Ofcom Issues £1.4 Million Fine to Giffgaff for Goodybag Failings

Ofcom Issues £1.4 Million Fine to Giffgaff for Goodybag Failings

Ofcom, the telecoms regulatory body, has issued fines to companies such as EE, Virgin Media, and O2 in the last year for failures of service and breaking the law. The latest telecoms company to receive a hefty fine from Ofcom for misbehaviour is Giffgaff. Recently the news broke that Ofcom was fining the mobile phone operator for billing errors which cost 2.6 million customers up to £2.9 million over 8 years. Despite topping the Which? customer survey for best mobile operator back in April, Giffgaff now has to pay £1.4 million.

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Ryanair to Cancel Thousands of Flights

Ryanair to Cancel Thousands of Flights This Winter

Budget airline Ryanair has been facing problems with crew strikes over the last few years. More issues restricting Ryanair’s operations are coming due to the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft for the foreseeable future.

How does the Boeing 737 Max grounding affect Ryanair?

Ryanair had ordered more than 50 of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft to expand their fleet between spring 2019 and summer 2020. However, none of them had even been delivered yet when the aircraft was grounded in March 2019. This occurred following the second of two fatal crashes due to a software flaw unique to the plane. Even if they receive delivery of some of the planes, they are banned from flying until they are certified as safe. It is unlikely that this will happen until the end of the year, affecting flight plans for airlines.

Ryanair is just one of many airlines that are having to cancel flights and reconsider expansion plans following delays with the unsafe aircraft from Boeing. Ryanair has actually ordered a variant of the Boeing 737 Max called the Max200, which will require separate safety certification. This could take even longer before the planes are approved and ready to be delivered. Now Ryanair is not expecting to receive their first group of Max200 planes until early 2020. This will affect Ryanair flights from this winter to next summer.

What is happening to Ryanair flights in 2019 – 2020?

The delays with Boeing aircraft are now forcing Ryanair to revise its flight schedules. Their previous predictions for growth are likely to fall by at least 4% next summer. This means that until they receive the new aircraft and can meet the demand for flights, Ryanair is going to have to reduce their flight plans. Thousands of less popular routes will face cuts. Though they expect to return to normal scheduled growth by the end of next year, the airline is also expecting to cancel around 30,000 flights in the meantime.

Ryanair is optimistic in thinking that the Boeing 737 Max will return to the skies by the end of 2019, and the Max200 variant will follow within a couple of months. Due to the severity of the incidents involving the Boeing 737 Max so far, regulators cannot risk allowing the aircraft to resume flying without 100% confidence in the safety of its systems and eradication of those faults. If the Boeing 737 Max remains grounded for longer than anticipated, then this could result in further losses and cancellations for airlines like Ryanair.

Why will Ryanair have to cancel flights?

The delays with their Boeing order means that Ryanair will end up with a smaller fleet than planned. They are likely to have to extend leases and delay sales on current aircraft in their fleet. Even if they do, the shortfall means that Ryanair will have to close some bases over the winter. They will also have to cancel some flights so that they can dedicate the planes that they do have to the most popular routes. This could affect flights that have already been sold for departures between winter 2019 and summer 2020.

Ryanair is now looking at which bases they may have to close temporarily and is no longer recruiting. There is a surplus of around 300 pilots, which means that Ryanair is offering job shares and unpaid leave over the winter. Ryanair will have to negotiate with staff and relevant unions over closures, which are likely to begin taking effect from November 2019. Even when the aircraft begin to be delivered from Boeing, Ryanair can only introduce up to 8 of them per month, so it will take even longer. On top of Brexit causing uncertainty among holidaymakers and increasing oil prices, limited flights could mean that the flights that do go ahead have higher prices for tickets.

