Mueller subpoenas Trump Organization for documents related to Russia report

Reported order is first time special counseling has asked for documents directly related to Trumps industries in course of investigation

The special counseling, Robert Mueller, has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia, the New York Times reported on Thursday, in a sign that the investigation is inching closer to the president.

The subpoena was delivered in” recent weeks” and includes an order for the Trump Organization to turn over all documents related to Russia and other topics he is investigating, the Times reported, citing two people briefed on the matter.

It is the first known order directly related to Trump’s sprawling business empire.

Asked by the New York Times last year whether he would consider Mueller analyse his and his family’s finances a” red line “, Trump told:” I would say yeah. I would say yes. By the way, I would say, I don’t- I don’t- I mean, it’s possible there’s a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows ?”

He added:” I don’t make money from Russia. Other than I held the Miss Universe pageant there eight, nine years .”

On Twitter, Trump has said he has had” nothing to do with Russia- no deals , no loans , no nothing “.

But on Wednesday Democratic lawmakers analyse possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin alleged that the future president’s private company was ” actively negotiating” a business deal in Moscow with a sanctioned Russian bank during the course of its 2016 election campaign.

The statement by Democrat on the House intelligence committee, who have had access to internal Trump Organization documents and interviewed key witness, creates new questions about the Trump Organization’s financial ties to Russia and its possible willingness to deal with a bank that had been placed under US sanctions.

The Democrat did not indicate the source of their information.

One month before Trump laid down this” red line “, Don McGahn, the White House counsel, reportedly threatened to quit after Trump asked him to have Mueller fired because the president believed he had a number of conflicts of interest that disqualified him from overseeing the investigation.

Meanwhile a new poll from Pew Research Center discovered 61% of Americans were very or somewhat confident Mueller will conduct a fair investigation.

Opinions divided along party lines. Some 46% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agreed, while for Democrats the figure was 75%.

The study, carried out before Thursday’s announcement of sanctions on Russian intelligence for its interference in the 2016 elections, also received 55% of Americans either not at all or not too confident that the Trump administration will take serious action to prevent Russia from influencing future elections in this country.

Mueller was appointed in May 2017 to investigate whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 presidential election.

He is also reportedly investigating whether Trump obstructed justice by firing former FBI director James Comey, who has said he refused to give the president his loyalty.

The White House referred all inquiries to the Trump Organization. A lawyer for the Trump Organization did not wish to comment on the record.

At her regular media briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders declined to address reports of the subpoena immediately.

” As we’ve maintained all along and as the president has said numerous times, there was no collusion between the campaign and Russia ,” Sanders told reporters.” We’re going to continue to fully cooperate out of respect for the special attorney. We’re not going to comment: for any specific questions about the Trump Organization, I’d refer you there .”

Additional reporting by David Smith

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Larry Kudlow: TV pundit to replace Gary Cohn as Trump’s top economic adviser

Conservative commentator was chosen from a shortlist of only one candidate for one of the most powerful posts in the administration

Out with the Goldman Sachs banker and in with the TV depict anchor. On Wednesday Donald Trump was preparing to announce that CNBC host and conservative commentator Larry Kudlow would replace Gary Cohn as director of the White House’s National Economic Council.

Kudlow, 70, best known as a CNBC commentator and outspoken proponent of free trade and low taxes, is in many ways a contradictory fit with Trump’s” America First” agenda.

But Kudlow, according to White House advisers, was chosen from a shortlist of simply one candidate for one of the most powerful economic posts in the administration. The official proclamation could come as early as tomorrow, according to CNBC, his employer.

The 70 -year-old surely brings some Trump-supporting chops. He helped to shape Trump’s economic policy platform during the 2016 campaign and later worked with the treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, on an overhaul of taxation codes. He has reportedly also helped shape economic policy over the past year.

A veteran of the Reagan administration, Kudlow ran in the White House budget office. Despite never completing the master’s program in economics and policy at Princeton University, he subsequently moved to Wall street and served as chief economist at Bear Stearns.

A perpetrated proponent of tax cuts as an engine of broad economic growth, Kudlow defended Trump’s own tax cuts when they ran into resistance, from Republican and Democrats, over the highest budget deficits they will probably bring.

But the financial news TV superstar has not been above blaming the president’s economic postures, including the recent menace to impose import tariffs on aluminium and steel.

” Trump should also examine the historical record on tariffs, because they have almost never worked as intended and almost always deliver an unhappy ending ,” Kudlow wrote in a National Review column” Tariffs Are Taxes “ penned with co-authors Stephen Moore and Arthur Laffer on 3 March.

