Retail round up the Sunday papers
Supermarkets will be handed a profits windfall worth as much as £2.2bn if Government plans to impose a minimum alcohol price succeed, according to research. The potential bonanza for the big chains is likely to form the cornerstone of a major campaign by drinks manufacturers next month as the Government prepares to launch a consultation on controversial minimum unit pricing proposals. David Cameron unveiled plans in March to outlaw cheap drink in an effort to eradicate the “scourge” of binge-drinking.
Central London is bucking the retail gloom with increasing signs of optimism at the both the upper and budget ends of the market. Leading landlord the Cadogan Group, whose estate stretches across large parts of Chelsea including Sloane Square, has seen the value of its property hit a record high as a result of continued interest in the area. Meanwhile Primark, the budget fashion retailer owned by Associated British Foods, is this week set to open a second flagship store at the eastern end of London’s Oxford Street as demand for its discount clothes continues to rise.
Fashion retailer SuperGroup is set to become the latest British company to face a shareholder rebellion over pay. Institutional investors are understood to be concerned at the package offered to the retailer’s new chief operating officer, Susanne Given, who has been brought in by founder Julian Dunkerton. Ms Given will receive a base salary of £350,000 – larger than the £300,000 paid to Theo Karpathios, the former chief executive for wholesale and international – as well as a guaranteed share award of £900,000 and a guaranteed bonus for 2013 of £350,000.
Retailers claim consumers preferred to stay in and watch television rather than shop over the summer. Gloomy figures outlining the Olympic sales slump crushing the high street will emerge this week as retailers count the cost of shoppers engrossed by Team GB's record medal haul. Official numbers for August are likely to reveal an outright fall in retail sales volumes after slowing to a crawl in July, economists warn. The figures follow disappointing snapshots from the Confederation of British Industry and the British Retail Consortium for the month, and downbeat updates from the likes of fashion chain Next.
The Office of Fair Trading is expected to investigate any attempt by Sports Direct to snap up the 180 stores owned by JJB Sports, which is expected to file for administration later this week. Mike Ashley's sportswear giant is thought to be the favourite to acquire the remnants of JJB, though the Newcastle United owner is interested in fewer than 50 of the stores. Even with additional interest from JD Sports Fashion, it is considered likely that more than 100 shops will close, resulting in the loss of at least 2,000 jobs.
Mail on Sunday
Wine from Bulgaria might not enjoy the greatest reputation among discerning drinkers, but all those fond of a tipple or two at home might be tempted to raise a glass to the country today. The nation on the Black Sea has, at least temporarily, single-handedly derailed plans by the Scottish government to introduce minimum alcohol pricing, a move that would have seen drinks prices rise in retailers such as supermarkets and convenience stores. And its intervention comes as Westminster starts its own consultation on minimum pricing in England and Wales. Edinburgh’s own figures show that almost three-quarters of all alcohol sold in shops in Scotland would be more expensive if the unit price of 50p intended to combat alcohol abuse – described by First Minister Alex Salmond as one of the nation’s biggest demons – became law.
Amanda Wakeley, the fashion label whose clothes have been worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, has secured a multi-million pound investment from AGC Equity Partners. The funds will be used to develop Amanda Wakeley as a luxury lifestyle brand by creating new products and expanding its retail partnerships. It will put the company on a secure financial footing following a restructuring three years ago.
Hopes that consumers are being tempted back into shops by an easing in the increase in the cost of living could be dashed this week. While Tuesday’s inflation figures are expected to show that the rate of price rises declined in the year to August, this may prove a temporary respite ahead of another surge later in the autumn. George Buckley, economist with Deutsche Bank, said: ‘The Bank of England could be disappointed again by the end of the year.’ The Bank has said it expects the rise in the Consumer Prices Index to be near its two per cent target in early 2013.
Administrators to Scottish cashmere firm Dawson International are looking to recover £2million invoiced to customers, including Chanel. The company went into administration last month, forced under by a £117million pension deficit. At the time of its collapse, the business was due almost £800,000 from Chanel, according to a report to creditors by KPMG. Other clients included Turnbull & Asser, the Jermyn Street tailor, and Nordstrom, the department store chain. The company’s US knitwear business, Dawson Forte, has not appointed administrators.
As the London Fashion Week circus draws to a close this week, a brace of clothing retailers will be preparing to parade their latest collections of numbers to the City: and it looks as if there might be blood on the catwalk. On Wednesday, online retailer Asos will report on its summer trading, and French Connection will give an account for the half year. Asos is growing at a rate of knots, but French Connection has issued three profit warnings this year, and investors will be hoping there is not a fourth. Kate Middleton was spotted shopping in the King's Road store in May, but recent trading statements suggests royal patronage is not working its old magic.
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