10 Medical Conditions You Need To Declare To Travel Insurance Companies That You May Not Have Thought About

10 medical conditions you need to declare when buying travel insurance

Whether you’re buying your travel insurance from your airline such as Thomas Cook or from a travel company such as Co-Operative Travel, you usually have to declare medical conditions that may affect your health when travelling to another country for a holiday or work trip. There are a few health conditions that you may not have thought about when declaring your conditions to your travel insurance company, to make sure you haven’t forgotten about anything we have compiled you a list of conditions you may need to declare. If you don’t declare a condition to your travel insurance company and you fall sick whilst abroad due to this condition you may not be covered under your policy, leaving you stuck to pay for new flights or large hospital bills.

Type 2 Diabetes

If you have been diagnosed or treated for your Type 2 Diabetes within the last 2 years you need to declare this to your travel insurance company as this condition could affect when flying and whilst you’re in another country.


You need to declare your Epilepsy anyway, but you also need to declare if you have had any seizure related medical treatments within the last 2 years. You need to declare this even if your seizures aren’t severe or happen very infrequently.

Current Pregnancy Complications

You should know that you need to declare your pregnancy to your travel company anyway, but if you have been diagnosed with pregnancy complications you also need to inform the travel company of this as you may experience further complication whilst flying or in another country.


If you suffer from Parkinson’s you need to declare this to your travel insurance company if you have been diagnosed or received treatment within the last 2 years for early-onset Parkinson’s disease.


If you have ever suffered from a respiratory condition including Asthma you need to declare this to your travel insurance company as respiratory conditions are likely to be affected when travelling.


If you have received a diagnosis of Arthritis or any treatment for your Arthritis within the last 2 years you need to declare this to your travel insurance company.

PTSD or Depression

If you have ever suffered from a diagnosed psychological or psychiatric condition you need to declare this to your travel insurance company. This could be anxiety, PTSD, depression or OCD for example.

High Blood Pressure

If you have ever suffered from a diagnosed circulatory condition you need to declare this to your travel company as there is a possibility travelling may affect this condition.


You may already know that if you’re currently suffering from and receiving treatment for cancer you need to declare this to your travel insurance company, but if you have ever been diagnosed with and received treatment for cancer you need to declare this to your travel insurance company too.


If you suffer from IBS and have been diagnosed or treated for the condition within the last 2 years you need to declare this as you may require treatment whilst travelling or in a different country.

If you are unsure whether you need to delcare a current condition you’re suffering from you should inquire with your travel isnurance company about their policies regarding your health condition and make sure that it will be covered under your insurance policy before travelling.

The Best UK Pride Collections 2019

UK Pride Collections 2019

It’s that time of year again – not just summer, but Pride. The month of June and the weeks surrounding it are festival season for the LGBTQ community and allies all around the world. Even as global society grows more inclusive, visibility and pride are more important than ever in the face of divisiveness. This is why it matters who you give your money to when you shop for your Pride gear every year. It’s all too easy to slap a rainbow on something, but which retailers are walking the walk and putting their money where their mouth is? These are some of the best collections available for Pride 2019.

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Disney Plus: Everything You Need to Know About Disney’s New Streaming Service

Disney Plus: Everything You Need to Know About Disney's New Streaming Service

Streaming platforms are dominating media, and Disney is finally ready to take on Netflix. Even as Apple is developing its own streaming service with original and exclusive content, Disney+ is preparing to take over. Streaming is transforming the entertainment industry, and Disney is an industry giant which needs to catch up. Disney is in the process of withdrawing its content from other platforms so that it will only be available through Disney+ once the new service launches later this year. But what can we expect from this?

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BBC to launch a Sustainable Fashion Brand

BBC is to launch a sustainable fashion brand in collaboration with Mother of Pearl a well known eco-friendly fashion producer.

bbc sustainable fashion

The BBC has debuted their clothing line at London Fashion Week in a mission to ‘place sustainable fashion at the heart’ of fashion week. They’re working with the British Fashion Council along with the sustainable fashion brand Mother of Pearl.

On Saturday 16th February the BBC ran a series of talks including some big names from both the fashion world and the BBC Earth world. The talks discussed Circularity, how technologies are changing the fashion world and how brands can become more sustainable.