The writers continued:” We aren’t persuaded by the Trump administration’s claim that we need to impose these tariffs for national-security reasons. Despite stiff competition from imports, many specialty steel producers are doing just fine, and are actually exporting steel to Mexico and Canada .”

But Kudlow later said his worries had been assuaged, telling New York’s AM 970” the tariffs[ were] basically gone with the exception of maybe China and a few countries “.

” I guarantee you, all of Europe is going to wind up being exempt. And I bet you our allies in Asia will wind up being exempt. China may be the only one ,” Kudlow continued.

He reasoned that the tariff proposals are” a Trumpian route of negotiating. You knock them in the teeth and get their attention, and then you kind of work out a bargain ,” Kudlow said.” That’s what he’s done. My hat’s off to him. He had me really worried , now I’m not .”

Kudlow, who is from New Jersey, also shares personal aspects of Trump’s life experience. Trump lost his brother to alcoholism; in the mid-1 990 s, Kudlow entered a 12 -step program to combat an addiction to cocaine and alcohol.

Kudlow told Crisis magazine that in 1995″ the roof fell down on my life “.

” I had another bad relapse. I lost my jobs and my life in the spring of 1995. My wife sent me away to the Hazelden Treatment Center in Minnesota. I was there for five months .”

He was helped by the economist and Opus Dei evangelist Father John McCloskey, who also guided Newt Gingrich and Sam Brownback in their conversions to Catholicism.

McCloskey recalled that Kudlow had faced a dilemma.” Success comes easy and in a big route for some people in our affluent, celebrity-conscious culture. And what do you do then, when the bottom falls out in a manner that is from which nothing up to that time has prepared you ?” McCloskey wrote in Good News, Bad News his 2011 account of the conversions he has overseen.

By late 1997 Kudlow was ready to be baptized, surrounded by friends from the conservative magazine National Review. He returned to work and to his marriage and came to see his recovery from alcoholism and cocaine as part of Christ’s redemption.

” I knew somehow that first of all, Christ wanted me to recover, and secondly, Christ would stand with me .”

” All of this is God’s handiwork ,” Kudlow told.” I have learned to live a life of faith … I pray and meditate every day, every morning. You know I pray in cab. I pray in airliners. I don’t really pray for anything- I only pray that Jesus will give me the strength to follow him .”

He will need all that strength as he enters the White House. Tenures for Trump appointees have become increasingly brief as Trump tolerance for dissension has shortened.

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Bose is carving out $50 million for startups using its new audio-focused AR tech

The high-end audio technology company Bose is getting into the augmented reality game with a new product and a $50 million money devoted to startups that will develop services for its new platform.

While most of the industry is focused on a visually augmented experience, Bose is most concerned with the intersection of sound and vision.

The Bose AR prototype, which was unveiled at South by Southwest in Austin this year, will use visual info captured by the glasses and add contextually relevant audio information to its wearer.

Bose’s AR kit is a “wafer-thin” acoustics package that the company hopes can be added to headphones, eyewear, helmets and other wearables to give a new spin on reality “augmentation.” The company said the new technology can be controlled with voice commands, head gestures and simple touch gestures.

The new product is a clever spin on augmented reality and a product that plays into Bose’s strength. “It places audio in your surroundings , not digital images, so you can focus on the amazing world around you — rather than a tiny showing, ” said John Gordon, vice president of the Consumer Electronics Division at Bose, in a statement posted. “It knows which way you’re facing, and can instantly connect that place and hour with endless the chances of traveling, learn, music and more. And it can be added to products and apps we already use and love, removing some of the big obstacles that have maintained AR on the sidelines.”

The first prototype glasses are Bluetooth compatible for bellows or to integrate with Siri or Google Assistant. A new technology developed for the glass ensures that the audio is audible merely to the listener wearing the glasses, and the acoustic packages fit inside the arms of the glasses.

Sensors in the glasses track the orientation of a listener and integrate with an iOS or Android device to track place and motion, which is sent to the AR-enabled application in the wearables.

The company is already working with ASICS Studio, Strava, TripAdvisor, TuneIn and Yelp on cooperations that will provide content for the wearables, while MIT’s Media Lab and the NYU Future Reality Lab are also playing around with prototypes.

But Bose wants entrepreneurs and programmers to develop their own applications. They’ve made a $50 million fund to finance companies that would like to work with the new audio technology and is providing an SDK and updated glasses afterwards this summer.

