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Tupperware’s profits soar in the pandemic, even without the parties

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Tupperware relied on social gatherings for explosive growth in the mid 20th century. In the 21st century, it is social distancing that is fuelling sales.

Restaurant pain has turned into Tupperware's gain with millions of people in a pandemic opening cookbooks again and looking for solutions to leftovers. They've found it again in Tupperware, suddenly an “it brand" five decades after what seemed to be its glory days.

Decades after its glory days Tupperware is on its way to be an “it brand” again.

The company had appeared to be on life support, posting negative sales growth in five of the last six years, a trend that seemed to be accelerating this year.

Long gone was the heyday of the Tupperware Party, first held in 1948, which provided women with a chance to run their own business. That system worked so well, Tupperware took its products out of stores three years later. But it has struggled as more families gave up making dinner from scratch and also dining out more.

Then the pandemic struck.

Profit during the most recent quarter quadrupled to $US34.4 million ($48.8 million), Tupperware reported on Wednesday.

The explosion of sales caught almost everyone off guard and shares of Tupperware Brands Corp., which had been rising since April, jumped 35 per cent to a new high for the year. Shares that could be had for around $US1 in March, closed at $US28.80 on Wednesday.

Tupperware stands apart from most other companies that have thrived in the pandemic. Unlike Netflix and Amazon.com, it doesn't rely on a hi-tech platform.

However, it's certainly not alone as the pandemic bends how we spend our time more rapidly perhaps than any point in our lifetimes.

On Monday the toymaker Hasbro said that its games division, which includes board games like Monopoly, saw a 21 per cent jump in revenue.

On Wednesday, Tupperware reported quarterly adjusted earnings of $US1.20 per share, triple what Wall Street had expected. Revenue of $US477.2 million was about 30 per cent higher than forecasts and 14 per cent better than last year.

CEO Miguel Fernandez said the company, based in Orlando, Florida, had shifted more heavily to digital sales to accommodate those sheltering in the global pandemic. He also noted "increased consumer demand."

The company earlier this year had begun a turnaround campaign. Fernandez, who once led Avon, was named CEO in March just as COVID-19 infections began to spread in the US, its largest market.

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Pinterest pops as stay-at-home projects fuel user, revenue growth

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Pinterest shares are surging nearly 30% in after-hours trading Wednesday as the company reported strong revenue and user growth fueled by stay-at-home projects.

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PINTEREST IS PROHIBITING CULTURALLY INAPPROPRIATE HALLOWEEN COSTUMES

Despite posting a third-quarter loss of $94.2 million, or 16 cents a share, the image-sharing company reported a 58% year-over-year revenue increase to $442.6 million compared to $280 million in 2019.

Pinterest reported a 46% year-over-year increase in its international monthly active users to 343 million compared to 235 million in 2019. Meanwhile, domestic monthly active users increased by 13% year-over-year to 98 million from 87 million a year ago.

The company cited broad-based strength driven by a recovery in advertiser demand from larger brands who paused or reduced spending in the second quarter to boycott social media as part of the #StopHateforProfit campaign. In addition, the company said the release of iOS 14 boosted user growth with approximately 4 million people using Pinterest “for inspiration for customized background filters.”

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While Pinterest is forecasting fourth-quarter revenue growth of about 60% year-over-year, the company warned that it continues to "navigate uncertainty" due to the coronavirus pandemic. It also expects fourth-quarter engagement to dip as people celebrate the holidays and during both the U.S. presidential election and its aftermath.

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The company noted that it will continue to operate in a remote work environment while maintaining its long-term strategic investments and will continue to evaluate its spending as the pandemic evolves.

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Myer chairman quits after losing support of two key shareholders

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The embattled chairman of department store Myer has stepped down from his role ahead of the company's annual general meeting, having lost the support of the retailer's two largest shareholders.

Garry Hounsell, Myer's chair for the last three years, announced he would be retiring ahead of the meeting after it became evident that billionaire investor Solomon Lew and fund manager Geoff Wilson would not be voting for his re-election, the company said in a statement to the ASX on Thursday just before the shareholder meeting kicked off.

Myer’s chairman Garry Hounsell has announced his retirement from the company. Credit:Eddie Jim

"Ahead of today’s Myer AGM, it has become apparent that Myer’s two largest shareholders are not supporting my re-election and I will not allow my ongoing tenure as chairman to be a distraction to the hard work of the executive team," Mr Hounsell said in a statement.

