Bakery chain Greggs delivered a shock trading update this morning to reveal that its full-year profits would be ahead of analysts’ expectations.Chief executive Roger Whiteside said customers were ‘responding’ to improvements in products and services – as it unveiled own shop like-for-like sales (LFLs) growth of 5.2% for the 24 weeks to 13 December, compared with growth of just 0.7% in the same period last year.For the year-to-date LFLs were up 4.2%, added Greggs, significantly better than the -1.1% decline seen in the same period in 2013.Total sales were also up by 3.6%.Whiteside said: “The strong performance that we reported in our September IMS has continued. Trading conditions have remained helpful, but there is no doubt that customers are also responding to improvements in our product and service offer and to the investment we are making in the shop environment.“Whilst there is still much to play for over the final few weeks of the year, we currently anticipate that full-year profits will be ahead of analysts’ expectations.”The company said it would also update the market following its Christmas trading period and ahead of its full-year results.
Stuff co.nz 15 March 2019Family First Comment: Excellent article. A reality check! “Gangs will continue to supply 24/7 home delivery tax-free with free samples of harder drugs. But it will be worse than that. Replacing the war on drugs with a war on marijuana tax cheats will mean gangs will continue to supply most of the market tax-free, including to teenagers with offers of harder drugs but the police will have less incentive to chase down what is now a grey market rather than a black market. Do not underestimate the entrepreneurial ingenuity of criminals.”#PeopleBeforeProfitsOPINION: Never let a bunch of anti-capitalists design a legal market for cannabis.Their consuming hatred of Big Marijuana and the profit motive would create such an ineffectual legal market that the gangs will still supply most of the marijuana along with offers of free samples of harder drugs that even voters will work out how awful the legal model is and vote it down at the coming referendum.The Greens and the Drug Foundation not only want to decriminalise marijuana, they want to legalise it with government controls on who can supply, and checks on quality. They seem to want to limit access to social supply and consumer co-ops so that Big Marijuana is kept out of the market. No for-profit supply seems to be their ideal.The Greens seem to want to imitate the monumental screwup in Canada. Not only did Canada forget to legalise production before supply, so they ran out of inventory within a week, but each province decided for itself how marijuana was to be legally sold.One province chose a government monopoly. Others allowed private retailers but they had to have a clean record and pay tens of thousands of dollars in annual registration fees.Most of the current marijuana dealers in Canada did not qualify and already had an established network of customers so they stayed in business offering tax-free marijuana. American states also continue to have black markets in marijuana.What the Greens will set up is a legal supply that is hopeless at competing with existing gang suppliers. The legal shops will be so far away from schools and other sensitive locations, open 9-to-5 in a remote warehouse district, paying a living wage that they will end up asking for a bailout from Shane Jones’ Regional Growth Fund because they attracted so few customers.Gangs will continue to supply 24/7 home delivery tax-free with free samples of harder drugs. But it will be worse than that.Replacing the war on drugs with a war on marijuana tax cheats will mean gangs will continue to supply most of the market tax-free, including to teenagers with offers of harder drugs but the police will have less incentive to chase down what is now a grey market rather than a black market.Do not underestimate the entrepreneurial ingenuity of criminals. Some UN bureaucrats had a cunning plan; occasionally hold a lawful sale of previously confiscated ivory to collapse the price of poached ivory and drive the poachers out of business.Elephant poaching soared because criminals worked out that they could pass off their illegal ivory as legally acquired and sell it to people who otherwise would not buy it, much less show it off to their friends because it was illegally obtained. A large market in counterfeit legal ivory developed in China and other places off the back of an earnest attempt to collapse the price of illegal ivory.I’m a recovering libertarian. I support decriminalisation because if adults want to get high, more fool them as long as they do not harm others. But I know that argument will never sell at a referendum.The reason dope-smoking-on-Saturday-night successful middle-class parents oppose decriminalisation is that when they are feuding with their kids over bad grades, they still want to tell them that marijuana is illegal. They want that argument in their back pocket because they know that, unlike themselves, more than a few mates drifted off into a cloud of dope at university and failed.They want every possible persuasive tactic available to them to stop their kids going the same way.The best argument for decriminalisation that will work at a referendum is that it pushes gangs out of the supply chain so kids will not be offered samples of harder drugs. That pragmatic argument and better-quality control could win a majority.Right now, the maximum penalty is three months for possession of marijuana. Three were sent to prison last year for possession of marijuana as their lead offence for their sentencing. Another 15 were sent to prison