Bose has invested in a number of companies already — unrelated to its new augmented reality platform — that are all based on novel wearable technologies.

The platform includes investments like Embr Labs, a wearable for governing body temperature; Qleek, a company that embeds augmented reality experiences onto custom designed wooden blocks; and Vesper, a MEMS-powered microphones.

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Trump tariffs: China warns trade war would be ‘disaster’

Commerce minister Zhong Shan says there would be no wins but Beijing is prepared to protect countrys interests

Any trade war with the United States will only bring catastrophe to the world economy, the Chinese commerce minister Zhong Shan has said, as Beijing stepped up its criticism of metals tariffs introduced by the White House.

After pressure from friends, the US has opened the style for more exemptions from tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminium that President Donald Trump set last week.

The target of Trump’s ire is China, whose capacity expansions have helped add to global surpluses of steel. China has repeatedly vowed to defend its “legitimate rights and interests” if targeted by US trade actions.

Zhong, speaking on the sidelines of China’s annual session of parliament, said China does not want a trade war and will not initiate one.

” There are no winners in a trade war ,” Zhong said.” It will merely bring tragedy to China and the United States and the world .”

However, China can manage any challenges and will resolutely protect its interests, he said.
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China’s metals industry issued the country’s most explicit menace yet in the row, exhorting on Friday for the administration has retaliate by targeting US coal- a sector that is central to Trump’s political base and his election pledge to restore American industries and blue-collar chores.

The US is the world’s biggest importer of steel, buying 35 m tonnes of raw material in 2017 of which 6.6 m tonnes came from South Korea, Japan, China and India.

Trade tensions between China and US have risen since Trump took office. China itself accounts for only a fraction of US steel importations but its massive industrial expansion has helped create a global glut of steel that has driven down prices.

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Travis Kalanick is launching a venture fund

Travis Kalanick, the controversial co-founder and one-time chief executive of Uber, is launching a new investment fund “ve called the” 10100 Fund.

According to an announcement on his Twitter account, the new money is concentrated in “large-scale job creation.”

Investment areas are to include real estate, e-commerce and emerging innovations in China and India.

It’s the systematization of run that Kalanick had been conducting softly with boards , nonprofits and through investments in young companies.

It’s likely that Kalanick will invest in startups in that magic number between 10 and 100 employees( the magical growth stage for startup companies ).

We’ve reached out to Kalanick for comment and will update this once we hear back.

One user on Twitter pointed out that Kalanick might want to rethink the name of the new money. While the term resonates in startupland — among truckers the term entails something entirely different.

Whatever the brand, Kalanick now has a lot of fund at his disposal to play around with.

If the reports were accurate, Kalanick was up to sell nearly one-third of his ownership posture in the ridesharing giant he built. Given the SoftBank Group valuationof $48 billion for Uber( a huge discount from its last fundraising valuation )~ ATAGEND, that would mean the 29 percent stake that Kalanick was looking to sell would be worth about $1.4 billion.

Kalanick resigned from Uber last June but remains on the company’s board of directors and held a 10 percent stake in the ridesharing company.

As we noted in our initial reporting, Kalanick stands to become a billionaire if the sale goes through, but the bargain also is notable because he claimed during the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in October 2016 that he has never sold a single Uber share, even though he was still paying the mortgage on his home.

Kalanick has gone through a bumpy year in 2017. Uber was rocked by sexual harassment allegations, suits over intellectual property stealing and Justice Department investigations. The Uber co-founder also had to endure personal misfortune, as well.

Still, Kalanick appears to have emerged from the year undeterred. And with his latest venture, the Uber co-founder is going back to one thing that he inarguably knows how to do well … which is build startups .

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A perfect economic storm made Italy ripe for a protest vote

Stagnant wages, slow growth and high unemployment delivered the elections populist uprising

Too little and far too late. Six words that sum up the performance of the Italian economy in the decade since the financial crisis, and that run a long way towards explaining the support for populist parties in the election.

Indeed, if ever there was a country that was ripe for a protest against the political mainstream it was Italy, where four years of modest growth have not been nearly enough to mend the damage caused by a deep slump in 2008 -0 9 and a second two-year recession in 2012 -1 3.
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Only two countries that belong to the west’s club of rich nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, have yet to see economic activity surpass pre-financial-crisis levels. Greece is one. Italy is the other.

In some respects, Italy’s record since the turn of the century is even worse than that of Greece, because at least Greece had a boom before the bad times arrived. Italy’s living criteria are only slightly higher than they were when the country became a founder member of the single currency in 1999.