The shock move marks a significant victory for Mr Lew, who has been campaigning against Mr Hounsell since his appointment in 2017. The Premier Investments chair, who owns around 11 per cent of Myer, has made repeated calls for Mr Hounsell to step down and has regularly blamed the chairman for Myer's recent underperformance.

Mr Lew had indicated in recent weeks that he would be voting against Mr Hounsell at the annual general meeting, where he was up for re-election. Mr Wilson, who owns 7 per cent of Myer, had long kept his cards close to his chest, but eventually said he believed the company would benefit from some "clear air".

"We believe Myer will benefit from clear air following a challenging period for the company," he told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday morning.

"We expect that management can now stay focused and work towards delivering for shareholders during the Christmas season."

Director JoAnne Stephenson has been named acting chairman in light of Mr Hounsell's departure and the company will undertake a global search for a new chair.

"It is essential that [chief executive] John King and Myer’s management team are able to execute the strategy during the all-important peak trading period, between Black Friday and January’s Stocktake Sale, without further disruption and it is hoped that my appointment as acting chairman will enable this to occur," Ms Stephenson said.

Mr Hounsell defended his tenure as chairman, saying he believed his three-year run had strengthened the Myer business and held it through the "severe disruption" of COVID-19.

"Throughout my tenure, we have been resolutely focused on delivering for customers and improving the performance of the business – and we have been determined not to allow anything to distract us from that mission," he said.

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Furlough and payment holiday deadline: How to handle your financial fears as support ends

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Furlough payments and payment holidays have kept millions of people afloat during this tough period but unfortunately, the Government has made it clear the support can’t continue forever. Come October 31, coronavirus-focused financial help will halt or dramatically reduce for many and families across the UK will be forced to face their financial fears.

These problems can take many different forms but fortunately, Credit Klarna has offered advice for some of the most common issues.

Akansha Nath, the head of partnerships at the company, started off by examining the prospect of unwelcome surprise bills: “An unexpected bill is enough to give anyone a fright.

“During COVID, households have been terrorised with rising household bills, with families the biggest victims.

“According to Credit Karma, parents have seen their utility bills creep up by nearly £70 a month, leaving nearly half living in fear of how they’ll afford a second lockdown.

“But changing utility providers and finding competitive offers can ward off startling bills, using a switching service, such as Credit Karma, can provide you with competitive rates within minutes.”

The pandemic has also had impact on income levels as employers from all industries have struggled to keep up with the new normal.

As a result, some people may have been forced to rely on credit to cover their costs, which can of course bring with it additional problems.

Akansha went on to address some of these difficulties: “If you’re having to rely on credit cards more than usual, keep your eyes peeled for interest rates creeping up, and take stock of your options to ensure you’re not startled by additional interest and fees.

“If the interest accrued on your credit cards is starting to give you chills, try looking for a more affordable alternative, oftentimes personal loans will have lower interest rates than credit cards, or you can look for introductory offers of low interest or even zero percent interest credit cards.”

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As credit card usage rises, credit histories can be affected, both positively and negatively.

Where a person’s credit score may not be ideal, Akansha provided tips on how to boost it upwards: “Your credit score has a habit of following you around.

“If there are skeletons in your closet when it comes to your financial history, such as missed repayments, these can have an impact on your credit profile, and your ability to borrow in the future.

“A poor credit score can scare lenders away, and limit your options when it comes to taking out credit, or make borrowing more expensive.

“If you need to rely on credit and need to exorcise your credit score, there are a number of steps to make yourself more appealing to lenders, such as regularly checking your credit report, joining the electoral roll and keeping on top of your debts.”

Simply getting decent credit themed products could be difficult in itself given the current interest rate environment.

This could lead to consumers turning to more dangerous forms of short term credit products but Akansha concluded her advice by providing a stark warning on this: “The market for low interest rates and affordable credit has become a ghost town in recent months.

“According to Credit Karma, for a third of Brits, affordable credit has become inaccessible since the coronavirus outbreak, as competitive personal loans and zero percent interest credit cards are slashed by lenders.

“If affordable credit has become out of reach to you, it may be tempting to turn to store cards, buy now, pay later schemes and payday loans, but it’s important to remember that these are still credit agreements.

