Retail round up - The Sunday papers
The Sunday Telegraph
David Tyler, an experienced retailer with strong finance credentials, has been chosen to become the next chairman of supermarket group J Sainsbury.He will take over from Sir Philip Hampton who earlier this year signalled he would relinquish the role in order to focus on his position as chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland where he is playing a crucial role in turning around the business. Mr Tyler has been seen as front-runner for the Sainsbury’s role for some time after another potential candidate John Peace opted to take the chair of banking group Standard Chartered. Sainsbury’s, which has undergone a renaissance under highly-rated chief executive Justin King, is shortly expected to make a formal announcement on the long-awaited appointment. Full article here.
One of the biggest shareholders in JJB Sports, the retail chain, has welcomed an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) into alleged cartel activity between JJB and its rival Sports Direct.David Herro, chief investment officer at Harris Associates, the Chicago-based fund that owns 14.6pc of JJB's shares, said it is "about time" there is a probe into JJB's relationship with Sports Direct. He said that a series of deals between the two chains damaged shareholder value at JJB.The probe, which was announced last week, focuses on the period from June 8, 2007, to March 25, 2009, when Chris Ronnie was chief executive of JJB. Mr Ronnie was a former associate of Sports Direct's founder Mike Ashley, and the two men are thought to have remained close.Mr Herro said that various dealings between the two companies during this period warrant inspection. Full article here.
Robert Dyas,the hardware chain, has secured its future after agreeing a debt-for-equity swap that hands a majority stake in the business to its lenders.The 99-store chain has also appointed former Kingfisher and Allied Carpets director Geoff Brady as its chairman.The retailer, which is based in Leatherhead and was bought by its management earlier this year, has arranged the refinancing agreement in order to more than halve its debt liabilities and radically reduce its annual borrowing costs.Its debts have now been reduced to £15m and annual borrowing costs cut by nearly £2m. In return Robert Dyas's lenders – Allied Irish and Lloyds Banking Group – have taken a majority stake in the chain. Despite this,they have not got a controlling interest in the retailer in terms of voting rights."The ability to secure new banking arrangements is a significant vote of confidence in the group and provides a firm footing from which to move forward," said Steven Round, Robert Dyas's chief executive. Full article here.
The Walt Disney Company, the US entertainment giant, has signed a deal with the City of London, Oxford Street and Regent Street to provide this year’s Christmas lights across the capital.Illuminations in the three areas will be themed around Disney’s new film version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which will have its world premiere in London on the evening of Tuesday, November 3, when the lights will be turned on simultaneously.The film, which stars Jim Carrey and Bob Hoskins and is directed by Back To The Future’s Robert Zemeckis, uses ground-breaking 3-D technology and is expected to be one of this Christmas’s biggest box office hits. Full article here.
The Sunday Times
George Davies, the founder of Next, has ploughed £20m of his own money into a new fashion chain called Give, which aims to offer affordable luxury on the high street.He hopes the chain will shake up high-street retailing by offering in-store style advisers and tailors to help customers create individual looks.Davies, who also founded George at Asda and Per Una for Marks & Spencer, hopes to give 5%-10% of profits to charity. Full article here.
Tennis in Britain set to get £405m boost thanks to the emergence of champion Andy Murray as a potential Grand Slam winner.The emergence of British tennis champion Andy Murray as a potential Grand Slam winner, the redevelopment of Wimbledon, and the forthcoming ATP Tour Finals will all make the sport more popular, according to a study by Barclays and the University of Liverpool.The tennis economy is already worth £1.27 billion, ranking it in the top-five sports behind football, horse racing and golf, but the “Murray effect” has increased spending on every element of the sport from equipment to advertising and sponsorship.Spending has also risen because the game has become more of a year-round sport, thanks to media coverage from the Australian Open in January all the way to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London in November.
The Independent on Sunday
GMAC Commercial Finance, the lender that helped to pull the plug on Woolworths when it collapsed last year, is quitting the British market as GMAC Financial Services, its parent company, looks to sell off its lending book.The unit that lends to companies such as Jaeger, the women's fashion chain, and glass-maker Pilkington, has been put up for sale in recent weeks as returns from the sector have declined. A £235m book of assets lent to about 200 clients is being sold off and could fetch as much as £300m, sources familiar with the sale process have said. Full article here.
The high street is the focus of this week's reports.Next, the fashion-to-homeware retailer, will announce pre-tax profits of around £180m, up 5 per cent on last year. Debenhams, which will publish an update on Tuesday showing a 5 per cent fall in sales, is still expected to announce a full year pre-tax profit of £121m. And B&Q's parent, Kingfisher, will publish interim results on Thursday which will show a strong rebound with profits of roughly £350m.
John Lewis is trialling a new "click and collect" service which could allow shoppers to order goods from the store's website and pick them up at any of sister company Waitrose's 213 supermarkets, as part of a bid to increase sales from JohnLewis.com.Click and collect services, where goods are ordered online and picked up from a store, are internet retailers' fastest-growing trend. Argos last week reported its Click & Reserve service was up 50% on last year.John Lewis has only 26 stores – making pick-ups more difficult. The new link with Waitrose is being trialled in Hexham and Tonbridge. Full article here.
The Co-op, which boasts about its ethical credentials, has been accused by farmers of making "unreasonable" demands and flexing its market muscle in the wake of its £1.6bn takeover of Somerfield. The grocer is said to have asked for "guaranteed" 50% margins and a longer payment window, prompting one large grower to seek advice from both the National Farmers' Union (NFU) and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).According to the NFU, recent negotiations with the Co-operative Group have caused "widespread dissatisfaction" among fresh produce suppliers, who fear their products could be discounted in the regular price wars that occur in the sector and that they would have to foot the bill. Full article here.
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