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El Corte Inglés & the business model that looks set to be consigned to history

Companies

MADRID | J.P. Marín Arrese | Chairman Isidoro Alvarez’s death this week has commanded widespread emotion. He embodied El Corte Inglés’ soul, leading it to become Europe’s largest department store.  Thanks to formidable growth, coupled with a unique business model, Alvarez sought and implemented widespread changes to company practice from the 90,000 strong work force, thorough his personal commitment to the firm. In exchange, he preserved full employment even when faced with dwindling sales during the crisis. He also drove a fully self-financed expansion, ruling out indebtedness and support from capital markets. 

In Europe

Greece: Survey finds 2013 household budgets devastated, inequality persists

ATHENS | By MacroPolis | The impact of austerity measures on Greek citizens has been devastating, according to the last official dataThe average monthly expenditure of households dropped 7.8 percent year on year (YoY) to 1,509.39 euros in 2013, according to the 2013 Household Budget Survey published by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

In Europe

Financial sector welcomes UK oversight of Banking Union

BRUSSELS | By Alexandre Mato | The financial sector has been expecting a boost to support capital markets from the incoming EC President Jean-Claude Juncker. There has been widespread speculation as to what shape such a boost might take within the monetary union. However Britain´s opposition to Juncker´s appointment means expectations have been somewhat tempered.

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Companies

Orange-Jazztel deal stirs M&A enthusiasm

MADRID | The Corner | Orange is set to buy Spanish competitor Jazztel in a €3.33bn ($4.3bn) deal. The merger will see Jazztel receive €13 a share, a boost of 22% on the company´s closing share price on Friday. The French giant says it is not seeking further acquisitions in other countries. The truth is we haven´t seen this M&A frenzy since 2006-2008: deals worth $630bn + 63% vs. 2013 and – 29% below $897bn in 2006.

Markets

Morning coffee: Germany’s ZEW, UK inflation, and much more

MADRID | The Corner | Don’t expect big changes in stock markets’ behaviour today: everyone is waiting for the main events of the week, that is, any move from the US Federal Reserve (FOMC meeting ends on Wednesday) and the Scotland referendum on Thursday. Just note that Germany is releasing ZEW index today, which gauges big investors and analysts’ confidence in the EU’s main economy. In the UK we’ll have consumer prices for August.

 

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Markets

Elevator QE

SAO PAULO | Marcus Nune’s Historinhas- Guest Post by Benjamin Cole | If you ever farted loudly on a crowded elevator, then you know the reaction of most economists to the idea that national debts should be monetized through central bank quantitative easing (QE), aka “printing money.”

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Companies

El Corte Ingles, a succession filled with uncertainty

MADRID | By Fernando G. Urbaneja | The death of Isidoro Álvarez, the legendary Spanish retailer and  El Corte Inglés chairman, comes at a moment of critical importance to the company. Urgent strategic decisions are required at one of Europe’s most peculiar and inimitable businesses. El Corte Inglés’ model is unique with those with extensive knowledge of the firm concluding that is has its own defining characteristics.

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