Retail round up The Sunday Papers
Unilever chief warns over global crisis in food output, Burberry set for winter sales lift, Investors await news from pubs and shops, Coffee Republic designs a revival with Terence Conran, Last rural petrol stations will disappear, Vodafone is nearing £7bn sale, Sainsburys opens café on the high street
The chief executive of one of the world's largest food producers is to warn that the global crisis in food production is reaching "dangerous territory" with prices soaring and demand outstripping supply. In a speech on Tuesday, Paul Polman, the chief executive of Unilever, will say that market distortions created by European Union subsidies work against the needs of the developing world. He will also demand fewer subsidies for harmful first-generation bio-fuels and say that climate change must be tackled by companies changing to sustainable models of agriculture. In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph Mr Polman said that short-term speculators were also driving up prices. "One of the main things in food inflation is that it has attracted speculators for short-term profit at the expense of people living a dignified life," Mr Polman said. "It is difficult to understand if you want to work for the long-term interests of society."
While high street retailers are steeling themselves for a tough year as customers tighten their belts, Burberry is set to reveal a double-digit increase in revenue when it updates the market on third quarter trading on Tuesday. Analysts expect the London fashion house to post third quarter revenues, excluding Spanish operations, of £434m – up from £380m in the same period the previous year. As the wealthy regain the confidence to spend and customers in emerging markets develop a taste for luxury goods, Burberry has seen sales and profits spike over the past year. Many other luxury goods houses have seen similar increases.
Independent on Sunday
Beer sales will come into focus next week with updates from pub chain JD Wetherspoon and brewing giant SAB Miller. The industry has been hard hit by the recession and the VAT rise has sparked fears that more pubs could close. But, Wetherspoon is expected to have been resilient with offers such as 99p pints. Investors will also be keen to hear the latest retail news from Primark-owner Associated British Foods and Carphone Warehouse.
The high-street chain Coffee Republic, which collapsed into administration two years ago, aims to reinvent itself with Terence Conran-designed interiors, a fresh expansion programme and a revamped franchise structure under new Middle Eastern owners.
Coffee Republic will open a flagship cafe in London's Tottenham Court Road on Tuesday in the first stage of an effort to move away from financial problems that led to it building up £3m of debt in 2009, when the company's shares were delisted from the stock market and KPMG were brought in as administrators.
Mail on Sunday
Petrol stations in country areas will be a thing of the past by the end of the decade because soaring fuel prices will have forced them out of business, a leading motor industry body has predicted. Brian Madderson, chairman of the Retail Motor Industry Federation's petrol division, said that Britain's refuelling network was under grave threat. He predicted that 500 petrol retailers – the bulk of whom were in rural areas – would go out of business in the next 12 months with the loss of about 5,000 jobs.
Vodafone's sale of its 45% stake in French mobile network SFR for £7bn could take place as early as this month. Sources close to the situation say that French media giant Vivendi will have the cash from selling assets to buy up the remainder of SFR which it doesn't already own within weeks.
Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has opened its first takeaway cafe. The outlet in Central London could be the first of hundreds across the country – and experts fear they will heap yet more pressure on small, family-owned businesses and independent cafes in the High Street. Branded as The Fresh Kitchen, the Sainsbury’s takeaway sells sandwiches
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