Membership of the euro has clearly been a factor in explaining the rise of populism in Italy, because it has attained it impossible for governments in Rome to restore competitiveness by devaluing the currency- something they did on a regular basis in the days before monetary union. The disciplines of euro membership have all contributed to slower growth, stagnant wages, high unemployment and austerity – perfect conditions for Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement to exploit.

Mainstream politicians such as Italy’s outgoing “ministers “, Paolo Gentiloni, can point to some small successes. A million jobs have been created in the past four years, although 60% of them are part-time. Youth unemployment has come down, but a third of all people under the age of 25 are still without work- doubled the average for the EU. Unable to find jobs at home, young Italian graduates have left the country to find opportunities elsewhere.

Speaking in Davos less than two months ago, Gentiloni aptly summed up their own problems he faced at the election.” There are still unacceptably large parts of our populations who feel unsatisfied with their conditions and worried about the future.

” Economic growth is not reducing inequalities, but in many countries including Italy they are still widening, even if economic growth is there. They are reaching even more intolerable levels .”

There are certain features that appear to build populist insurgencies more likely. A country needs to have been through a prolonged economic trauma, just as Italy has. It needs to be geographically split between a fast-growing region and a struggling region, as Italy is with the marked divide between the industrial north and the agrarian south. It requires policymakers to respond to the budget deficits that result from high unemployment and slow growth by enforcing welfare cuts, which Italian governments have been obliged to do as a result of the EU’s fiscal regulations. And it needs economic and social tensions to be inflamed by mass immigration, as has been the case in Italy, the main gateway to Europe for those travelling from Libya.

Like Britain, Italy has a productivity problem, merely worse. Like France, it has an unemployment problem, merely worse. Like Spain, it has had banking problems, merely worse. And as in Germany, a sudden upsurge in migration has created a twin problem for the mainstream parties. It has constructed them appear to be completely out of touch with ordinary voters, and to be like rabbits in the headlights.

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Trump escalates trade war rhetoric with threat to tax Europe-made cars

EU had threatened to target US imports in response to steel tariff while Trump tweets that countries laugh at what fools our leaders have been. No more!

Donald Trump has intensified the threat of a trade war with Europe, warns that the US will slap a taxation on cars built on the continent if the European Union( EU) retaliates against tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium.

The American president made a amaze proclamation the coming week that he intends to impose a 25% tariff on steel and 10% on aluminium in an attempt to protect US industry.

The European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, said the bloc was prepared to respond forcefully by targeting US importations such as Harley-Davidson motorbikes, Levi’s jeans and Kentucky bourbon whiskey.

On Saturday Trump hit back in typical style, writing on Twitter :~ ATAGEND” If the EU wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on US companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Automobiles which freely pour into the US. They make it impossible for our automobiles( and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance !”

In another tweet ,~ ATAGEND the president railed against “very stupid” trade deals by earlier authorities and said other countries” laugh at what fools our leaders have been. No more !”

Trump has previously assaulted “manufacturers ” in Europe, particularly in Germany, with which the US has a huge trade deficit. Last year, in an interview with the German newspaper Bild , he criticised companies such as BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen for failing to produce more vehicles on US soil and threatened a border tax of 35% on vehicles imported to the US market.

A few months later, at a closed-door meeting with EU officials in Brussels, he was quoted by Der Spiegel as saying :~ ATAGEND” The Germans are bad, the worst. Appear at the millions of cars that they sell in the US. Terrible. We’re going to stop that .”

BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen operate some of their biggest mills in southern, Republican-leaning US nations. German carmakers apply about 33,000 workers in the US and German automotive suppliers about 77,000 more, according to Germany’s automotive industry association.

Cosette Creamer , an assistant professor of political science and trade expert at the University of Minnesota , noted that Trump’s proposals remain vague.

” The administration has not indicated which types of steel and aluminium the proposals of the tariffs will cover, or whether there will be any exemptions or carve-outs for certain types of steel/ aluminium importations or for certain countries ,” she wrote in an email on Saturday.

” All that being said, engaging in escalatory trade war rhetoric- even( and especially) if you don’t end up following through- is damaging for our diplomatic relations with our allies. Moreover,’ taxes on vehicles constructed in Europe’ won’t impact European firms much since many of these companies assemble or manufacture their automobiles either in the US or Mexico .”