Mother of Pearl will be releasing the line in collaboration with BBC Earth in June, exclusively to Net-a-Porter. There will be nine pieces in the collection. Mother of Pearl has said they’re using 100% ‘certified peace’ silk and is working with ‘Cocccon’ another company that “has managed to create a very simple supply chain, from certification to dye to print, all under one roof”.

They have also said that the clothing is going to be “fancy” and will include “silk dresses you want to wear to summer parties in the sunshine.”, including fancy and beautiful clothing in the line will hopefully change the idea of sustainable clothing being boring and dull.

Both BBC Earth and Mother of Pearl hope to change the fashion industry not only the sustainability of fast fashion but also for high fashion brands and events like fashion week not only in London but worldwide.

Amazon Alexa will soon be able to make 999 emergency calls for you

Amazon Alexa will soon be able to make 999 emergency calls

Though there has been discussion around the idea for several years now, it might finally be happening. The Metropolitan Police Force is developing new technology that allows people to call emergency services using voice-controlled devices. Despite mistrust of surveillance, almost 3 million people in the UK use such devices. Whether it is an Amazon Echo or a Google Home Hub, residents will be able to tell the device to call 999 for them if they are unable to do so themselves. This could be an efficient way to get help in an emergency situation, especially if an actual phone is not readily available.

How will this new automated 999 service work?

Victims in need of help can yell to their voice-controlled device to call 999 for them. The smart assistant will then call the emergency services and come through as an automated bot rather than a human person. There are currently no further details on how the call from the bot would proceed or how the contact centre would analyze and respond to the call. They are no doubt working out how voice-controlled devices could detect the need to call 999 without a direct voice command. Plenty of people will play games or watch television in the vicinity of their device, with violent sounds and characters or even the players themselves yelling for help sometimes, that could trigger a 999 call from the device. They will have to work with device manufacturers such as Amazon and Google to develop this kind of service.

What will this mean for the future of 999 calls?

The first 999 call in 1936 was also the first emergency services call in the whole world. The emergency number came into being following a fire in London in 1935. Five women died after calls for help could not get through to the busy switchboard. The British public has been dependent on the 999 service ever since. However, with constant technological updates, it is time that the emergency services caught up. A development like this may change 999 calls forever. Senior sources within the police force think that it could signal an end to 999 calls as we know them. Everyday life and the services that we rely on are only going to continue to change as technology and our society advances. A development like this could save lives in cases such as break-ins, domestic violence, or elderly people falling if they live alone. It will also help to take some of the strain off of police resources and to filter emergency calls more effectively. Calling out “Alexa, call 999!” might seem like a strange or funny idea, but the ability to do this will help lots of people. At the moment, it will be another 18 months before the police bring trials of this service to the public, and even longer before it will roll out nationwide.

What would a hard Irish border look like?

What would a hard Irish border look like?

As Brexit negotiations continue to drag on following the failure of Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement to win over Parliament, one of the sources of the discord is the matter of what will happen to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit. As the Brexit date looms ever closer, the no-deal scenario is beginning to seem like a grim probability.  Between the UK, the EU, and Ireland, nobody seems able to agree upon a viable solution.

What is the hard Irish border?

There has been plenty of arguing about the Irish backstop, which is a kind of safety net that would allow the Irish border to remain open if we didn’t have a Brexit deal. Without such a backstop, we would have to implement a hard Irish border. When the UK leaves the EU, the border between Ireland in the EU and Northern Ireland in the UK will be the only land border between the UK and the EU. Once the UK no longer follows EU regulations about freedom of trade and movement, there will be different rules for checking goods that cross the border between them. This will require new infrastructure around the border and inspections on goods and people crossing it. Since the peace process following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement ending the Troubles, the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland has been open. There isn’t any physical border or security checkpoints. This would change if a hard border was introduced. Most people do not want this, but many people also do not want a soft border. The backstop would create an invisible customs border between the rest of the UK and Northern Ireland. Government research has yet to find a working alternative to a hard border, as the technology-based checks that were proposed are not credible, according to a Brexit minister.

What does it have to do with the Good Friday Agreement?

