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Retail round up - The Sunday papers.

Warning of 'sharp interest rate rise' in 2012, House of Fraser to bring back iconic Biba, Two more on board at LoveFilm as it considers flotation plans, Drinks industry at war over tax, Fitness First tones up accounts to get ready for £1.5bn flotation, Wagamama goes up for auction, Economy suffers slowdown as double dip looms, Tim Waterstone poised to regain book chain, Indian workers at factory linked to Marks & Spencer say they were beaten...


Retail round up - The Sunday papers.

Warning of 'sharp interest rate rise' in 2012, House of Fraser to bring back iconic Biba, Two more on board at LoveFilm as it considers flotation plans, Drinks industry at war over tax, Fitness First tones up accounts to get ready for £1.5bn flotation, Wagamama goes up for auction, Economy suffers slowdown as double dip looms, Tim Waterstone poised to regain book chain, Indian workers at factory linked to Marks & Spencer say they were beaten...

The Telegraph.
The Bank of England is this week set to hold interest rates at 0.5pc, with a growing expectation that when rates do start to rise they will do so quickly. The decision on Thursday should mark the 18th consecutive month of unchanged rates, as the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) weighs up the risk of a faltering economic recovery against the prospect of high inflation.MPC members, including Bank governor Mervyn King, have repeatedly stated that although the committee would feel much more comfortable were it able to take rates back to more "normal" levels, now is not the time to do so. Full article here.

House of Fraser, the department store retailer, will this week relaunch Biba, the iconic 1960s clothing and homeware brand that it bought last November.The Biba brand will launch in the retailer's store on London's Oxford Street on Wednesday and at other stores in the UK the following day. Daisy Lowe, the model, will be the face of the brand. It will sell womenswear and accessories.The relaunch comes at the end of a strong six months of trading for House of Fraser. According to figures seen by The Sunday Telegraph, like-for-like sales over the six months to the end of July increased by 8.4pc at the retailer. Full article here

LoveFilm, the internet DVD rental specialist, has appointed two new directors in a move designed to strengthen its board ahead of a possible float. The London-based company, in which Amazon owns a 32pc stake, is understood to be seriously considering a stock market IPO, which could value it at more than £200m.The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that the company has appointed Kristian Segerstrale, chief executive of Playfish, and Roland Steindorf, the former head of Kabel Deutschland, as non-executive directors. Full article here.

Brewers have launched a furious backlash against Diageo's drinks tax proposals, branding them a "ruse" to make spirits relatively cheaper and calling for the Smirnoff-to-Guinness giant to be thrown out of the beer industry's trade body. Diageo owns eight of the world's top 20 premium spirit brands but is also Britain's third biggest on-trade brewer via Guinness and a member of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).Its decision earlier this week to call for equivalence across all alcohol taxes in a move that would see beer duty rise has brought condemnation. Full article here.

The Independent.
Fitness First, the privately owned gym giant, is revamping its accounts to meet international standards this year, a signal that the Dorset-based group will press ahead with its £1.5bn flotation. Its auditor, Deloitte, will now use international financial reporting standards (IFRS) in its results for the year ending 31 October 2010. Listed firms must use the standards when they report results.Despite the recent postponement of the listing of rival Virgin Active and some chatter that Fitness First's private-equity owner, BC Partners, would consider an outright sale, it is still keen to list in Asia in 2011 or 2012. Banking advisers, who would co-ordinate the listing, are expected to be appointed by the end of the year. Full article here

The £250m auction of the Wagamama noodle chain will kick off next week when potential bidders receive information on the sale of the business.Rothschild, an adviser to Lion Capital – the private equity firm that is the majority owner – has put the finishing touches to the information memorandum. First-round bids are due by the end of the month. It is three years since Lion turned down a bid of £210m, which it believed undervalued the business. Full article here.

Economists fear the dangers of a double-dip recession are "growing alarmingly" after the release of the latest "grim" survey of business confidence in the service sector, and evidence of collapsing order books in the construction industry. As the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee prepares to meet for its next session next week, the news adds to the pressure on the Bank to resume its programme of "quantitative easing", the direct injection of money into the economy.

The Observer
Tim Waterstone, the founder of the books chain that bears his name, is considering a £100m-plus bid to take the chain private if the parent company, HMV, fails to turn the business around by the new year.Well-placed City sources say Waterstone is closely monitoring developments at the bookshops, where sales and profits have plunged under HMV's ownership. HMV's chief executive, Simon Fox, is to update the City this week on trading at the group's operations as rebel shareholders push for a sale following the bungled opening of a new centralised distribution hub in Burton upon Trent. Full article here.

Workers at an Indian factory used by Marks & Spencer claim they have been beaten up while protesting about poor working conditions. The Viva Global factory in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of Delhi, was exposed last month by an Observer investigation for paying workers as little as 26p an hour and forcing them to work excessive overtime.Relations between workers and management have since deteriorated to the extent that one worker and union leader filed a complaint with police claiming he had been kidnapped and beaten up. Others have also claimed to have suffered mistreatment while protesting about working conditions.M&S says it has now dropped the company for "commercial" reasons, but has remained in contact attempting to resolve the disputes. It denies that workers have suffered intimidation. Full article here.


The Retail Bulletins 2nd  Multichannel Retail Summit 2011 launched

Following on from last year’s highly successful inaugural summit, The Retail Bulletin has launched their 2011 event, moving to a bigger venue and central London location.

It is now even more vital for retailers to make multichannel part of the culture of their business. They must engage their customers through a variety of different channels to increase sales and delight the customer with a seamless customer experience however they choose to shop.

And of course, the customer’s purchase is not the only aspect of the operation. Supply chain efficiency, CRM, customer insight, social media, conversion, return on investment all play an important part in the bigger picture. The Retail Bulletin’s Multichannel Summit 2011, sponsored by k3, will cover these issues and much more at the Cavendish Conference Centre, London on February 2nd 2011. With an impressive line-up of speakers already confirmed, this is an event you should not miss.

Confirmed speakers so far include Simon Russell, Head of Multi-Channel, John Lewis, Simon Forster, Director responsible, for, Fergus Boyd, Acting Head of eBusiness, Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd, Simon Harrow, Technology Officer, Kiddicare, Mark Hodgkinson, Director of Digital and Financial Services,, Rob, Jones, General Manager -Online, Harvey Nichols, Brian, Curran, Head of Group Direct Marketing & Publishing , Mothercare, Rod , Anthony, eCommerce R&D Manager, Aurora Fashions, Amanda Hepburn, UK Content & Communities Manager, Game Group, Steve,  Wind-Mozley, Ecommerce Director, Game Group, Antony , Smith, Head of CRM, Gala Coral Group

This interactive event will examine how retailers can maximise profits and market share through cost effective, seamless, integrated multichannel strategies.  Whether you are a retailer with one shop or website looking to add new channels or an established multichannel player looking to for new ways to maximise revenues and engage your customers, then this is the conference for you. To view the programme and register click here

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