Creamer added:” It seems to me that if these tariffs are imposed across the board, the detrimental impact on Europe will come not so much from the direct tariffs on steel imported from EU countries( which is actually a small fraction of our steel importations ). Rather it will come from the destabilising impacts on the European marketplace caused by the flooding of steel from countries that would have otherwise exported to the US .”

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Trump says US to impose steel, aluminium tariffs next week- video

Trump campaigned on an” America first” agenda of economic nationalism, promising to bring undertakings back. But his latest move was, according to NBC News, a kneejerk reaction born of indignation during another tumultuous week at the White House. He followed up with a tweet that said trade wars were” easy to win”, rattling US financial markets.

The plan transgress from Republican orthodoxy on free trade and has left members of Congress scrambling. They warned that a trade war would hurt US companies and wipe out recent economic gains. Canada has said it will retaliate for any tariffs on steel and aluminium.

The Arizona senator John McCain tweeted :~ ATAGEND” The president’s sweeping tariffs will only serve to hurt American workers and customers, and alienate us from our most important allies and trading partners .”

Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said:” Our allies are sitting and going,’ What the hell is your problem ?'”

On Friday the Swedish appliance manufacturer Electrolux said plans for a plant expansion in Springfield, Tennessee had been put on hold because of Trump’s announcement.

” Unfortunately, this decision gives foreign gadget producers a cost advantage that is hard to compete against ,” spokeswoman Eloise Hale said in a statement to the Tennessean newspaper.

There was also a chorus of media criticism. Rupert Murdoch’s Wall street Journal , normally supportive of the president, commented :~ ATAGEND” Protectionism may be his only real policy sentence, and his tweet confirms he doesn’t know what he’s talking about .”

The White House announced on Friday that Trump had held bellows with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and French chairwoman, Emmanuel Macron. The leaders discussed Syria and Russia, according to an official statement that made no mention of trade.

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Ex-Trump adviser sold $31m in shares days before president announced steel tariffs

Carl Icahn sold $31.3 m of shares in a company dependent on steel imports days before the commerce department mooted stiff tariffs on imports

Carl Icahn, a former special adviser to Donald Trump, sold $31.3 m of shares in a company heavily dependent on steel imports last week, shortly before Trump’s announcement of new tariffs sent the market share plummeting.

Icahn, a billionaire investor who was a major Trump supporter, started selling shares in the crane and lifting equipment supplier Manitowoc Company on 12 February, days before the commerce department first mooted plans to impose stiff tariffs on foreign steel imports.

The news was first reported by Think Progress .

On Thursday Trump said he would press ahead with the commerce department’s plans to levy 25% tariffs on imports of steel and 10% on aluminium.

According to a regulatory filing Icahn was able to sell his shares for $32 to $34. On Friday morning Manitowoc’s shares had fallen 5.48% to $26.37. The autumn is in conformity with fells assured by other companies dependent on cheap steel imports, including Boeing and Caterpillar.

Trump has argued that the tariffs are necessary to protect US undertakings.” We must protect our country and our workers. Our steel industry is in bad shape. IF YOU DON’T HAVE STEEL, YOU DON’T HAVE A COUNTRY !” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The announcement has rattled stock market around the world and stoked fears of a trade war with both the EU and China saying they are considering reprisal if the tariffs become law.

Icahn, who has a luck of $16.9 bn according to Forbes, sold 1m shares in Manitowoc, according to the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The value of the shares he sold has since dropped by around$ 6m.

The investor was a special adviser to Trump during the election but resigned his position amid concerns about potential conflicts of interest relating to his vast business holdings.

Icahn was not immediately available for comment.

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Nuros self-driving vehicle is a grocery-getter and errand-runner

Not every self-driving auto has to be able to move passengers from point A to point B. Take, for example, Nuro: The startup just disclosed their unique autonomous vehicle platform, which is more of a mobile small logistics platform than a self-driving car.

The company, which has been working away in stealth mode in Mountain View until now, has raised a $92 million Series A round led by Banyan Capital and Greylock Partners to help make its unique vision of autonomous transport take shape.

Nuro’s vehicle is a small, narrow box on wheels, which is about half the width of a regular vehicle, and which is designed to be a lightweight style to get goods from a local enterprises to a customer, or from one person to another within a neighborhood or city. The platform is just one example of what Nuro wants to do, however; the startup bills itself as a product company focused on bringing “the benefits of robotics” to everyday use and ordinary people.

Nuro’s AV also operates altogether autonomously, and looks like something you’d ensure on a Moon base in a retro-futuristic sci-fi demonstrate. There’s a pin pad for user interaction, so that only the right customer can access the contents stored under, and a top-mounted sensor array that includes LiDAR, optical cameras and radar( other sensors are located around the vehicle to enable its autonomous driving ).