for possession of harder drugs, which carries a maximum of six months. A good guess is most were gang members on the receiving end of well-deserved police harassment.As the illegal trade is offering samples of harder drugs and supplying teenagers, the rationale for suppressing the illegal trade is stronger. Penalties for illegal supply and even marijuana possession through an illegal supplier might have to increase after legalisation.Colorado quickly found it had to regulate marijuana packaging strictly because little kids thought edible marijuana was a lolly and ended up at the emergency department.If advocates of legalisation want a legal market that drives the gangs out of marijuana supply, the Greens and others on the Left will have to swallow a big dead rat and embrace capitalism.Big Marijuana might end up developing an app that ensures that adults and only adults buy marijuana delivered by Uber Eats. Marijuana legalisation will be full of the unexpected.* Jim Rose blogs at Utopiayouarestandinginit.comhttps://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/111279052/is-drug-legalisation-worse-than-the-status-quoKeep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.
PALACE IMPLOSIONPistons’ onetime home, the Palace of Auburn Hills, torn downAUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — One of Michigan’s most beloved sports and entertainment venues was turned into rubble on Saturday with a series of controlled explosions. The shell and roof of the Palace of Auburn Hills, which was home to three championship Detroit Pistons teams and three Detroit Shock teams and played host to some of the world’s biggest musical acts during its nearly 30-year run, crumbled to the ground following a series explosive pops. The rest of the arena had already been removed.The Palace, which opened in 1988, held more than 22,000 people for NBA games and up to 23,000 for concerts and other shows, according to nba.com. Associated Press PGA-WORKDAY RESULTSThomas keeps clean card for 2-shot lead at Muirfield VillageDUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Justin Thomas went from a three-shot deficit to a two-shot lead in the Workday Charity Open. Thomas had a third consecutive round without bogeys, this one a 66. He made birdies early to keep pace with Collin Morikawa. When Morikawa fell back, Thomas added three birdies to hold off Viktor Hovland. The Norwegian star also had a 66. The final round is a glimpse of golf’s next generation. All three will be in the final group because of an early start to avoid storms. The round needs to finish Sunday to have a day to get ready for the Memorial.NHRA-RESUMESNHRA resumes season, Johnson tops Funny Car qualifying July 12, 2020 UNDATED (AP) — LeBron James says his thoughts on social justice can’t be contained on the back of a basketball jersey. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar won’t wear one of the NBA-approved social justice messages on the back of his jersey when the NBA resumes competition later this month in the Orlando bubble. As part of the NBA’s recognition of the nationwide invigoration of the social justice movement sparked by the death of George Floyd, NBA players are allowed to choose from a lengthy list of possible messages for their jerseys during the league’s restart. James is among just a few who declined to choose one of the messages, he said.Elsewhere in the NBA:— San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich says he had some reservations about being at the NBA restart at the Disney complex near Orlando, Florida. But after talks with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and others, he decided it would be smart and safe to be with the Spurs for the resumption of the season. Popovich says it’s about more than basketball. He points to how the league can help make changes in society by raising awareness to social causes and a need to combat racism.VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTSPAC-12 shifts to conference-only LONDON (AP) — The Tennis Integrity Unit has raised concerns over 24 “suspicious matches” at exhibitions organized while the men’s and women’s tours are shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. The TIU, which investigates match-fixing cases in the sport, said Friday it received reports of the matches at private tournaments staged between April and June.The reports are filed by gambling companies who track unusual betting patterns around matches. Suspicious betting patterns don’t necessarily mean a match was fixed. A similar effect can also happen if insider information about a player’s injury leaks. Private tennis exhibitions have proliferated after the ATP and WTA tours closed down in March. Some have little or no oversight. Besides a smattering of events with big-name players, there are many smaller events around the world with low-ranked players. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditMLB-NEWSYanks closer Chapman has coronavirus; Astros cancel workoutHOUSTON (AP) — Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has tested positive for the coronavirus and is experiencing mild symptoms. New York manager Aaron Boone announced the news Saturday. He said Chapman “overall is doing well” but “will not be here for the foreseeable future.” Hours after Chapman’s diagnosis, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was scratched from a simulated game with a stiff neck. New York is also without infielder DJ LeMahieu and right-hander Luis Cessa due to the virus. The AL East champion Yankees open the season July 23 at Washington. The Minnesota Wild, who face the Canucks in the qualifying round, have ruled out defenseman Greg Pateryn indefinitely with an upper-body injury. