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September sees “big improvement” in retail sales growth | Business

The BRC has released figures covering the five weeks from 30th August-3rd October 2020, showing a sales increase of 5.6% on a total basis.

In September, UK retail sales increased 6.1% on a like-for-like basis from September 2019, when they had decreased 1.3% from the preceding year.

Over the three months to September, in-store sales of non-food items declined 12.3% on a total and 9.5% on a like-for-like basis. This is better than the six-month and 12-month total average declines of 29.6% and 18.8% respectively. Over the three-months to September, non-food retail sales increased by 5.2% on a like-for-like basis and 3.2% on a total basis.

Online non-food sales increased by 36.7% in September, against a growth of 3.5% in September 2019. This is below the three-month average of 39.7% but above the 12-month average of 26.3%.

“September saw a big improvement in retail sales growth, however sales over the last six months are still down on the previous year,” said Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive, British Retail Consortium. “Tighter coronavirus restrictions have continued to hold back clothing and footwear, particularly as the Government further restricts social events. With office workers still at home for foreseeable future, the sales of electronics, household goods and home office products have remained high.

“September sales have also given retailers early signs that consumers are starting their Christmas shopping earlier this year, which retailers are encouraging their customers to do in order to manage demand at Christmas and keep people safe. However, store-based sales, excluding food are still in double-digit decline.

“The industry is beginning to recover, however, forced store or warehouse closures during any future lockdowns could put paid to this progress. Retailers have invested hundreds of millions in making their premises COVID-secure, with perspex screens, social distancing, additional staff and hygiene measures.

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EU plans big building renovation project to save energy

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is announcing a major building renovation project this week seeking to cut down energy costs and polluting emissions while providing a big boost to the construction industry.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Monday that the 27-nation bloc “must speed up” the pace of renovations if it is to meet climate change targets and said most efforts will go to schools, hospitals and social housing.

The bloc is littered with buildings that fail to contain heat in winter and cannot keep people cool in summer, creating massive energy bills that sap local budgets but also pollute cities and the atmosphere.

“Our buildings are responsible for 40% of our energy consumption,” said von der Leyen. And even though many buildings have or are being renovated, “at the current pace, it would take more than a century to bring emissions from our buildings to zero.”

The public funding of such projects would also help offset the massive damage that the coronavirus pandemic has done to the bloc’s economy. Some of the financial aid involved is set to come from the 750 billion-euro recovery fund backed by EU leaders over the summer.

The European Union has set a target to renovate 3% of government buildings each year, but because of poor monitoring some studies suggest this target is far from being met.

Last month, Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson stressed the need for renovations to meet the bloc’s target of climate neutrality and said the rate of renovations must now double. He stressed that more than a third of the bloc’s emissions come from buildings, through heating and air-conditioning.

The official announcement of the plans is set for Wednesday.

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Follow all AP stories on climate change issues at https:/apnews.com/hub/Climate.

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Dover Doins: Small cottage homes could help fill a big need – News – fosters.com

There are many discussions about these two words: perception and reality. They came to my mind while reading some reactions shared on social media, particularly about the proposal for 44 single-family “cottages” to be built in Dover. They are described as a cluster of “single family detached cottages” 384 square feet each, with kitchen/living room, bedroom and bath.

The developers are proposing these as addressing need for affordable housing locally.

Let’s talk about living in this modest space and the reaction by many members of the social media. Some yeah, some nay, and of course, as is the nature of the beast, many suggesting changes.

The first qualification popping up is of course, money. Here’s where our first thoughts of perception and reality come in. It is suggested that these homes will be rentals as opposed to purchased units.

The developers suggest $800 to $1,000 per month rent as something within the financial realm of 18- to 25-year-olds (even age 30) earning somewhere in the vicinity of $16-$20 an hour.

Make sense?

How much money are you making annually, and how much are you paying for rent on the Seacoast? How much space do you live in? What do you consider “affordable?”

Let’s try this one: Are you right now looking for rental space in the Tri-City area on the lower end of the monthly rent spectrum? In Dover, the average rent in September 2020 was $1,312 for a one bedroom apartment. How are you folks doing finding something in that range? We often see and hear the complaints of area residents bemoaning the growth of Dover as “gentrification.” That certainly has a substantial effect on what property owners can and do charge for rent, doesn’t it?

Regarding the size and viability of the cottage houses. Numerous social media posts

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Brits want greener homes and big energy saving, according to research

Seven in ten Brits want to make their homes greener and more cost-effective, according to new research.

Energy Saving Trust found that a household can save up to £581 on energy bills each year if they implement a full range of efficiency measures, purchase efficient appliances and exercise best practice energy saving behaviour, such as getting a smart meter installed.

On top of the financial savings, a household could also save 2,141 kg of CO2e emissions, which is the equivalent of driving 7,500 miles or enough energy to power the lights in 27 homes in the UK for a year.

Home improvement conversations increased during lockdown, with ‘insulation’ being the most discussed topic.

However, Britons are also considering additional energy efficient or sustainable actions they can take in their home, from eco-friendly paint to water saving shower heads.

New research of 4,000 respondents, commissioned by Smart Energy GB, reveals that Brits’ key motivation behind making their homes greener is to help the environment (71%) – but equally to save money (71%).

This week,Homebase, in partnership with Smart Energy GB, launched ‘The Green Aisle’ in 137 of their stores nationwide to showcase home improvement products in one place, including information on how to get a smart meter from your energy supplier, which will help make homes greener and winter-ready

“We know that more and more of our customers are looking to make environmentally friendly decisions as they embark on home and garden improvement projects,” said Homebase’s Chris O’Boyle.

“‘The Green Aisle’ not only puts some of our most sustainable and eco-friendly products all in one place for those who know what they’re looking for, but will also provide advice and inspiration, supported by our expert teams, for people who need a hand turning their green ambitions into reality.”

Craig Phillips’ top

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Siding with Big Pharma, Trump overrules FDA on stricter COVID-19 vaccine standards

Taking the advice of profit-driven pharmaceutical corporations over that of his own public health agencies and experts, President Donald Trump is blocking the Food and Drug Administration from imposing tougher safety requirements on the authorization of a coronavirus vaccine after drug company executives privately voiced disapproval with the push for stricter federal standards.

Politico reported late Monday that the White House’s “decision to halt release of new standards for emergency authorization of a Covid-19 vaccine came after officials close to [Trump] told the FDA that the pharmaceutical industry had objected to the tougher requirements.”

“The White House cited the private-sector opposition as a chief reason for blocking the guidelines, which aim to hold companies’ vaccines to a higher bar for safety and effectiveness and would likely push any authorization beyond Election Day,” according to Politico. “The fact that the president was siding with drug makers over his own regulators in shelving the guidance… adds a new dimension to concerns about White House interference in the FDA.”

Trump’s stonewalling of more stringent federal standards comes amid widespread concerns that the president’s politically motivated push for approval of a coronavirus vaccine before November 3 could result in a product that is insufficiently tested and unsafe. Late Monday, shortly after his release from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the president declared that “vaccines are coming momentarily”—a timeline scientists have rejected.

During the presidential debate last week with Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Trump dismissed more cautious vaccine timelines suggested by experts in his own administration as “very political” and said pharmaceutical executives have personally told him that “they can go faster than that by a lot.”

“I’ve spoken to Pfizer, I’ve spoken to all of the people that you have to speak to, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and others,” the president said.

When

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