Lots of people think that a hard Irish border would be going against the Good Friday Agreement. This 1998 peace treaty brokered the end of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, during which 3,500 people lost their lives between 1969 and 1997. The agreement led to improvements in working relationships between Ireland and Northern Ireland and all of Britain. If there was a hard Irish border, it could go back to the conditions of army barracks and watchtowers along the border. These were removed after the agreement to develop a more peaceful environment. New police patrols and border checks could threaten this peace and the stability of life for anybody living along the border. Adding restrictions would create new friction and bring back memories of the past struggles. Nobody wants it to seem as if the peace process is being undone. However, there are no explicit commitments in the Good Friday Agreement concerning customs posts along the border.

What is the UK saying about the Irish border?

The Prime Minister Theresa May agrees that there needs to be a backstop and that there should not be new infrastructure on the border. However, there is a red line preventing an agreement in which Northern Ireland ends up in a separate regulatory territory to the rest of the UK, which would be creating a border in the Irish sea. Britain needs to have a common rulebook with the EU. If we had matching standards for agriculture, foods, and other goods, then there would be no need for regulatory checks at the border. The VAT and customs declarations could be done electronically instead. The UK refuses to consider checks by EU customs officials or even British staff for imports and exports through British ports. May is yet to offer an acceptable alternative to a hard Irish border or a successful plan for a soft Irish border.

What is the EU saying about the Irish border?

The proposal from the EU is to create a special deal for Northern Ireland. It would create a “common regulatory area” between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The UK would not be happy with this and so will not agree to it. The EU has said that if the UK refuses this backstop, then they will be enforcing a hard border if Brexit goes ahead with no deal in place. This will result in major disruptions, as trade deals with all of the EU countries will need to be renegotiated. Hold-ups due to the necessary border checks could result in delays and supply problems, including shortages of food and medicine. No deal is the only option on the table other than cancelling Brexit altogether, or holding a second public referendum, if Parliament will not accept May’s withdrawal agreement proposals and the EU refuses to negotiate anymore.

What is Ireland saying about the Irish border?

Ireland thinks that a backstop is absolutely necessary to continue trade and peaceful daily life without friction after Brexit. It will be difficult for the UK to avoid the implementation of border checks and personnel manning the border if we leave the EU with no deal and the EU enforces the hard border. Irish businesses would likely have serious cost implications, especially any in the agriculture sector. However, Ireland would still have trade deals with the EU to benefit from. If the UK left with no deal, we would have nothing in place, and would find it difficult to negotiate new trade deals if we failed to resolve the problem of the Irish border. Ireland is hoping to keep a backstop.

What would a hard Irish border look like?

What will happen if there is a hard Irish border?

While the UK and Ireland are both in a common travel area in the EU single market, there are no tariffs or restrictions on goods. Post-Brexit, they will be in different regulatory territories. The Irish border will become a physical frontier for the EU. Checks will become necessary to ensure that goods meet safety standards and import taxes have been paid. They are also necessary for the prevention of smuggling. Some things could be done online with the appropriate technology, but physical checks are unavoidable for things like food and livestock. The disorder of a no-deal Brexit and enforcement of a hard border would have a negative impact on the Irish economy. There are also concerns about a resurgence of violence from the IRA. The economic deterioration would also have a negative impact on consumers, who would have to spend more on goods if they were even able to get them because of limited availability due to the disruptions to production and importing and exporting goods between the UK and the EU. This could increase tensions.

What are the alternatives to a hard Irish border?

The only way we can avoid a hard Irish border is if the checks were carried out elsewhere. However, in the case of a no-deal Brexit, this would be very difficult to achieve both practically and politically. The DUP in Northern Ireland is refusing the idea of a backstop with it remaining in the customs regime with the Republic of Ireland, which would separate it from the rest of the UK. To avoid this and ensure the backstop, Theresa May proposed that the entire UK would remain in the EU customs union until a solution could be found to avoid the hard border. The UK Parliament is rejecting this, though, because it would defeat the point of trying to leave the EU. The EU might insist on creating the border in the EU instead, with border checks at ports such as Rotterdam and Calais. This could have a negative effect on the relationship with Ireland and trading opportunities with other countries.

