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On the money

A nasty surprise in store

Fredrik Sandberg/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

👗 💷 High-street retailers are charging customers up to 100% more for visiting a shop rather than buying online, says The Sunday Times. Last week an H&M skirt was £12 online, but £18 in store. WHSmith was selling the Nadiya Bakes cookbook for £11 on its websites, but double that in store, while Casio calculators were 70% pricier. Bestsellers at Waterstones were up to 20% cheaper online. Retailers often slash prices on their websites to compete with Amazon.

Bad news for Canada’s joint ventures

AP Photo/Ted S Warren

💨 🌿 Four years ago the Canadian Marijuana Index was rising so fast that it climbed by 117% in just one month (December 2017). Now, says Canadian news website The Walrus, the business has gone to pot. “Cannabis legalisation was supposed to be a licence to print money. Three years on, nobody is turning a profit.”

Since the drug was legalised in 2018, greedy investors seem to have been more concerned with mass production than with sales. As a result that the market has been flooded with more and more pot products, whether people want them or not.

From Ivanhoe to financial woe

✍ 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Sir Walter Scott, born 250 years ago this month, was a great writer, says Ray Perman in the FT, but he was careless with his money. His Waverley series of historical novels – he cranked out 19 in just a decade – earned him advances equivalent to £1m today. He built an Edinburgh townhouse and a “fantasy castle” on the River Tweed with the proceeds, and reputedly stocked his cellar with 4,400 bottles of wine and spirits.

But all that spending got his businesses into debt, and after a stock-market crash in 1825, he nearly went bankrupt. The lawyer who saved him from that fate, John Gibson, bought Scott’s crockery and dining table at “knockdown prices”, leading to the writer’s considerable embarrassment when Gibson invited him round for dinner. Yet such was Scott’s industriousness, his debt was cut in half by the time he died in 1832.

A roadblock for African motorists

🚗 🌍 Africa accounts for only 1% of new car sales in the world. In many countries, buyers must pay the full cost upfront – not an option for people in low- and middle-income brackets – or try to take out a bank loan on unfavourable terms.