Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:
Hotel group Marriott (MAR) is facing a class action lawsuit in England and Wales over a data breach that exposed the details of millions of customers.
Martin Bryant, a journalist and consultant, has filed a group action in the High Court seeking compensation on behalf of millions of guests who booked with Marriott under the Starwood brand. The action relates to a data breach at Starwood that occurred between 2014 and 2018. Marriott bought Starwood in 2016 but took two years to discover the breach.
The UK’s Information Commissioners Office (ICO) last year said it planned to fine Marriott £99.2m ($131.5m) for the breach, which affected 339 million people worldwide and 7 million Brits.
“This case states that the cyber attack was the result of a failure to take adequate steps to ensure the security of guests’ personal data, and to prevent unauthorised and unlawful processing of that data,” Bryant wrote in a blog post. “That failure was a breach of data protection legislation.”
Legal firm Hausfeld is acting for Bryant in the case.
A spokesperson for Marriott declined to comment.
Rising fuel prices unexpectedly pushed the UK inflation rate up to 1% in July, as businesses across the UK continued to emerge from the country’s sweeping coronavirus lockdown.
The year-on-year growth in prices — up from 0.6% in June — came in spite of falling food prices, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Analysts had forecast that the rate of inflation would remain steady at 0.6% in the month.
Pizza Express has announced plans to close 5 more UK branches, taking its total planned closures to 73 and putting 1,100 jobs at risk.
The group said while most of its 454 restaurants have been profitable over the past three years, earnings have been declining and COVID-19 has exacerbated issues. The company is implementing a sweeping restructuring process in response.
Pizza Express said it has reached a deal to reduce rent costs and has hired advisers from Lazard to lead a sale process for the business, which is majority owned by Chinese firm Hony Capital.
Stocks dip after China sell-off
European stock markets opened lower on Wednesday, following an equity sell-off in China and despite new record highs for US stock markets overnight.
Major indexes across Europe opened in the red after a slump in Chinese equities overnight. The Hong Kong Hang Seng (^HSI) fell 0.9%, the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) dropped 1.2%, and the Shenzen Component (399001.SZ) lost 2%.
Jim Reid, a senior strategist at Deutsche Bank, said continued tensions between the US and China over trade were to blame.
“The US administration said that it wants university endowments to divest Chinese holdings, saying it would be ‘prudent’ to get ahead of potentially more onerous measures on holding the shares including a wholesale de-listing of PRC firms from US exchanges,” Reid wrote in a morning note to clients.
“The State Department letter also warned universities of China’s growing influence on campuses and said the US is accelerating investigations of what it called ‘illicit PRC funding of research, intellectual property theft and the recruitment of talent’.”
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