The young startup’s objective is to partner with businesses to set up transportation services. You can easily imagine this slotting in nicely to something like Uber Eats, and bringing food from the local lunch place to offices around where people are hungry but can’t build the trip out to their usual places in person. Or, they are able supporting Amazon’s last mile be required for in-city delivery, for example. Nuro isn’t yet talking about specific partnerships, however.

This fit-for-purpose vehicle and dedicated focus could help Nuro achieves some of the vision that Ford has for its AV program, for example, with potentially fewer barriers to deployment in limited markets and specifically bounded surroundings. It’s still early days for the startup, however, and it’s also competing in some way with more established young companies like Starship Robotics. Still, it’s a neat first product and an interesting vision.

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Toys R Us and Maplin fall into administration puts 5,500 UK jobs at risk

Government urged to hold talks with unions and retailers to protect chores as companies fail to find buyers

Toys R Us and Maplin have entered administration on the same day, putting more than 5,000 jobs at risk at two of the UK’s best-known retailers.

Administrator Moorfields said it was managing an” orderly wind-down” of Toys R Us, which has about 3,000 staff, while PwC has been appointed to oversee the administration of Maplin, which applies 2,500 people.

Labour called on the government to hold urgent talks with trade unions and the companies to ensure that jobs are safeguarded and address weakness in the retail sector.

Moorfields said it still holds out hope of procuring a last-minute buyer for all or part of Toys R Us, with its newer stores most likely to attract interest.

Simon Thomas, a partner at Moorfields, said:” All stores remain open until farther notice and stock will be subject to clearance and special promotions .”

” We’re fostering a user to redeem their gift cards and vouchers as soon as is practicable ,” he said adding that customers should do so as soon as possible, before any store closes take effect.” We will stimulate every effort to secure a buyer for all or part of the business.

” Whilst this process is likely to affect many Toys R Us faculty, whether some or all of the stores will close remains to be decided. We have informed employees about the process this morning and will continue to keep them updated on developments .”

Maplin applies 2,500 people in the UK. Photograph: Jacob Carter/ Rex/ Shutterstock

Maplin has also been put into administration after the failure of rescue talks with billionaire Philip Day, proprietor of manner chains Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Jaeger and Peacocks.

Discussions between Day and Maplin’s private equity owner Rutland Fund Management to save a chain with 2,500 staff and 200 shops broke down on Tuesday.

Chief executive Graham Harris said:” I can confirm this morning that it has not been possible to secure a solvent sale of the business and as a result we now have no alternative but to enter into an administration process.

” During this process Maplin will continue to trade and remains open for business.

” The business has worked hard over recent months to mitigate a combination of
impacts from sterling devaluation post Brexit, a weak consumer surrounding and
the withdrawal of credit insurance.

” This necessitated an intensive search for new capital that in current market conditions has proved impossible to create. These macro factors have been the principal challenge not the Maplin brand or its market differentiation.

” We believe passionately that Maplin has a place on the high street, and that our
trust, credibility and expertise fulfills a client require that is not supported
elsewhere .”

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour’s shadow business secretary, said:” It’s devastating that over 5,500 high street tasks risk being lost. This latest shock in the retail sector continues a worrying trend for our shopping streets and centres.

” The government must urgently meet with both the unions and the companies to ensure that these chores are safeguarded.

” Workers are suffering stress and nervousnes not knowing what the future holds for them. In the event of job losses, the government must act quickly to ensure all workers receive swift redundancy pays and are properly supported.

” The government must also urgently address problems across the retail sector .”

Like Maplin, Toys R Us has been hunting for a buyer for several weeks, but the formal appointment of administrators was announced on Wednesday.

The 105 -store chain, founded in 1985, is a subsidiary of the eponymous US company, which filed for insolvency protection in the US and Canada last year after amassing$ 5bn( PS3. 7bn) of debt.

The brand, which operates big out-of-town stores, has struggled to keep pace with transformations in shopping habits as Britons increasingly buy toys online or in supermarket aisles.

Veteran retail analyst Nick Bubb said:” Toys R Us simply couldn’t compete with Amazon and other online retailers with its shabby and expensive’ big box’ stores. Customers won’t miss it when it’s gone .”

He said rival toy firms such as The Entertainer were weathering difficult trading condition but the change to online sales was ” overwhelming poor retailers like Toys R Us with no strong point of change in their stores .”
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