“Keep on top of what you owe and when repayments are due to avoid those frightening missed payment fees, or credit score dents, which can impact your ability to access affordable credit in the future.

“Lastly, if you feel like debt keeps piling up and gets out of hand, don’t be scared to seek help. Charities such as StepChange can give you impartial advice and deal with your enquiry in confidence.”

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Elite Model World in Talks to Go Public Through SPAC Merger

Elite Model World, which describes itself as the largest model management network in the world, is in talks to go public through a merger with blank-check firm Galileo Acquisition Corp., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Galileo has held talks with potential investors about raising new equity to support a transaction, said some of the people, who requested anonymity because the discussions are private. A deal hasn’t been finalized and it’s possible talks could collapse.

Representatives for Elite and Galileo didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Elite Model World’s agencies include Elite Model Management, Women Model Management, the Society Management, Supreme Model Management, Stage and 360 Model Management, which together represent more than 3,700 models across 52 countries, according to its website.

It has increasingly diversified its revenue by representing social media influencers, some of whom can earn more from Instagram posts that traditional modeling.

The company is led by Chief Executive Officer Julia Haart, who is married to Chairman Silvio Scaglia.

New York-based Galileo raised $138 million in an initial public offering last year. At the time, it said its target companies included Italian family-owned businesses with a clearly defined strategic to grow in North America. Chief Executive Officer Luca Giacometti has previously led Italian blank-check companies.

— With assistance by Kim Bhasin, and Daniele Lepido

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Home Depot's Black Friday sale starts November 6, but you can already see the best deals

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  • The Home Depot's Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales run from November 6 through December 2. 
  • Its early preview is already available to view on The Home Depot app. We picked out some of the best deals, including $70 off a popular air fryer oven and $100 off a smart thermostat. 
  • We'll be covering the best Black Friday deals around the internet here, plus we're following the best holiday deals at specific stores like Target and Best Buy. 

The Home Depot is one of many retailers getting a head start on Black Friday. From November 6 through December 2, the store is offering discounts on appliances, home improvement tools, holiday decor, and more. And, while you may not be able to take advantage of those Black Friday prices just yet, all of The Home Depot's upcoming deals can currently be viewed on the store's app. 

That means now is the perfect time to fill out your holiday wish list with seasonal decor (like trees, lights, and yes, a 10-foot inflatable Grinch), or simply bookmark the perfect tools for your next home project. If you plan on doing your shopping in person, note that all Home Depot stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. 

Here are the best Home Depot Black Friday deals: 

With this smart thermostat, you'll be able to program your home temperature with an app or voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, track monthly energy use, and receive timely reminders and notifications. The deal goes live on November 6.

 

Shop all deals at Home Depot here

 

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Russia's central bank remains cautious on interest rate moves as growth forecast is lowered

  • In both its September and October meetings, Russia's central bank chose to keep its key rate steady at 4.25%, a total reduction of 350 basis points since June of the previous year.
  • The bank brought down its forecast for 2021, expecting economic growth to be between 3% and 4% next year and to be led by domestic consumption.

Russia's monetary policy decision-makers are preparing for continued uncertainty and a new wave of coronavirus cases sweeping much of the world, urging caution even as its central bank says there is some wiggle room for further interest rate reductions.

"We see some room for the reduction. It is limited, it's not so much as it was before, but we will decide how and when to use this room according to incoming data," Russian central bank chief Elvira Nabiullina told CNBC's Geoff Cutmore on Wednesday, referring to the country's interest rates.  

In both its September and October meetings, Russia's central bank chose to keep its key rate steady at 4.25%, a total reduction of 350 basis points since June of the previous year. Nabiullina's emphasis was on being cautious, she said.

"We made a pause in September and October, assessing the short-term inflationary risks and some risks related to financial stability, the market, that's why we think we should be more careful about the development of the situation with the pandemic, with geopolitical issues and other issues." 

Nabiullina still considers the bias in interest rates to be to the downside, even if she is being cautious, "because the Covid escalation in autumn increases the disinflationary risks, and the risks for the demand, and we see that in medium-term perspective the disinflationary risks will prevail, of course," she said.

"And we think that our policy will remain … through the end of next year. We think that instead of decisions of cutting rates that we have made before, it will last through the end of this year at least." 