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Saturday the league will be taking over injury and illness disclosure from teams as a way of protecting player privacy. In other NHL news:— The NHL and the players union are credited for putting aside past differences in taking a collaborative approach in ratifying a return-to-play plan that also includes the assurance of labor peace through September 2026. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman described the months-long negotiations as unprecedented in how the two sides addressed the wide variety of concerns and challenges raised after placing the season on pause in March because of the new coronavirus pandemic. NHL Players’ Association chief Don Fehr said the pandemic forced both sides to work in “common spirit” in order to salvage what’s left of the season. —NHL Games are scheduled to begin Aug. 1 in Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta. Coronavirus cases in the U.S. are pushing the league into Canada for the summer and fall until the Stanley Cup is awarded in late September or early October. Chapman threw a bullpen session Tuesday and Boone wouldn’t comment on whether he had been at Yankee Stadium since. Boone said the team had gone through contact tracing protocols, and no other players or personnel would be forced to isolate because of Chapman’s positive test.In Houston, the Astros canceled their workout after learning that a staff member could have been exposed to a person outside the organization with the coronavirus. It’s the second time this week the Astros have canceled a workout because of concerns about the pandemic. Houston also scrapped its Monday workout because of delays with testing results due to the holiday weekend, as did some other teams around the majors. In other MLB news:— Texas Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo says he doesn’t know if he actually had the coronavirus despite two positive tests, since he never had any symptoms and also had multiple negative tests. Gallo said Saturday that he planned to have a more extensive antibody test to be sure after a finger-prick test didn’t indicate that he had COVID-19. The All-Star slugger missed the first week of the Rangers summer camp after two positive tests that sandwiched a negative result during intake testing. — Cleveland Indians outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. worked out with his teammates at training camp for the first time after being sidelined by the COVID-19 virus. DeShields had suffered some “mild symptoms” after testing positive with the virus before the Indians reported to Cleveland for the re-start of training camp last week. DeShields arrived a few days ago, but he was only cleared Saturday after twice testing negative. DeShields is one of 10 outfielders trying to win a spot on the club’s 30-man roster. He batted .249 and stole 24 bases in 118 games for the Rangers last season. — Yoenis Céspedes is sure he’ll be ready to start the pandemic-delayed season with the New York Mets. Out of the lineup for almost two years, the 34-year-old slugger said Saturday he finally is close to fully recovered from a string of injuries to his feet and legs. The Mets open at home July 24 against Atlanta. And with the designated hitter available in the National League this year, Céspedes is a prime candidate for that role during a shortened schedule of 60 games. The two-time All-Star missed last season and most of 2018. He had surgery on both heels and then broke his right ankle in a nasty fall at his Florida ranch.— Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill has tested positive for COVID-19. The team says after Bidwill developed symptoms, he tested positive and went to the hospital on the recommendation of his doctor. His condition has improved and he’s expected to be released this weekend. The team believes the 55-year-old Bidwill caught the virus while traveling and spending time on the East Coast for several weeks. He’s been working remotely since March and the team says he hasn’t had in-person contact coaches or players.— Albert Pujols’ 20th season in the majors is about to begin with the Los Angeles Angels. When it does, the 40-year-old slugger is likely to be the oldest player in the big leagues. Although time has chipped away at Pujols’ mountainous talent, he has never believed his advancing age will prevent him from putting up other big numbers on the diamond. His recent years of diminishing overall production have been counterbalanced by still-steady power numbers. They’ve done nothing to hurt his confidence as he heads into this short season with big plans.NBA-NEWSLeBron won’t wear social justice message on Lakers jersey INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tommy Johnson Jr. topped Funny Car qualifying Saturday at the NHRA Nationals in the series’ return from a more than four-month break because of the coronavirus pandemic. Johnson, the winner in the last race before competition was suspended, had a 3.983-second run at 317.72 mph in a Dodge Charger in front of a limited number of fans at Lucas Oil Raceway. Steve Torrence led in Top Fuel, Jason Line in Pro Stock and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Torrence had a 3.779 at 321.19, Line ran a 6.626 at 206.10 in a Chevrolet Camaro, and Krawiec had a 6.897 at 196.24 on a Harley-Davidson. The NHRA resumed its season Saturday in front of an expected crowd of 3,000 to 4,000 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. NHRA President Glen Cromwell said ticket sales were capped at about 10 to 15% of normal capacity. They also are expected to attend Sunday’s finals. Most