The Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger makes his way down 6th Avenue during the 89th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan (Photo: The Telegraph)

The hype surrounding "Black Friday" this week was inescapable.  Retailers bombarded our TV screens and email inboxes with fantastical discount offers, whilst in-store they brought in extra security guards to deal with the expected hordes of bargain hungry shoppers.  But like the suggested pre-Christmas deal fatigue in the commercial property market, it appears that UK consumers were reluctant to leave home and join the bun fight.  The real spending was done quietly online (at home, or in the office) with Experian claiming that online sales may have passed £1 billion for the first time in a single day.  We'll have to wait for the dust to settle to see whether this discount bonanza boosts the retailers' bottom-line in the all important Christmas trading period, or simply distorts consumer spending patterns.  If it's the latter, as many retail analysts suggest, the concept of "Black Friday" in the UK may well be short-lived. 

Whilst the Chancellor was busy performing U-turns during his Autumn Statement this week, there was no respite for buy-to-let investors who remain firmly in his sights.  The Chancellor's announcement of a 3% stamp duty levy on non-primary residences - specifically buy-to-let investments and second homes - appears to have caught many by surprise and comes on the back of July's changes to mortgage tax relief.  Residential landlords are understandably up in arms, but there is also a growing consensus that a hike in SDLT is an incredibly blunt instrument to deal with a complex set of housing market issues.  Research from JLL shows that over the past year there were 110,000 buy-to-let transactions compared to nearly 1.2 million housing transactions across the UK.  Looked at in this context, whilst a proportion of the buy-to-let market may pare back next year, the impact on pricing overall looks likely to be pretty minimal.  The only material change will be in the cost of renting, as set-upon landlords pass on some of the pain!

Airbus could be on course to develop a new generation of passenger aircraft after filing a patent this week that features "detachable cabins".  If the design concept takes off, passengers in the future will board the cabin (now referred to as a "pod") before this pod is then lifted into position and fixed onto the waiting aircraft.  The aircraft designers believe that the detachable cabin will speed up travel times and crucially reduce the immobilisation time of aircraft on the ground - as passengers can be pre-seated before the plane actually arrives!  Crucially for the airlines, this reduces fuel consumption and operational cost.  The concept is indeed revolutionary, but we worry that flyers of a nervous disposition may prefer to board an aircraft that is demonstrably in one piece prior to take-off!  Certainly the idea of boarding something resembling a comfortable shipping container and hoping for the best may take some getting used to!

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