Can we avoid a no-deal Brexit?

The UK will be leaving the EU at 11 pm on Friday 29th March. As this date approaches and Theresa May continues to fail to pass an agreement with Parliament or negotiate further with the EU, a no-deal Brexit is becoming increasingly likely. Our ability to avoid this depends on whether the EU or the UK will amend their positions and agree on different terms. This is not very likely at this point, though. The best we can probably hope for is that the UK proposes an extension to Article 50 and the EU agrees to it, so that we will have more time to work out a withdrawal agreement plan for Brexit.

Are there any preparations for a no-deal Brexit and a hard Irish border?

Without a withdrawal agreement or an extension, the UK will suddenly be out of the EU with no exit plan. Everything will change immediately from 11pm on 29th March 2019. Goods going from Britain to the EU will need to undergo regulatory checks and be subject to duty payments. The same will apply to goods coming from the EU into Britain, but not until the required infrastructure is in place. It is likely to slow down trade routes, especially between Dover and Calais, and may even cause flight delays at airports. If we leave the EU without a deal, the UK will have to declare this a “critical incident” and call a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee. Thousands of British civil servants have been working on plans for a no-deal scenario since the referendum in 2016. Here are some of the preparations for Brexit:

Lorry Traffic and Shipping Routes

One of the primary concerns is the lorry traffic via the English Channel. A plan named Operation Brock will come into effect for parking a number of trucks up to 13,000. With a government grant of £28.8 million, the county of Kent is improving Manston Airfield and the surrounding roads, including signs and traffic signals. These measures will hopefully prevent a shutdown in Kent, as there was during a Calais strike in 2015. The UK government still anticipates a reduction in access for up to 6 months for major lorry routes. They are also hoping to create new shipping routes in and out of the UK to prevent Dover and Folkestone from coming to a standstill. The Department of Transport is giving three ferry companies £107.7 million to operate more crossings on some of their shipping routes and ease the traffic elsewhere.

Food and Medicines

As you have probably seen in the news, manufacturers have already been stockpiling goods in the event of a supply crisis. The UK is self-sufficient when it comes to food up to about 60%, so there shouldn’t be a severe food crisis. However, in an attempt to avoid empty shelves due to disruptions in production and transport, some retailers are stockpiling imports, leading to a shortage of warehouse space. Consumers have concerns about the cost of goods increasing due to short supply. Retailers are also concerned about excess fresh food and livestock that can’t be exported from the UK in time due to hold-ups. The UK is very reliant on the EU for fresh produce, which is difficult to stockpile. There will likely be a reduction in variety and quality of products available in the UK after Brexit. The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs is creating an EU Exit Emergencies Centre to handle no-deal situations around the clock. Meanwhile, the Department of Health has also been stockpiling prescription and pharmacy medicines. They have signed £10 million in contracts for the storage of thousands of pallets of medicine. They are working on plans to give medicines priority on freight routes and to air-freight medical items that have very short shelf-lives.

Borders and Fishing

HMRC is establishing a Border Delivery Group to prepare for immigration and customs changes at all entry points into the UK. The Border Force is also creating a Readiness Task Force of 300 officers and will recruit another 600 officers to staff the borders. In the event of a no-deal Brexit and the creation of a hard Irish border, the UK will have to send staff over to man the border. One of the controversial issues amongst the negotiations has been fishing rights. Without a deal, the UK is going to have to extensively patrol our fishing waters. The Marine Management Organization is due to pay £40 million in a 4-year contract beginning on the 1st April 2019. This will allow them to charter civilian vessels to aid in the patrol of fisheries and moving around the Exclusive Economic Zone throughout UK waters.

