New Years Day Retail Round up - The Sunday Papers
1 January 2012 | by The Retail Bulletin
Hot Tuna finds annual sales have cooled. Hot Tuna, the embattled surfwear brand, reported heavier losses after annual sales halved. Underlying losses were £862,000 in the year to June 30 after sales fell £207,000.The company, founded in Australia in 1969, had already warned in November that sales had not met targets and the business was unlikely to be able to stay afloat throughout 2012. It announced a plan to sell its brand and assets, leaving a cash shell on the stock market.
Thousands face new year job cuts on high street. More than 8,000 shop workers are entering the new year with the prospect of losing their jobs. Hawkin’s Bazaar has fallen into administration, while more than 1,600 workers at the Barratts Priceless shoe chain were made redundant. In the past ten days alone, high street failures have cost, or threaten to cost, the jobs of 8,300 staff. La Senza has filed notice of intent to appoint administrators, while D2, the fashion chain, went into administration earlier in the week.
West End stores defy economic gloom thanks to Chinese tourists. Country's financial boom has fuelled runaway demand for luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel, The cold economic wind sweeping Britain's shopping centres has yet to reach London's West End, which remains an oasis of prosperity. The influx of high-rolling Chinese shoppers has helped luxury stores beat the gloom. Upmarket department store Selfridges said Chinese tourists were behind an 80% increase in VAT-free international sales last year as the capital cemented its reputation as a magnet for well-heeled fashion tourists.
High street braces for wave of failures as La Senza closes 80 shops. Analysts predict up to 40,000 could lose jobs as lingerie chain joins list of those struggling to contain their debts. KPMG, which is working on an emergency rescue for La Senza, announced this weekend that more than 80 of its stores would close, which is likely to result in many hundreds of layoffs. La Senza's website showed a list of branches destined for the chop, including those in major cities such as Bristol, Cambridge and Edinburgh
Bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland controls the fate of many British firms. HMV, Peacocks and Clinton Cards are just some of the firms owned by taxpayer-controlled RBS, which holds the future of thousands of jobs.Royal Bank of Scotland, Britain's taxpayer-controlled bank, will face a flood of tough decisions in 2012 over whether to seize ownership or pull the plug on a host of British employers that are struggling to meet their borrowing commitments. Among the larger firms whose future could turn on the continued support of RBS are high-street chains HMV, Peacocks and Clinton Cards. Also on the watch list are Premier Foods, maker of Bisto, Angel Delight and Hovis; tour operator Thomas Cook.
More than 40 travel agencies crashed in 2011 thanks to downturn and disasters. Arab spring, Thai floods and online bookings add to industry problems.The economic downturn, natural disasters and the Arab spring have combined with surging internet bookings to force 41 UK travel agents into bankruptcy during 2011, research reveals. The woeful year for the sector has worsened the deficit for the compensation pot that protects holidaymakers when operators collapse. The Air Travel Trust (ATT) Fund is £42.3m in deficit, a 33% increase on last year.
2012 could be 'disastrous' for retail sector, warn analysts. More shop closures and failures are predicted amid weak consumer spending and the continued march of the internet.The high street reckoning will continue into 2012 amid a toxic cocktail of weak consumer spending and structural change. In 2011, it may have seemed as if an entire shopping parade's worth of chains disappeared. But with little or no sales growth predicted in 2012 and competition from the internet and supermarkets intensifying, the bell is ringing for "round two of retail Darwinism", says Bryan Roberts, retail analyst at Kantar Worldpanel.
Year's end brings fresh job fears for high-street workers. Close scrutiny of Christmas trading figures will decide the fate of many struggling chain stores. Thousands of retail jobs come under threat this week, in what will be the high street's most critical period of 2012. After a festive bloodbath, which saw Barratts, the shoe chain, axe 1,610 jobs, the Tobar Group, owner of Hawkin's Bazaar, appoint administrators, and La Senza, the lingerie chain, prepare to follow suit, other high-street names could be pushed over the edge.
Clinton Cards boss to refurbish stores and supply lines. Darcy Willson-Rymer, the chief executive of embattled high street favourite Clinton Cards, is looking at revamping shop layouts and streamlining supply lines as part of his strategic review. Mr Willson-Rymer, who will this week issue a trading update on what has been a bleak Christmas for the high street, believes the shops are dated and that the way cards and gifts reach stores is inefficient.
Savile Row's Boateng plans £150m expansion. Mr Boateng has held talks with banks and institutional investors about the plans, which could see a £150m investment by 2016.Each store launch will cost £1.5m on average and will be planned and funded under a joint-venture or franchise model.The move will be a major boost for the UK's luxury brand sector. Mr Boateng runs his successful retail business from his menswear shop on Savile Row, London, and played a significant role in revolutionising men's fashion when he first launched in the 1990s.
High street struggles despite heavy discounting by retailers.Key December retail figures will show a real terms decrease in sales revenue despite the huge crowds flocking to snap up post-Christmas discounts last week.New figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to be published this week will show that, despite significant increases in Christmas footfall, aggressive discounting and extended opening hours, retailers' December revenues failed to beat 2010's weak figures.The BRC's Richard Dodd said December 2011 sales figures are likely to show a modest increase in "cash terms" on December 2010, but they "won't have beaten the impact of inflation", putting more pressure on beleaguered shops which had pinned their hopes on a seasonal sales boost.
Mail on Sunday
Hopes rise on the High Street as John Lewis reports 'cracking' December trading. John Lewis is poised to report ‘cracking’ December trading figures on Tuesday, raising hopes for other High Street giants.Spending in the four weeks before Christmas was better than expected after a ‘particularly slow’ November, Andy Street, managing director of the department store chain, told Financial Mail yesterday. Street said he believed that John Lewis had outperformed the High Street.
Ocado in fiasco after Christmas deliveries leave online shoppers furious. Ocado has again angered some of its customers after it released highly prized delivery slots just two days before Christmas.The release of additional Christmas Eve delivery times on December 23 infuriated customers who had settled for less convenient slots.The fiasco comes after Ocado was forced to issue a profits warning on the Monday before Christmas.
£300,000 for one share. Allders' boss is ahead of a retail restructuring trend. Harold Tillman has enjoyed years of success at Jaeger, one of the top fashion chains on the High Street, but there are times when even the smartest businessmen have to come up with radical solutions to stay ahead. Just days before Christmas, his Allders department store in Croydon, south London, filed documents with Companies House that revealed that Hong Kong-based supplier Regent Trading Limited has agreed to cancel a £300,000 debt in return for one share.
LVMH Asian offshoot keeps an eye on Watches of Switzerland. The Asian private equity arm of French luxury giant LVMH, L Capital Asia, is understood to have expressed an interest in buying Aurum Group, owner of Watches of Switzerland. Aurum, which declined to comment, was put up for sale last April and sources say several parties remain interested in the firm, owned by failed Icelandic bank Landsbanki.
Bridal wellington boot company going from strength to strength. The founder of Weddington Boots By Vicki Owen launched her firm last January after realising that brides were having difficulty finding wellies for outdoor weddings. Now she is rapidly expanding her range of ivory Wellington boots to meet demand. ‘When you are walking across a lawn you don’t want your white satin shoes stained from where you have been sinking in the mud,’ says Jen Hewlett.
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