Costing a cool £1m, this 24-carat gold Darth Vader mask was made to mark the franchise’s fortieth anniversary ©PA Images
Costing a cool £1m, this 24-carat gold Darth Vader mask was made to mark the franchise’s fortieth anniversary ©PA Images

Turkey's wall, a gold Darth Vader mask and ironic work - the supply chain week in numbers

27 April 2017

Election spending, Johnson & Johnson court cases and crop-spraying drones feature in this week's supply chain in numbers.  


The year the first Star Wars was released. To mark the 40th anniversary of the seminal sci-fi franchise, Tokyo jeweller Ginza Tanaka has created a life-sized solid gold mask of Darth Vader – an object of desire that would only set aficionadoes back £1m. The 24-carat mask, weighing 15kg, commemorating one of the cinema’s most charismatic villains, has probably already earned the Japanese company more than £1m in free publicity. You might find £1m a bit steep but it’s cheaper than Ginza Tanaka’s life-sized replica of Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi’s left-foot, which was priced at a mere £3.5m.



The length of the completed section of the wall Turkey is building along its border with Syria. The wall consists of 14-tonne modular concrete blocks, topped with 60cm of razor wire and will, when completed this autumn, feature 67 reinforced defensive towers, 67 watchtowers and 100km of illuminated sections. The finished wall will seal off the entire 911km border between Turkey and its war-torn neighbour. Killian Kleinschmitt, founder of humanitarian consultancy Switxboard, says that similar barriers along Syria’s borders with Lebanon and Jordan have stopped the flow of refugees and “made the country into a very big prison.”



The amount raised by the Liberal Democrats in just two days of this general election campaign. Given that the party only spent £4m in its campaign in 2015 – including £80,767 on leader Nick Clegg’s battle bus – this is a significant sum for the party, now led by Tim Fallon. In other election news, the tentative decision by Nigel Farage not to stand for Parliament may save UKIP the £6,363 it had to spend on his bodyguards.



The minimum number of trials Johnson & Johnson is facing in American federal and state courts over alleged product defects. The pharmaceutical giant is said to be facing 100,000 claims and, in 2016, suffered six of the year’s heaviest product defect verdicts, including a $1bn award to six plaintiffs who said they had been injured by its Pinnacle hip implants. Johnson & Johnson has appealed that verdict but also faces suits alleging that its blood thinner Xarelto causes uncontrolled bleeding and that antipsychotic drug Risperdal causes boys to develop breasts.


10 minutes

The time it takes a dozen drones to spray an orchard with pesticides in northern China. This is ten times as fast as it would take manual labour to complete the same task – and costs $145 less. Dajiang, one of China’s leading drone makers, says there are 200 companies selling these devices to farmers, many of whom have trouble finding workers.



The number of store closures that have already been announced in the US this year, according to Credit Suisse. Based on this data, the bank predicts that 8,640 outlets will have shut in America by the end of 2017 – 39.5% higher than in 2008, the start of the great recession. This would amount to the loss of 60,000 jobs – 7,000 more than are employed in America’s entire coal industry – as bricks and mortar retailers struggle to compete with e-commerce.



The cost of jeans, splashed with fake mud, being sold at US retailer Nordstrom. The straight-legged Barracuda jeans come caked and crackled with fake mud (which withstands washing) and are being marketed as a piece of Americana by New York label PRPS, even though they are being made in Portugal from Japanese denim. If you’re wondering who would spend £350 on such clothing, the label says they are designed to appeal to wealthy consumers who “see work as ironic”.

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