Business stories of interest this week

Business stories from the past week, compiled by Jason Maywald:

1. Chef Jamie Oliver’s Australian restaurant chain collapses

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Australian eatery adventure looks to be all but over with the collapse of his restaurant chain.

The Australian arm of Jamie’s Italian has been placed in voluntary administration.

On Monday, the Canberra branch failed to open following the weekend’s trade. A sign on the door announcing the closure read, with characteristic chirpiness, “Big Love Mr O xxx”. Oliver is not in the country.

The chain’s five further branches have been sold by the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group. The company said they will remain open under the new owners.

The Jamie’s Italian restaurants in Australia have rubbed some customers up the wrong way for refusing to take bookings, forcing some wannabe diners to queue for up to three hours for a table. Many chose not to.


2. ACT businesses most confident in Australia, survey finds

Canberra’s small and medium-sized businesses are the most confident in the country, according to a new survey that shows a big jump in their support for the ACT government.

The ACT’s business confidence rating went up two percentage points to +54 in the Sensis Business Index survey for the March quarter, with an increase in sales the driving factor.

But the biggest growth came in business support for the territory government, which rose 21 percentage points to +9 on the index.

Sensis chief executive John Allan said an increase in infrastructure spending and the perception of a supportive government was behind the wave of support.


3. Westpac’s BT Financial appoints Kathy Vincent as platforms head

BT Financial Group has lured Kathy Vincent from National Australia Bank to lead its platforms and investments business, replacing longstanding BT lieutenant John Shuttleworth.

Ms Vincent, who was manager of wealth products and platforms at NAB owned MLC, starts in the role on July 25, BT chief Brad Cooper announced on Tuesday. Mr Shuttleworth, joined BT in 2004, and led the bank’s push into its marquee platform BT Panorama.

The changes in Westpac’s wealth unit come as the latest round of the royal commission delves into AMP and big banks’ financial advice divisions. Topics span including improper fees, advice and conduct.

Ms Vincent joined NAB in 2012 as head of product in retail platforms, after 18 years at Macquarie Group.


 4. Potts point has Sydney’s longest average working week 

It hosts Sydney’s iconic Coca-Cola sign and is one of the city’s most densely populated suburbs.

But the harbour-side neighbourhood of Potts Point has something else that sets it apart – the city’s longest working hours.

Workers in Potts Point put in an average of 42 hours a week, analysis of the latest census shows.

The next highest suburb for average hours worked was The Rocks (40.8 hours) followed by Peats Ridge, near Gosford (40.3) and Millers Point (40.1).


5.  Woolworths explains technical glitch and apologises 

Woolworths has apologised “unreservedly” for a technical glitch which left shoppers across the country stranded.

Frustrated customers couldn’t pay for their goods because registers at Woolies stores shut down shortly after 4pm yesterday.

Signs were put up at hundreds of stores across the country apologising for the problem, which has been described as a “system fault”.

And, the CEO of Australia’s largest supermarket, Brad Banducci, released a statement stating that the “unexpected outage” lasted for about 30 minutes in a large number of Woolworths Supermarkets and attached BWS stores.