Nabiullina said recovery for Russia's economy in the third quarter was "very dynamic" and led by domestic goods consumption, but the resurgence of coronavirus cases in much of the world has forced the country to revise down its forecast for consumer and investor demand. A key part of that lies in demand for one of Russia's most lucrative exports, oil, which saw a historic drop this spring and is still trading at more than 30% below pre-pandemic levels due to weak demand.   

"The autumn Covid-19 escalation has led to some slowdown in the recovery, and that is why we revised our forecast for this year only plus half a percentage point, and we expect this year the economy will contract by between 4[%] and 5%," Nabiullina said. That figure is still not as bad as that of the World Bank, which says that Russia's economy could contract by 6% for 2020.   

"We brought down our forecast for the next year, we think the growth will be between 3[%] and 4% and will be led by the internal consumption," she said. 

The World Bank in its June outlook for Russia also pointed to household consumption as being expected to lead the recovery. Still, it highlighted risks that Nabiullina stressed on Wednesday concerning not only the pandemic but geopolitical uncertainty and its impact on oil prices.

The World Bank forecasts that even with potential positive growth, gross domestic product levels in 2022 will still struggle to match pre-pandemic levels.  

Russia has the fourth-highest number of reported coronavirus cases in the world, at 1,553,028, and 26,752 deaths. In August it announced itself as the first country to have registered and gained government regulatory approval for its coronavirus vaccine, which is currently in late-stage testing.  

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'Plot Against the President' filmmaker says media largely to blame for attempt to link Trump campaign, Russia

Media accused of over-hyping Trump-Russia collusion claims

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani demands apology from media; Fox News contributor Jessica Tarlov and Media Research Center president Brent Bozell weigh in.

A new film, “The Plot Against the President,” examines the "slow-moving coup engineered by a coterie of the American establishment elite, targeting not only the president, but the whole country” when Democrats attempted to link President Trump’s campaign to Russia. And who's to blame? Director Amanda Milius says it mostly falls on the media's shoulders for “brainwashing” Americans. 

The documentary chronicles Rep. Devin Nunes as he “uncovered the operation” to bring down the Trump, but Milius maintains it’s not a partisan movie. 

‘THE PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT' DOCUMENTARY EXPLORES ATTEMPTS TO LINK TRUMP CAMPAIGN, RUSSIA

“The Plot Against the President” filmmaker Amanda Milius largely blames on the media for “brainwashing” Americans with the Russian collusion narrative.

“It’s really just about this incredible brainwashing that we all had to experience. The mainstream media was just really awful in this whole thing, basically they just discredited themselves,” Milius told Fox News. “The left wing media completely lost their mind and it’s really awful and has national security implications.”

Milius – who previously worked for the Trump administration at both the State Department and the White House – explained that government workers sometimes watch CNN and MSNBC and take the far-left commentators at their word. 

“A lot of them go home and they would watch Rachel Maddow say that the president, their boss essentially, is a Russian asset and so, they’re sitting there in a hugely important national security role and they’re like ‘Oh I don’t have to listen to this person or any of his employees because it’s patriotic not to do what they say and not to follow the normal chain of command because Don Lemon told me he’s a Russian asset,’” she said. “That is a huge problem, it’s essentially a coup.” 

NUNES: TRANSCRIPTS SHOW RUSSIA INVESTIGATION WAS 'PHONY THE WHOLE TIME'

Milius said “The Plot Against the President” lays out the relationship between the intel agencies, “abusive” law enforcement agencies and elected officials who were all working hand in hand with the media.

“I think the media is the most to blame, but also those people are the most to blame, it kind of leaves it up to the audience to decide,” Milius said, noting that elected officials were feeding media members “incorrect information” to keep the story in the zeitgeist. 

“No one believes anything that these people say anymore,” she said. “That’s a really big problem. We’ve basically had in four years, the decay of the media and the institutions that are supposed to keep us safe, that we’re supposed to have this faith in, and basically that’s the biggest damage.”

“The Plot Against the President” is based on Lee Smith’s best-selling 2019 book, “The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History.”  

Milius, the daughter of famed screenwriter and outspoken conservative John Milius, had left Hollywood to work for the Trump administration and had no desire to return to filmmaking until she realized her friend Smith’s book provided a unique look at the Russian probe.

