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Retail round up – The Sunday papers

Al-Fayed's back: online, Critics line up as alcohol giant funds health campaign, Jamie cooks up a new chain, Best Buy set to shelve plans for advance on Europe, Majestic performance: Wine chain sees double, Tesco in bid to build stable of global brands, Battered retailers appeal for ‘storm’ aid


Retail round up – The Sunday papers

The Independent on Sunday

Mohamed al-Fayed is to return to shopping with a new online retail empire. The Fulham FC chairman and former Harrods owner is in talks to buy the online fashion business, Cocosa, from Bauer Media – which owns Grazia magazine and Kiss radio station. Cocosa, a private membership fashion website set up in 2008, has more than 400,000 members. It sells luxury brands at discount prices to its members. Mr Fayed sold his Harrods business for £1.5bn to Qatar Holdings last year. If talks are successful to buy Cocosa, he will use the business as the launch pad for his online retail empire.

The drinks giant Diageo is to bankroll a scheme to alert midwives and expectant mothers to the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. The multinational brewer behind Guinness has pledged more than £4m to a training programme run by the National Organisation on Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. Under the plan, which launches today, Diageo will put its name to the education of 10,000 midwives and 1.3 million pregnant women over the next three years. Diageo, which has signed up to the proposal as part of the Health Secretary's controversial responsibility deal, last night denied criticism that it was a "promotional exercise".


The Sunday Times

Jamie Oliver is cooking up another assault on the high street with plans for a chain of restaurants called Union Jack’s. Oliver is understood to be encouraged by the success of Jamie’s Italian, which opened three years ago. It now has 18 branches, with another five to open in the next few months. Sales were £19m in 2009, according to the most recent publicly available accounts.

Best Buy is close to putting its European expansion plans on ice just over a year after the American electricals retailer opened its first “big box” store in Britain. The chain, which promised to shake up the market, is reviewing its future after a sharp downturn in demand for consumer electronics including flat-screen televisions and stereo systems.

Majestic Wine will unveil plans to double its number of stores when it pops the corks on a sparkling set of annual profits.  Steve Lewis, the chain’s chief executive, is confident the business can expand to more than 300 stores over the next few years, from 165 today.


Mail on Sunday

Tesco has secretly registered a growing number of exclusive names for its own products in an ambitious scheme to build a massive stable of global brands. The group has seized on the rights to names destined to be on products as diverse as hand tissues, drinks and electrical products. The list illustrates the depth of chief executive Philip Clarke's ambition to develop Tesco's own products. In some cases they will be many times more lucrative than its existing own-label ranges.

Self-help measures already taken by desperate shop owners on the High Street need to be be urgently bolstered by Government, a report due tomorrow will urge. Figures to be published by the British Independent Retailers Association will show that although the rapid rate of decline over the past two years has begun to slow, the estimated 330,000 stores operated by family firms and small businesses are still closing at a faster rate than shops are opening.

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