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IKEA Sees Strong Demand for Work Desks and Kitchen Gear

IKEA reported a drop in annual sales blaming store closures early in the coronavirus pandemic but said consumers have flocked to its stores since lockdowns lifted to buy desks, chairs and kitchens.

About 75% of the furniture retailer’s stores were closed for between seven to 10 weeks because of coronavirus lockdowns. That resulted in visits to IKEA stores falling nearly 16% for its fiscal year, and lower revenue from its restaurants, which typically make up about 5% of sales.

Overall, Ingka Group—the largest IKEA franchisee and operator—on Tuesday reported sales of €35.2 billion, equivalent to $41.5 billion, for the 12 months to Aug. 31, down from €36.7 billion a year earlier. It didn’t disclose profit figures.

Chief Executive Jesper Brodin said in an interview that consumption trends around the world had been similar through the pandemic. Early on, shoppers bought desks, office chairs and cooking equipment. Interest then moved toward home organization items such as shelving and baskets. Demand for kitchens was also high, with people taking advantage of time at home to install them.

IKEA said online sales make up 18% of the company’s overall revenue. A company’s store in Shanghai in July.



Photo:

alex plavevski/Shutterstock

“Lately, we see a lot of interest in beautification,” said Mr. Brodin. “A lot of people are taking the opportunity to update their homes.”

The comments echo those from rival

Home Depot Inc.,

which in August posted its strongest quarterly sales growth in nearly 20 years, saying the home had never been more important to consumers than during the pandemic.

IKEA said online sales grew 60% and now make up 18% of the company’s overall revenue, up from 11% a year ago.

To meet surging online demand, IKEA repurposed its stores to act as fulfillment centers, rolled out click-and-collect at new locations and

The White House Bet on Abbott’s Rapid Tests. It Didn’t Work Out.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the F.D.A., described these procedures as a misguided attempt at a “zero-fail testing protocol” in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, saying that officials “weren’t taking any precautions beyond testing people who are going to be in contact with the president.”

However, according to the products’ packaging, both Abbott rapid tests are intended for people with Covid-19 symptoms, early on in their illness. When Abbott submitted the tests for emergency authorization from the F.D.A., the company provided data only for people with symptoms. When used appropriately, the company has said, both tests perform about 95 percent as well as P.C.R. But how well the products do in asymptomatic individuals remains murky.

In a statement, Darcy Ross, Abbott’s senior director of external communications, said the instructions that came with both products gave physicians the power to administer tests at their discretion, regardless of whether the recipients had symptoms. “As with all tests that have received an E.U.A., a health care provider will determine if a person needs a Covid-19 test,” she said.

Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious disease physician based in South Carolina, said she would not feel comfortable administering such tests to healthy patients: “We don’t have data to show how this test is going to perform in that population.”

Abbott was not required to submit data evaluating either test’s performance in asymptomatic populations when applying for emergency approval from the F.D.A. But Ms. Ross confirmed that such studies are underway, and the company has told experts that it thinks asymptomatic testing is likely to pan out.

On Saturday evening, Andrea Wainer, Abbott’s executive vice president of rapid and molecular diagnostics, emailed a document entitled “Perspectives on Testing” to several public health experts, including Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the

What is the government home improvement scheme and how does it work?

1 October 2020, 13:42

The home improvements scheme is open for applications
The home improvements scheme is open for applications.

Picture:
Getty Images


What is the government’s green voucher scheme 2020 and how can I apply? Find out everything…

The Green Homes Grant scheme is now open for homeowners in England to make energy-efficient improvements to their houses.

Outlined back in July, the voucher plan sees the government pay two-thirds of the cost of any green updates to the value of £5,000 per household.

This can include insulation, double glazing and heat pumps, but doesn’t cover gas boilers.

So, here’s everything you need to know about the green home improvement scheme…

Rishi Sunak announced the Green Homes Grant
Rishi Sunak announced the Green Homes Grant.

Picture:
PA Images


What is the Green Homes Grant?