Protests and Crime

The chaos of a no-deal exit from the EU is likely to cause protests among the public. Senior officers in the police force think that there is a low risk of anger and disorder in most areas, but some forces are preventing officers from taking any leave during the first 3 weeks following Brexit. If we leave the EU without a deal, the police force will lose access to European criminal justice tools and systems. The National Crime Agency, which communicates with Europol and overseas forces, is recruiting almost 90 officers to use the Interpol system and other more labour-intensive methods instead. This is much less effective. The National Police Chiefs Council is also setting up an International Crime Co-ordination Centre as part of Operation Safety Net, which is intended to assist forces with international searches for people.


Costa Christmas Menu 2018 Launches Today with Brand New Festive Treats

Costa Christmas Menu 2018

Today is 1st November, which means that the spooky season is over and the season of Christmas cheer is here. The nation’s favourite coffee chain Costa is releasing its Christmas cups today. The cute designs take inspiration from snowglobes and feature traditional Christmas characters. They also come in several fun new colours. The classic red Costa takeaway cup has a snowman, while you can get a bright teal cup with Santa Claus, a rich purple cup with a gingerbread man, or a warm bronze cup featuring a reindeer. All of the cups are fully recyclable, with recycling drop-off points available in Costa stores.

Costa Christmas Drinks 2018

New takeaway cups aren’t the only festive thing Costa is launching today. Of course, they are also offering their limited edition Christmas menu in stores from 1st November. Some old favourites are returning, including the Black Forest Hot Chocolate, Gingerbread & Cream Latte, and the autumnal Hot Spiced Apple juice. Gingerbread & Cream is now available as a hot chocolate flavour, too. In addition, Costa is introducing two brand new flavours which will also be available as either a latte or hot chocolate. Hazelnut Praline & Cream boasts a layer of chocolate, rich hazelnut syrup, whipped cream, and a sprinkling of truffle crumbs. Caramelised Orange & Cream features zesty orange syrup with a slice of caramelised orange on top of whipped cream.

Costa Christmas Drinks 2018

And that’s not all – there are two more new drinks on the Christmas menu. If you want to indulge in rich flavours without the guilt, Costa is launching Little Luxuries. These cortado cups hold miniature decadent hot drinks with less than 200 calories each. The Luxury Hot Chocolate is just 113 calories (or 150 in a takeaway cup). The Luxury Hot Caramel is still only 121 calories (or 159 calories in a takeaway cup). Treat yourself to a little taste of indulgence.

Costa Christmas Food 2018

Perhaps even more exciting than the new drinks is the festive food range at Costa. There are plenty of new seasonal options to cheer up your breakfast or lunch. Some previous favourites are returning too, like the Pigs Tucked Under Blankets Panini, Turkey Feast, and Brie, Bacon & Cranberry Panini. The main dish causing excitement for customers is Pigs & Blankets Mac n Cheese. Pasta, cheese, sausage, and bacon is bound to fill you up on a cold day. There is also the Ultimate Christmas Toastie, featuring maple-cured bacon, cheese, sage & onion stuffing, plus béchamel and cranberry sauces.  Other new festive additions include a Prawn Cocktail Sandwich, Ham Hock and Piccalli Sandwich, and Beef and Caramelised Onion Toasted Baguette.

Costa Christmas Food 2018

The possible showstopper is the Turkey & Emmenthal Shimmer Brioche. It features turkey breast, Emmenthal cheese, maple smoked bacon, and pork, sage, and onion stuffing on a brioche bun with a shimmering glaze. It also comes with mayonnaise and spiced-date BBQ sauce. If you don’t eat meat, there are several new items on the Christmas menu that you can enjoy. The Veggie Christmas Lunch Wrap contains sweet potato falafel, Wensleydale & cranberry cheese, and spiced-plum chutney. Spiced Parsnip Soup is perfect for warming up this winter. It may not be that Christmassy, but there is also Mozzarella and Chargrilled Arrabiata Pasta. Their Christmas Cheeseboard Panini is also suitable for vegetarians. It combines four different kinds of cheese on seeded-sourdough ciabatta bread with a redcurrant & port sauce.

