Good month for Manchester… Northern powerhouse Manchester has seen an increase in new shops opening in the period from January to July 2017, according to figures from PwC and the Local Data Company. The news bucks the national trend of shops closing, as Manchester saw the opening of 30 new stores with just nine closures—the biggest positive change in North West towns and cities. Kendal, Lytham St. Annes, Blackpool, Preston, Leigh and Accrington also experienced more openings than closures. The types of shops in the North West opening fastest during this period were satellite TV equipment services, fast food outlets, sports equipment and clothing stores, health clubs and tobacconists. Bad month for Uber… Technology company Uber lost its appeal against a ruling that its drivers are legally classified as workers and are not self-employed. At the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the company argued that they are drivers’ agents and refer passengers via the Uber app before taking payment, rather than being a ‘gig economy’ employer. For Uber drivers in the UK, this means that their true employment status is that of a ‘worker’ and that they should have worker rights. This includes the minimum wage and the right to take paid holidays, minimum rest breaks and working time rights. As a result, Uber will likely face back pay claims from its drivers. This will not be the last we hear of the Uber case. On the 5th of December 2017, Uber's application to send the case straight to the Supreme Court was refused.