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Coronavirus: Italy quarantines 16m people – live updates

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UK supermarkets implement rationing as online delivery slots disappear

Alice Hancock and Jonathan Eley in London

UK supermarket chain Tesco has implemented a rationing policy across products such as UHT milk, dried pasta and anti-bacterial products as panic buying strips shelves of goods.

Customers have been limited to buying five of each item in store since Saturday and online from Sunday morning as the supermarket tries to ensure that all customers get access to high demand products.

Toilet paper was not included in the lines that were rationed, although large packets of some brands are displayed as out of stock on Tesco.com.

Ocado, the online supermarket, has separately emailed customers saying that it is experiencing “exceptionally high demand” and that delivery slots were selling out faster than expected.

Next day delivery is usually available in most areas of central London, but on Sunday, the Ocado app showed that the next available delivery in east London was not until Friday afternoon. Ocado has advised that customers should book delivery slots further in advance, and aim for less popular weekday slots.

“There’s been a gross over reaction, which I think has surprised supermarkets,” said Clive Black, a retail analyst at Shore Capital. But, he added, “I would imagine that over the next two to three weeks as people realise that factories are still working, supermarkets have stock and they can’t cram any more in, things will settle down.”

Mr Black said that the bigger issue would be if there was a more sustained change in consumer behaviour away from dining out to eating at home that could cause a “step change” in demand for fresh produce from suppliers such as Greencore and Hilton Food Group.

While those businesses and supermarkets would benefit in the short-term – and would be likely offer fewer promotions to customers – he said that restaurants, cafes and bars could face significant losses.

On Friday, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said that retailers were “currently facing a rise in demand for certain products unprecedented outside of the Christmas period.” Although, she added, that it had been largely limited to long shelf-life products, soaps and sanitisers.

“Even where there are challenges, retailers are well-versed in providing effective measures to keep retail sites running smoothly, and they are working with suppliers to increase the supply of goods,” she said.

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Stock market news live updates: Stocks trade lower as indices head for weekly losses – Yahoo Canada Finance

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Financial assistance on the way for struggling Iowa county fairs

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Clay County, IA (KUOO Radio) – Some assistance is being made available to fairs and expos in Iowa that were hit hard by the pandemic.

Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority have announced the state is allocating up to $6 Million in federal CARES Act funds through the Iowa County Fairs Relief Program.

Jeremy Parsons, General Manager of the Clay County Fair, says he was pleased to hear the announcement, adding they’ll be happy to get whatever assistance they can. “You know many aspects of our economy are slowly starting to come back on line through this COVID pandemic but one aspect is not. And that’s the live event business. And for us here at the Fair and Events Center when your whole livelihood depends on bringing people together, we can’t do curbside pickup, we can’t do online. You have to actually have people physically on the fairgrounds and so with COVID obviously we can’t do that, so it’s good recognition from the state that there’s some substantial financial losses occurring.”

Parsons says the the Clay County Fair lost about $3 Million when this year’s events were called off.

Clay County is independently raising funds through their “Save the Fair” efforts, and have so far brought in just over $1 Million dollars.

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Embattled financial company AMP confirms takeover bid from US company

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AMP has confirmed it has received a conditional takeover offer from US private equity firm Ares Management Corporation.

The 171-year-old financial company did not reveal how much was offered.

In a statement, AMP stressed the discussions were at a “very preliminary stage” and “there is no certainty that a transaction will eventuate”.

The non-binding bid comes almost two months after the company essentially advertised itself for sale, either as a whole, or broken apart into separate businesses.

In early September, AMP’s new chairman Debra Hazelton launched a strategic review of the company following the resignation of her predecessor David Murray over the board’s handling of sexual harassment complaints.

Amid the management upheaval, former Treasury secretary John Fraser resigned from his AMP directorship and Boe Pahari was demoted from his plum role as head of AMP Capital.

AMP customers pulled billions of dollars out of the company’s wealth management division in the wake of scandals unearthed at the 2018 banking royal commission.

The company also confirmed it had received “significant” interest in its assets and businesses from potential buyers.

In the meantime, AMP said it was assessing its options in a “considered and holistic manner” to maximise shareholder value.

AMP’s suitor, Ares, brands itself as an “alternative investment manager”.

Investors were clearly excited about the possibility of a foreign company breathing new life into the embattled financial firm.

AMP shares jumped (+21.7pc) to $1.56, by 12:50pm AEDT.

Based on its share price, AMP’s market value is around $5.3 billion.

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