The Green Homes Grant scheme will provide £2bn for home improvement projects as part of a wider £3bn government plan to cut carbon emissions.

This will see vouchers handed out to homeowners which can be used towards making specific energy-efficient improvements to homes.

You need to install at least one primary improvement to be eligible for the Green Homes Grant which include:

– Insulation, including solid wall, cavity wall, underfloor, loft or roof insulation

– Low-carbon heating, such as air-source or ground-source heat pumps, or solar thermal systems, which provide renewable ways of heating your home

You can then get up to the same amount for secondary improvements which include:

– Draught-proofing

– Double or triple glazing, or secondary glazing

– Energy efficient doors, where you’re replacing single-glazed or solid doors installed before 2002

– Heating controls and insulation

Gas boilers are not covered by the scheme.

You can only receive funding for secondary improvements up to the amount of funding you get for the primary measures.

So if you receive £2,000 towards cavity wall insulation, you can only receive a

Journalists who work at the White House are testing positive for Covid-19

A widening coronavirus outbreak at the White House has left members of the media scrambling to find out if they, too, are infected.



a display in a store: The White House's Brady press briefing room is almost empty, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, in Washington. President Donald Trump said early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, a stunning announcement that plunges the country deeper into uncertainty just a month before the presidential election. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)


© Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
The White House’s Brady press briefing room is almost empty, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, in Washington. President Donald Trump said early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, a stunning announcement that plunges the country deeper into uncertainty just a month before the presidential election. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Three journalists who work at the White House tested positive on Friday, according to a series of memos from the White House Correspondents Association.

A White House staffer who sits in the “lower press” area of the West Wing also received a confirmed positive result on Friday morning.

Reporters and White House spokespeople work together in cramped quarters, often meeting the definition of close contact.

So there is now widespread concern among White House reporters about who was exposed.

Friday’s first memo, obtained by CNN Business, said members of the press corps were being notified “so that you can make informed judgements.”

The late morning memo said that “all other journalists tested today tested negative.”

A followup message at 1:33 p.m. carried word of another case of a sick journalist.

Video: NYT: WH pressured CDC to downplay risks of reopening schools (CNN)

NYT: WH pressured CDC to downplay risks of reopening schools

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“We are writing to let you know that another member of our press corps tested positive today for COVID-19,” the memo said. “This individual was last at the White House on Saturday and subsequently traveled on Air Force One to Pennsylvania. The individual began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms yesterday.”

Saturday was the day of the Supreme Court announcement at the

Contractors busy with home improvement work | Local News

Business is booming for local home improvement companies and contractors as the pandemic leads prospective customers to spend more time at home and spend less money on vacations. 

Paul Warren, who lives on Burningtree Mountain in Decatur, hired ESS Concrete and Design of Decatur to create a larger patio and make a walkway from his driveway this summer.

“It was a project we wanted to have done, and it probably would have been done in the fall,” Warren said. “But because of the pandemic, it sped things up.”

Zac Lott, owner of ESS, said his business picked up substantially two or three weeks after the coronavirus shutdown was ordered in mid-March. He said his work is up 25% because of the pandemic.

“Money is good right now,” he said. “People were going to work, but some are now home all day and are spending their stimulus checks. … The number of high-dollar projects is up.”

He said referrals from other contractors are up, too.

“People are wanting extra parking at their houses so jobs for driveway extensions and patios are up. I’ve even done some work for doomsday preppers,” he said, referring to people preparing for a cataclysmic event. “People have the money and are spending it.”

Industry experts said some homeowners spent money budgeted for family vacations on home improvement projects. Lowe’s Home Improvement Inc. reported a 35.1% increase in U.S. sales in the second quarter of this year compared to the same quarter in 2019. 

Houzz, an online home remodeling website, said it saw a 58% increase in project leads in June compared to a year earlier. 

Emily Long, city spokeswoman, said the Decatur building department issued 928 residential improvement permits from May through August, 31 more than the same period in 2019. 

Wayne Patterson, owner of Smith