of improving margins up from 2.9 per cent last year to between 3.5 per cent and four per cent in 2020.

Staff at Metro outlets in Lancashire, Manchester and Liverpool have been told their stores are closing, with the average Metro employing 75 people.

The supermarket giant is just days away from unveiling its new discount player Jack’s, at Chatteris near Cambridge.

It’s thought former Tesco Metro stores will be converted into the new brand, enabling the supermarket to grow a value retail competitor at a much faster rate than establishing completely new stores.