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Retail round up - The Sunday papers

Theo quits board of La Senza, Lovefilm put up for sale, G8 meeting claims signs of stabilisation, Tesco figures set to rise but trails rivals, Iceland Foods to create thousands of jobs, Mike Ashley to open discount store in the West End


Retail round up - The Sunday papers

Theo quits board of La Senza, Lovefilm put up for sale, G8 meeting claims signs of stabilisation, Tesco figures set to rise but trails rivals, Iceland Foods to create thousands of jobs, Mike Ashley to open discount store in the West End

The Sunday Times
Theo Paphitis has quit the board of La Senza, the lingerie chain, after a bust-up with its private-equity group owner, Lion Capital. It is believed the star of BBC’s Dragons’ Den resigned from the board on June 1 after differences of opinion over how the business should be run. Paphitis had only returned to the helm in February after a boardroom clear-out that saw Rose Foster, its chief executive, leave. Full article.

Lloyds banking group will lose an estimated £450m on Admiral Taverns, the pub giant, in what is believed to be one of the biggest write-offs it will be forced to take on a single investment. The group’s Bank of Scotland arm had lent more than £850m to Admiral, owner of more than 2,000 pubs, to finance a string of acquisitions. But because of the market downturn, pub values have been slashed. The estate is now thought to be worth less than £500m and the bank is sounding out potential buyers of its debt. Full article.

The online DVD rental firm Lovefilm has been put up for sale for an estimated £200m, which could provide a £14m windfall for the company’s management. The business has grown rapidly since its inception six years ago and has recently received a number of bid approaches. It has hired Jefferies, the investment bank, to advise on these and work on a possible sale. Lovefilm, with 1.2m members, has become the market leader in mail-order film rental. It has bought out most of its rivals, including a deal last year to acquire the European rentals operations of Amazon, the internet retailer, for £63m. Full article.

Gaming giant Gala Coral is trying to raise £200m of fresh funding to help it through a looming cash crunch. The company, owner of a string of bingo halls and casinos as well as Coral, the bookmaker, wants to free up cash to invest in the business. It has asked Lazard, the investment bank, to come up with a plan. A partial debt-for-equity swap could be one option. Another would be for existing investors to inject more money into the group. While trading is reasonable, debt obligations will not allow it to access the £200m it has in the bank. Full article

Finance ministers from the G8 economies meeting in Italy yesterday claimed there were “signs of stabilisation” in the global economy, but said recovery prospects were uncertain. Though the G8 discussed so-called exit strategies from the unprecedented measures to prop-up banking systems and lift economies out of recession, no agreement was reached. Alistair Darling, the chancellor, told the meeting that the priority for the coming months should be to ensure that any signs of recovery are nurtured. He repeated his view that Britain’s economy will begin to grow before the end of the year. A senior Treasury official said “2009 is all about shoulder to the wheel, not taking our eye off the ball and maintaining the momentum for reform on financial regulation”. Full article

The Sunday Telegraph
Tesco is set to show sales growth is picking up as the retailer stepped up its efforts to weather tough consumer spending conditions and fight off competition from rivals Sainsbury, Asda and Morrisons. Tesco's like-for like sales are next week expected to show a 3.5pc rise in the 13 weeks to May 30, accelerating from a 2.7pc increase in the final quarter of last year. Rival Sainsbury is expected to report a sales climb of 6.4pc. That is also an increase on the final quarter of last year, when Sainsburys sales rose 6.2pc. Full article

The Observer
Tesco is likely to face fresh questions about its strategy next week as it reveals sales growth figures that trail those of its biggest rivals.The UK's biggest supermarket is expected to report like-for-like sales growth over the past three months - excluding fuel and VAT - of some 4.3%.Its growth is ahead of the final quarter of its last financial year, but barely half that of rivals Asda and Morrisons, which recently unveiled growth of 8.4% and 8.2% respectively. Full article

British hotels are grappling with the worst trading conditions for 30 years with room rates plummeting and operators slashing prices to attract customers, according to the latest research by accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers. Whitbread, the leisure company, is due to update investors this week amid fears that its budget chain Premier Inn is being hit hard by the slump. Full article

Financial Times Sat / Sun
George Davies is known among his peers as a man who always speaks his mind and acts on his convictions, regardless of the controversy it may cause. But since quitting Marks and Spencer for good in 2008 – he briefly resigned in a fit of pique after a row with Sir Stuart Rose in 2005 – the designer has kept a very low profile.However, in his first interview since leaving M&S, Mr Davies has expressed concerns that Sir Stuart’s handling of Per Una “is killing the brand identity”.Full article

Iceland Foods expects to create 3,500 jobs across the UK through the planned opening of 20 new stores this year and the acquisition of 51 former Woolworths outlets. The company, which owns the chain of 663 Iceland stores and 45 Cooltrader outlets, said it had up to 30 new stores in the pipeline “to continue our ambitious opening programme into 2010”. Full article

The Mail on Sunday
Pasties are emerging as an unlikely healthy option in the world of fast food. And it has helped the West Cornwall Pasty Company to a 25 per cent surge in sales this year. The company plans to open 14 more stores, taking its total to 70.
Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has opened a discount warehouse in the former home of Burberry in London’s West End. The store, plastered with signs for Nike, adidas, Puma and Lonsdale goods going for as little as £1, is set to infuriate the Crown Estste, which blocked a bid by TK Maxx to open a store in nearby Piccadilly Circus, where Ashley’s Liilywhites store is also holding a massive sale.

The Retail Loss Prevention Summit 2009 - Free to attend for retailers

Companies including Argos, Borders, the Co-Operative, Jaeger, Mothercare and Staples are among those who will be sharing their insights with delegates at the Retail Loss Prevention Summit to be held on 9th September.

The conference will offer a mix of sessions including keynotes, case studies, interactive panel discussions and Q & A sessions as well as an interactive workshops. The event will enable delegates to benchmark their retail loss prevention strategies and share ideas to enable increased profits through minimising losses from customers and staff both in store and online.

The Summit, organised by The Retail Bulletin and sponsored by retail technology specialist Torex, has been developed to help retailers reduce the £3.8bn that they lose to theft or spend on security every year. The event will explore some of the issues surrounding technology, staff and collaboration that are essential to successful loss prevention strategies.

'Those companies which are not investing in long term planning and technology to fight losses are at risk of finding a major dent in their bottom lines,' says The Retail Bulletin editor Matthew Valentine. 'It is especially important now, amid the most challenging economic climate for many years, to have a clear loss prevention policy and the best tactics available if retailers want to maintain their margins.'

The Retail Loss Prevention Summit will investigate how theft by both customers and staff, in-store and online, can be detected and prevented. IT solutions and stocktaking systems will be analysed, as will effective use of the available law.
The Venue, Reigate Hill Golf Club and Conference Centre, is conveniently located just three minutes from junction 8 of the M25 with local railway stations just 25 minutes from London Victoria. Set in acres of mature parkland this is the perfect setting for a relaxed yet inspiring summit. With 'room to breathe', delegates will have an enjoyable and informative day.

The Summit is free to attend for retailers and full details can be found HERE.

For sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities please contact Dave Cocking - or call 0115 948 1024

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