Retail round The Sunday Papers
Signet in talks on possible sale of UK arm, England 'drought' could force up food prices warns farming minister, American Eagle Outfitters plans to get talons into UK market, Jaeger begins its invasion of Russian malls, Online retailer Naked Wines strips out the middleman
Signet, the world's largest jewellery retailer, is in the early stages of exploring a sale of its UK arm. The Sunday Telegraph understands that Lazard has been sounding out a number of private equity buyers about their potential interest in the business, which owns H Samuel and Ernest Jones. Although there can be no certainty at this stage that a sale will take place, it is known that at least two institutions have been approached as possible acquirers. Although Lazard is one of Signet's long-standing advisers, it is thought it has recently been given a specific mandate to ascertain what sort of price Signet UK might achieve. The process is known to be in its very early stages, and it remains the case that Signet's board may decide to hold on to the UK arm following these tentative approaches to potential buyers.
The continuing dry weather in eastern England could damage crops and lead to increased food prices, Jim Paice, the agriculture minister, has warned. Mr Paice told Channel 4 news: "I fear this drought, which has gone on for a long while now, is likely to run some time longer. There is no real forecast of change for eastern England. "I am afraid the consequences are already in place. Already we are going to see significant reductions in yield, which could well lead on to some problems with food supplies and indeed food prices."
Independent on Sunday
The US fashion retailer American Eagle Outfitters is planning to make a swoop into London. The $2.9bn (£1.3bn) retailer, which is listed in New York, is reviewing its international expansion and is to make a play for the UK. American Eagle Outfitters targets 15 to 25-year-olds and has more than 1,000 stores in the US and Canada. The US has been the source of a flood of new fashion names to the UK high street and shopping centres – a welcome boost when some established UK names have been closing shops. Last year saw the launch of the Los Angeles-based Forever 21 in Birmingham and Dublin, and this year its doors will open in Oxford Street and Stratford in London, and later on in Glasgow. It plans up to 100 stores in the UK.
Mail on Sunday
Upmarket fashion brand Jaeger has opened its first two stores in Russia and is looking into other overseas targets, including Asia. The premium label has opened in Moscow’s Metropolis mega-mall and in the luxury Vremena Goda Mall. Chief executive Belinda Earl said: ‘This is the right time and is a very exciting development for Jaeger.’ The stores stock the Jaeger London, Jaeger Black and Boutique by Jaeger collections. The chain expects to open two more stores this autumn in the Russian cities of Ekaterinburg and Rostov-on-Don. Additional openings will follow in Moscow and St Petersburg.
Online retailer Naked Wines this week launches a scheme to put winemakers directly in touch with wine drinkers. Through its online Marketplace, winemakers will be able to pitch their wines direct to the company’s 150,000 members at a price the producers decide . For example, they may offer to sell a £20 wine for £15 a bottle, provided 1,000 people buy a case. Customers can then choose whether to agree. If they say no, winemakers can offer an alternative price. For example, they may offer to sell the same wine for £12, but only if 5,000 people buy a case. To keep costs down, Norwich-based Naked Wines will take just ten per cent of the commission compared with the usual 40 per cent to 65 per cent.
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