DECLASSIFIED TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE DOCS TO DATE: WHAT TO KNOW

“Lee’s book really focused on character versus documents,” she said. “It’s really important for a movie because, I think, a lot of the reason that it works is you’re not following a document trail, which is incredibly boring and the reason why most people can’t put the dots together, because they have a life to live and you can’t watch every document dump.”

She feels that moviegoers connect to people and Smith’s book paved the way for her film to do just that. 

“This was really a unique opportunity to tell the story correctly because it is told through the people that discovered it,” Milius said. “You kind of discover the plot through the eyes of Devin and the people that were actually on the team.” 

Milius initially planned to only produce the movie but eventually took matters into her own hands. 

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“I didn’t plan on directing it but it became clear that the only way it was going to get done correctly and in time, and the way that I wanted it to happen, was if I just did it myself,” she said. 

“The Plot Against the President” features Nunes, Ric Grenell, Rep. Jim Jordan, Donald Trump Jr., Corey Lewandoswki, Rudy Giuliani, Roger Stone, Rep. Matt Gaetz, Rep. Lee Zeldin, Rep. Mike Turner and many more key participants and members of Trump’s inner circle.  

“The Plot Against the President” is now streaming on Amazon Prime, Vimeo, MoviesPlus and specialproject.io. 

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Real estate heir Jane Goldman unloads UES digs on William Zeckendorf

Jane Goldman, the only female billionaire/heiress running a real estate firm, has sold her Upper East Side digs for $11 million, sources tell Gimme exclusively.

The buyer is fellow real estate honcho/heir William Zeckendorf.

The third-floor, six-bedroom, 5½-bath spread at 960 Park Ave. first went on the market last year for $12.75 million. The 12-room, full-floor co-op is in a 1913 building designed by James E. R. Carpenter.

It comes with a private elevator landing that opens to a foyer with a bronze and glass entry door, custom moldings, entertaining rooms, an eat-in chef’s kitchen and a library/media room.

There’s also a woodburning fireplace, hardwood floors, motorized shades and soundproof windows. Goldman heads Solil Management, which she owns with her three siblings.

She’s the youngest daughter of the late Sol Goldman, who was once the city’s biggest landlord. Jewels in their collection include the Olympic Tower, the Cartier Mansion and a 17 percent stake in the World Trade Center developments.

Goldman has been on a personal selling spree recently. In June, she reportedly sold her Palm Beach spread — famed for once being President Kennedy’s Winter White House — for $70 million.

Zeckendorf — who co-developed top buildings like 15 Central Park West, 520 Park Ave., 50 United Nations Plaza and 18 Gramercy Park — comes from a third-generation real estate dynasty. He is co-founder and co-chairman of Zeckendorf Development, LLC, and co-chairman of Terra Holdings, LLC, the parent company of Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead Property.

The listing broker is Suzan Kremer, of Douglas Elliman.

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Half of registered voters expect to have some difficulty voting, according to the Pew Research Center

  • President Donald Trump has made a series of false statements, claiming mail-in voting is rife with fraud and encouraging supporters to “go into the polls and watch very carefully.”
  • While most experts agree voter fraud on a national scale is unlikely, a bigger concern for the 2020 elections, according to analysts, is voter intimidation.
  • According to a Pew Research Center poll taken ahead of the November 2020 election, 43% of Republicans thought voter fraud was a "major problem" with mail-in ballots in past presidential elections, compared with 11% of Democrats.

In an era of deep political divide, half of registered voters in the U.S. said they expect to have difficulty casting their ballot in the 2020 election, according to a Pew Research Center poll. 

With early voting already underway, President Donald Trump has made a series of false statements, claiming mail-in voting is rife with fraud and encouraging supporters to "go into the polls and watch very carefully."

But according to analysts, voter fraud on a national level in the U.S., either with mail-in ballots or at the polls, is extremely rare.

"The United States election system is actually very safe," said Rachael Cobb, an associate professor and the chair of political science and legal studies at Suffolk University. "There are areas where we might want to do a little better, but the general, overall view of American elections is safe."

Covid-19 and social distancing have only added to the complexities of voting, with millions expected to vote by mail for the first time and all but about a half-dozen states allowing some type of early in-person voting.

So with fears of voter intimidation, outdated election machines and mail-in ballot fraud, just how secure are American elections and what safeguards are in place to protect the results?

Watch more:

Why US hospitals are closing
What airlines are doing to clean their planes

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