Costa Christmas Cakes 2018

No Christmas Menu is complete without an array of sumptuous shimmering sweet treats. Costa certainly hasn’t let us down on that front this year. Treat yourself to a Gingerbread and Sticky Toffee Wreath Cake slice, topped with icing, toffee sauce, and crystallized ginger. The Double Chocolate Yule Log brings some sparkle with a coat of golden shimmer. For something fruitier, try the Clementine Drizzle Loaf Cake with shreds of orange. Smaller snacks include Gingerbread Muffins and Stollen Bars. For breakfast, there is now a Cup Croissant with Nutella on the menu. Basically, a croissant in the shape of a cup, served warm and filled with melted Nutella. Sounds pretty divine.

Costa Christmas Cakes 2018

Children can be picky and prefer milder flavours, but Costa has options that will appeal to the kids, too. They now sell a cute Paul the Penguin Chocolate Cake, a Jammy Rudolph Shortcake, and a Father Christmas Gingerbread. If you’re a vegan or gluten-free, there is something on the menu for you, too. Costa now offers the Gluten-Free Vegan Iced Fruit Slice and a Gluten-Free Vegan Mince Tart, both approved by the Vegan Society and Coeliac UK. Of course, Costa also offers traditional Mince Pies. The new Christmas Menu items range from £1.65 to £3.99. Head to your local Costa today to try them!

Whitbread Sells Costa Coffee Chain to Coca-Cola for £3.9 Billion

Whitbread Sells Costa Coffee Chain to Coca Cola for £39 Billion

Coca-Cola is a giant in the soft drinks industry, and now they’re stepping up by extending their reach into the coffee industry. Previously, the brand has been dabbling with coffee flavour, trialling Coke Plus Coffee in several countries around the world. Now it appears that Coca-Cola is acquiring the Costa Coffee chain in a multi-billion pound deal with Whitbread. Costa is arguably the British equivalent of Starbucks, having at least one of their instantly recognizable coffee shops on what seems like every high street.

Why is Whitbread selling Costa Coffee?

The Whitbread group originally bought the chain from the Costa brothers in 1995. There were only 39 shops then, in comparison to around 4,000 stores and franchises today. Like many retailers in the current economic climate, Costa Coffee had been struggling lately. Plans were in the works to demerge Costa Coffee from the Whitbread group into its own separate company. This would allow them to focus on growing their Premier Inn hotel chain as well as the London food chain Pure. Now, selling the brand to Coca-Cola means that the company can use the money to pay debts and appease shareholders. Whitbread’s shares jumped by almost 19% following the news of the sale to Coca-Cola, whose own shares increased by 1%. Coca-Cola is paying almost a billion more than analysts were anticipating, which is excellent for Costa.

Is Costa Coffee closing down?

Some branches of Costa have been shutting in some towns, but this is due to local circumstances. While Costa Coffee did suffer a drop in high street sales this year, they were still working on ways to continue expansion. Compared to the number of high street names going into administration or completely closing down, Costa is in nowhere near as bad a position. This sale could be saving the chain from facing difficulties like those a few more years down the road. At the moment, the only change to Costa shops is the introduction of their new autumn menu. It includes a range of seasonal “Bonfire” drinks with toffee and spice flavours. They are also adding ten new snacks, which include vegetarian goat’s cheese focaccia and vegan Thai curry pots. There is also a pecan cookie for vegans, but the “Bonfire” range contains honey.

What will Coca-Cola do with Costa Coffee?

The deal will not actually complete until the first half of 2019, so there will not be any major announcements about the future of Costa Coffee just yet. When we do hear about them and eventually see their plans implemented, Costa could be as ubiquitous as Coke. Hot beverages, and especially coffee, represent a trendy and growing market which Coca-Cola wants to get in on. Coca-Cola has the reach and power to grow Costa Coffee into a truly global brand like Coke itself. Think vending machines and stock in every potential type of retail establishment, not just airports and train stations but hotels, pubs, restaurants, cinemas, even bowling alleys and similar venues. Coca-Cola can help Costa to break into other international markets that it hasn’t been able to crack yet, and give Starbucks a run for its money.