fans wore face coverings on a hot, sun-drenched day, complying with county guidelines, and observed social distancing in the stands, pits and at concession areas. The weekend ends a 138-day hiatus for America’s top drag racing series.NHL-PLAYERS OUT Update on the latest sports HORSE RACING-ART COLLECTORArt Collector takes the Blue Grass at KeenelandLEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Art Collector took a big step toward the Kentucky Derby, pulling away from the filly Swiss Skydiver in the stretch in the Blue Grass at Keeneland for his first graded stakes victory. The Kentucky-bred son of Bernardini and Distorted Legacy by Distorted Humor started the $600,000, Grade 2 event from the No. 3 post and battled Shivaree and Swiss Skydiver to the far turn. Rushie joined the chase at the final turn, but before Art Collector and Swiss Skydiver separated themselves from the 13-horse field. The two ran side by side before Art Collector took control at the 1/8th pole in the 3½-lengths win. Art Collector improved to 3-0 this year and has four wins and a second in eight starts. The colt collected 100 points toward the 146th Derby on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs. Stars’ Polak, Canucks’ Baertschi won’t report to NHL campsUNDATED (AP) — Edmonton’s Mike Green and Vancouver’s Sven Baertschi are opting out. Dallas defenseman Roman Polak isn’t reporting for now. And Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos isn’t reporting at full strength. Green and Baertschi joined Calgary defenseman Travis Hamonic in choosing not to participate in the resumption of the NHL season. Polak is not on the Stars’ roster for the start of training camp, and a team spokesman said the 34-year-old won’t be attending at this time. Green, like Hamonic, decided not to play for family reasons. The Calgary Flames defenseman’s daughter was hospitalized last year with respiratory issues, and he and his wife also have a baby boy.The Tampa Bay Lightning won’t have captain Steven Stamkos at 100% for the opening of camp because of a lower-body injury, but they’re optimistic he’ll be ready when games get under way in early August. After the Pistons relocated in 2017 to downtown Detroit, the arena about 30 miles northwest of the city continued to host concerts and music events, the last in September 2017 by rocker Bob Seger.It also became the second suburban Detroit arena that found little real use after its main sports tenant took its games back to the city. The Detroit Lions played at the nearby Pontiac Silverdome from 1975-2001 before moving to Ford Field in Detroit. The Pistons also called the Silverdome home for a decade before The Palace opened. The Silverdome was taken down with a partial implosion in 2017.OBIT-JACK CHARLTONEngland World Cup winner Jack Charlton dies at 85UNDATED (AP) — England World Cup winner Jack Charlton has died. UNDATED (AP) — The Pac-12 has become the second major conference to shift to a conference-only fall schedule amid growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The decision covers football, women’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. Conference-only schedules will be announced no later than July 31. The announcement came a day after the Big Ten opted to eliminate nonconference games for all fall sports. The Atlantic Coast, Big 12 and Southeastern conferences are still weighing options for fall sports. In other developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic: — Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott has tested positive for COVID-19. The 55-year-old tested positive late this week after experiencing flu-like symptoms and is self-quarantining at the direction of his doctor, according to a statement by the conference. Scott is continuing to carry on his duties as commissioner remotely.— San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, the U.S. men’s basketball coach, says he is watching how Japan is handling the coronavirus. Popovich says he hopes the Tokyo Games, which were delayed until 2021, could still happen — especially if a vaccine or other remedies are developed beforehand. The NBA plans to start next season in December, which could complicate Olympic availability for players. It’s not clear if the playoffs would be finished before the Olympics would begin on July 23, 2021.— Scott Dixon earned his third straight victory Saturday with an improbable triumph in the opening race of a weekend doubleheader at Road America, as IndyCar welcomed fans to its races for the first time this season. Dixon has won each of the three IndyCar races to take place thus far during this pandemic-delayed season. He’s the first IndyCar driver to start a season with at least three consecutive victories since Sebastien Bourdais reeled off four straight to start the 2006 campaign. Charlton was an uncompromising central defender who played alongside his brother, Bobby, in England’s World Cup-winning side in 1966 before enjoying coaching success with Ireland. Charlton was Footballer of the Year in England in 1967. He spent all his club career at Leeds from 1952-73, tying its all-time record of 773 appearances. He won every domestic honor, including the league title in 1969. His biggest achievement came with the England national team that beat Germany 4-2 after extra time in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley Stadium. Charlton died at home on Friday in his native Northumberland in northeast England. He was 85.Premier League games will be preceded by a minute’s silence this weekend as a tribute to Charlton and players will wear black armbands.TENNIS-SUSPICIOUS MATCHESTennis Integrity Unit eyes suspicious exhibition matches