Online car dealer slashes workforce amid recession fears

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8th June 2022

Bite-sized business news from the UK and beyond
Good morning If you’re making travel plans for this summer then recent headlines on flight cancellations, record petrol prices and rail strikes may be filling you with dread. To help navigate what could be a summer of travel chaos, check out this guide.
Today's stories
  • Online car dealer slashes workforce amid recession fears
  • Apple’s next big thing
RETAIL
Online car dealer slashes workforce amid recession fears


What happened?
Yesterday British online car retailer, Cazoo, announced it would cut 750 jobs in the UK and Europe in a bid to save £200m. The move comes as the company warned that consumer confidence has declined and a recession was likely on the cards.

Some no-background: Cazoo burst onto the car dealership scene in 2018, calling itself the ‘online used car disruptor’ and promising to ‘revolutionise the car buying experience’ in a market it says is worth £500bn.

It was founded by serial entrepreneur Alex Chesterman – the man behind Zoopla and Love Film.

On the site customers can choose from thousands of used cars and either have it delivered to their home or a collection centre.

It has spent millions on sporting sponsorship deals and TV adverts and, much to the annoyance of the UK government, chose to raise billions when it listed on the New York Stock Exchange last year instead of London.

But the company is bracing itself for serious consumer headwinds
Cazoo says the combination of rising inflation and interest rates with supply chain issues caused by the pandemic and war has driven up the cost of living and hit consumer confidence.  In preparation for a downturn Cazoo wants to protect cash by cutting around 15% of its workforce, with the company adding that hiring will be reduced too.

Zooming out: Amid a cost of living squeeze, consumers are already cutting back on big ticket items like cars. New data shows that the sale of used cars dropped by more than 8% in April. Cazoo is trying to avoid the fate of its rival online car retailer Carzam, which last week went bust, months after it had raised £112m from investors.
Other stories to keep you in the loop
TECH
Apple’s next big thing


What happened?
This week Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developers Conference where it showcases the latest and greatest of all things Apple. This year, the firm did not disappoint, as new products are very much on the way. 

Why it matters: As the world’s largest tech company by market value, Apple sets the pace for industry innovation. 

Coming up…life beyond the iPhone: While the new iOS16 software update grabbed a lot of the headlines, investors are most excited about the plans outlined by the firm that generates business beyond the iPhone. 

One of the most exciting announcements was Apple Pay Later – the company’s version of ‘buy now pay later’ which will allow American users to pay for Apple Pay purchases over six weeks, interest-free.

Apple signalled its intention to enter the market after it bought UK-based credit checking start-up Credit Kudos earlier this year. However, it also comes as rapid growth in the market during the pandemic’s ecommerce boom begins to slowdown. The biggest player Klarna recently announced it was cutting 10% of its workforce as it prepares for a recession.

What else was announced: The firm also announced new features to the Apple Watch and the iPad. Sleep tracking and finer breathing metrics will allow Apple to compete against products such as Fitbit and Amazon Halo. The iPad's new Stage Manager and Freeform products compare well to Google Docs and Microsoft Office, as the firm looks to take market share from its tech giant rivals. 

Any surprises?
The conference runs until the end of the week and many people are expecting a big announcement on a virtual or augmented reality headset – the ultimate mashup of physical and virtual worlds and the next frontier of tech innovation.
Stat of the day

London has a total of 87,731 vacant homes, making it the top city in the UK for the prevalence of empty houses
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