UK retailers remove ‘staggeringly offensive’ mental health costumes from sale
House prices rose 0.5 percent from August, the biggest increase since May 2007, Hometrack said. Prices were up 2.4 percent from the same month last year, the biggest annual increase since December 2007. British house prices have picked up over the past 12 months, and some are concerned about an unsustainable price boom. But Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack, played down these fears. “Prices are rising off a low base and talk of a housing bubble in relation to the national market is overdone,” he said. “We are seeing continued house price growth in London combining with modest gains across other regions and creating a picture of a broadening market recovery,” he added. Hometrack said it expected prices to continue to rise in the short term but cautioned that the market remained very sensitive to changes in demand and especially changing expectations over the outlook for mortgage rates. Separate data from lender Nationwide released on Friday showed that British house prices shot up at their fastest annual pace in more than three years in September. House prices have been aided by government schemes to lower banks’ borrowing costs and help home-buyers struggling to find large deposits. The latter scheme is set for expansion at the start of 2014. Britain’s finance minister George Osborne said on Thursday that he wanted the Bank of England to keep a closer eye on whether the scheme might stoke a bubble. BoE Governor Mark Carney reiterated his view in an interview published on Friday that the market was seeing a turnaround but that levels of activity remained only around two-thirds of their longer-term averages for the sector. Hometrack said an improving market was bringing more supply to the market outside southern England and keeping price rises in check. London and the southeast, however, had seen less growth in supply and hence greater price rises, it said.
“We take our responsibilities very seriously which is why we will make a sizable donation to Mind.” Tesco also issued an apology, saying in a statement: “We’re really sorry for any offense this has caused and we are removing this product from sale.” Mental health charity Mind welcomed the withdrawal of the costumes, saying the retailers had shown themselves to be “extremely misguided” by offering them for sale. Slept in. Have @asda withdrawn their ‘mental patient fancy dress’ costume or are we going to organise a protest at HQ? #timetochange Alastair Campbell (@campbellclaret) September 26, 2013 Alastair Campbell “It is staggeringly offensive to the one in four of us affected by mental health problems and our families and friends, and troubling that some businesses are still so out of touch with the public mood,” spokeswoman Sue Baker said in a statement . However, Baker said the outcry the costumes provoked on the social media site Twitter was encouraging. “We hope this will urge Asda, Tesco and other retailers and manufacturers to review their processes and consider taste and decency on mental health grounds, to avoid fueling stigma and discrimination that are so damaging for large numbers of the population,” she said. Mind and the group Rethink Mental Illness run the Time to Change campaign to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. One of the campaign’s supporters is Alastair Campbell, who was former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s media chief and who has publicly spoken of his battle with depression . Campbell was among those who tweeted his displeasure at the “brutally stigmatizing outfits.” “@asda and @tesco should sign up for one of the @mindcharity @Rethink_ @TimetoChange mental health training courses,” he tweeted . Campbell alleged that Amazon still carried mental health patient costumes and called for people to tweet the company, asking it to withdraw them. But in response to an inquiry from CNN, an Amazon spokesperson said: “The item you refer to is not available on Amazon.co.uk.” Soccer player and broadcaster Stan Collymore who has also spoken out on depression, also took to Twitter to criticize the stereotype he said Asda and Tesco’s costumes had promoted. Collymore tweeted: “Do you actually realise how many people are hanging themselves because of being frightened of the stigma?
Earlier this week, the Barnes & Noble subsidiary announced that it was cutting the price of its Nook Simple Touch GlowLight ereader to 49 pounds ($79) almost 50% off the original price. Just five months earlier, the company slashed the price of its entry-level Simple Touch Reader to 29 pounds ($47) from 79 pounds ($127). Such cuts are usually a sign that a product is not selling well, or a new version of said product is on the way. In the Nook’s case, both scenarios may be true: Sales of ereaders and content have declined over the past two quarters, and both devices have been available on the UK market for nearly a year. But Jim Hilt, managing director of Barnes & Noble’s digital reading division, insists the changes are all positive, and that the price reductions are part of a bigger, more aggressive strategy to capture entry-level digital readers in the UK. Essentially, B&N is willing to take a deeper cut on hardware sales now for a longer-term gain in ebook sales, and ultimately a greater share of the UK ereading market. SEE ALSO: Barnes & Noble: When Great Isnt Good Enough “A number of people in the UK haven’t made the transition [to digital reading devices],” Hilt said in a phone interview with Mashable earlier this week. “There’s a perception that they’re priced too highly, or the quality of product hasn’t been sufficient.” Cutting the price of the Nook Simple Touch to 29 pounds in late April certainly helped move it off the shelves. Matthew Cashmore, the digital director of Blackwell’s, told Forbes that since the price reduction, the bookseller is struggling to keep the Nook Simple Touch in stock, and that ebook sales have gone “through the roof.” Cashmore added that the Nook has struggled to penetrate the UK market to date because it entered the market late, and has fewer retail partners than other manufacturers. “The price drop and the sale via many retailers has essentially brought the reader to the broader market.” By offering the Simple Touch at such a low price point, Hilt said the Nook was able to pick up UK customers who hadn’t yet made the transition to ereaders. It’s a hook-them-and-keep-them strategy: Hilt added that the company has a “strong ability” to keep first-time customers in the Nook family once they’ve purchased a device.
UK volleyball sweeps through Alabama with pair of conference victories
UK garnered 60 digs in the three-set sweep of Auburn, the most digs the Cats have amassed in Craig Skinners tenure as head coach for a three-set game. Im really excited about our defensive performance tonight, Skinner said to UK Athletics. Our blockers were more aggressive tonight and followed the game plan and executed it well. Our floor defense was also a difference-maker tonight. The Cats (10-3, 2-0 SEC) continue their winning streak of five games with the two wins, their second five-game win-streak of the season. Senior outside hitter Whitney Billings logged her seventh double-double of the season and her third in the last four games. Freshman outside hitter Anni Thomasson made her first start after missing Mondays game against Morehead State University due to a right arm injury, and registered seven kills. Saturdays game marked the first SEC volleyball contest to take place in the Auburn Arena, which was previously home to Auburn basketball and gymnastics. Auburn (9-4, 0-1 SEC) will welcome Alabama to Auburn Arena on Wednesday. UK dropped the opening set against Alabama (12-3, 0-1 SEC) by 10 points before taking the final three sets of the match to take the victory. Billings led the offensive side of the ball for the Cats on Sunday with 14 kills and a hit percentage of .448 in the match. Junior outside hitter Lauren OConner also reached double-digit kills on the day with 11, including the game-winning kill.