Clothing brand Superdry nearly doubled its losses in its most recent financial year as it dealt with the first month of lockdown.

The retailer said that pre-tax loss reached £166.9 million in the 12 months ending April 25, up 87% from last year's £89.3 million loss.

It came as Superdry was forced to close all of its stores in the last month of the financial year, pushing revenue down 19% to £704.4 million.

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The drop in revenue was also evidence of a change in direction for the business.

Since founder Julian Dunkerton returned to the fold in April last year he has started slashing discounts on its stores.

In January he said that the proportion of the business's sales that were discounted had halved over the peak trading period, around Christmas.

It is a plan that Mr Dunkerton has been forced to - at least temporarily - shelve because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We have discounted more in recent months compared to the prior year to help clear excess stock which accumulated during the temporary store closures resulting from Covid-19," bosses said on Monday.

Around 95% of Superdry's stores have now reopened.

Mr Dunkerton said: "While our underlying profit has been impacted by trading performance during the year, including Covid-19-related store closures, I am particularly pleased by how strongly e-commerce has performed, with the 2021 financial year first-quarter revenues nearly doubling year-on-year.

"This has been complemented by our increased digital consumer engagement, which helped drive a stronger womenswear mix than we have ever seen before.

"We are delivering on the reset of the business, despite the impacts of the pandemic. This has included reinvigorating the store design and layout, preparing for a relaunch of our website, and significantly increasing the number of options available both in store and online."

So far this financial year business is still interrupted, but is doing better than it was around April.

Rail franchising has been "ended" by extending measures introduced to keep trains running after the coronavirus outbreak, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.

Operators have been moved to "transitional contracts" ahead of the creation of a "simpler and more effective structure" which will be developed over the coming months, the DfT said.

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The department has taken on franchise holders' revenue and cost risks since March, at a cost to taxpayers of at least £3.5 billion.

"Significant taxpayer support will still be needed" under the new Emergency Recovery Management Agreements (ERMAs), the DfT said.

It went on: "Ministers today ended rail franchising after 24 years as the first step in bringing Britain's fragmented network back together."

Rail firms will continue to be paid a management fee for running services, but under the ERMAs it will be a maximum of up to 1.5% of the franchise cost base, rather than 2% under the Emergency Measures Agreements introduced in March.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "The model of privatisation adopted 25 years ago has seen significant rises in passenger numbers, but this pandemic has proven that it is no longer working.

"Our new deal for rail demands more for passengers. It will simplify people's journeys, ending the uncertainty and confusion about whether you are using the right ticket or the right train company.

"It will keep the best elements of the private sector, including competition and investment, that have helped to drive growth - but deliver strategic direction, leadership and accountability.
"Passengers will have reliable, safe services on a network totally built around them. It is time to get Britain back on track."

The DfT described the announcement as "the prelude" to a White Paper which will respond to the recommendations of Royal Mail chairman Keith Williams, who was commissioned by the Government to carry out a review of the railways.

Mr Williams said: "These new agreements represent the end of the complicated franchising system, demand more from the expertise and skills of the private sector, and ensure passengers return to a more punctual and co-ordinated railway.

"I am ensuring the recommendations I propose are fit for a post-Covid world, but these contracts kick-start a process of reform that will ensure our railways are entirely focused on the passenger, with a simpler, more effective system that works in their best interest."

Matthew Gregory, chief executive of FirstGroup, which owns four franchises, said the ERMAs could lead to "a more appropriate balance of risk and reward for all parties".

He added: "We have long advocated for a more sustainable long-term approach to the railway, with passengers at its centre, and we look forward to working constructively with the DfT to make this a reality."

Rail, Maritime and Transport union general secretary Mick Cash claimed "private rail companies are a waste of time and a waste of money".

He insisted that "public ownership is the only model that works".

The Scottish Government has earmarked £70 million to boost green economic growth.

As part of the economic recovery after coronavirus, the Government has set aside the money for improved waste and recycling infrastructure.

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The investment is one of a number of initiatives planned to help increase recycling and build a "circular economy".

These include Scotland's Deposit Return Scheme which is expected to capture 90% of single-use aluminium and steel cans, glass and plastic bottles, and the introduction of legislation to increase the minimum price of carrier bags from 5p to 10p.

Announcing the investment to mark Recycle Week, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham reminded Scots of the importance of recycling to the country's green recovery.

Ms Cunningham said: "Long-term initiatives to tackle our throwaway culture and encourage a circular economy - helping people to reduce, reuse and recycle - are vital to our green recovery and ensuring we end Scotland's contribution to climate change completely.

"It is heartening to see that carbon emissions from Scotland's waste have reached a record low - an achievement only possible by everyone doing their bit. By recycling more, we can reduce this even further and with 80% of our carbon footprint coming from products and materials we use, there is more we can do.

"I would encourage people and communities to get involved with this year's Recycle Week. By working together, we can all do our bit to improve the environment, help fight climate change and enable Scotland to meet its net zero target by 2045."

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said that recycling as much as possible will reduce Scotland's carbon footprint.

He added: "We can do more by thinking differently, whether this is by re-evaluating how we work and live our day-to-day lives or by implementing new procedures to capture as much as we can from going to waste.

"We all need to play our part to tackle the climate crisis and make greater use of what we already have."

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