Retail round up the Sunday Papers
Top chains are urged to ban sandblasted jeans, Chelsea Girl fashion brand to return, Chancellor will use budget to create 50,000 apprenticeships, Debt-laden Punch could split, Bidders line up for stake in All Saints,Yen sell-off is a £400m escape for UK shoppers, Glasses Direct takes on Sunglasses Shop
Asda, Diesel, Matalan and Primark are among a group of companies being criticised for selling jeans made using sandblasting, which can cause illness or even death. The pressure group, Labour Behind the Label, said these companies continue to use sandblasting to give denim a "worn" look, despite the danger that silica dust from the sand can get into workers' lungs. British companies including New Look and Marks & Spencer also say they have banned the process. Levi's and H&M stopped all use in December. "Dead workers aren't fashionable," said Sam Maher, co-author of Labour Behind the Label's Killer Jeans report, which will be published on Monday.
After more than two decades on the shelf, fashion retailer River Island is to bring back the once popular Chelsea Girl brand. Chelsea Girl was the name of the retailer before it rebadged its stores River Island in the late 1980s. A "pop-up" Chelsea Girl shop will open in Selfridges on Thursday, while a new Chelsea Girl range will launch in stores across the UK next Monday. Ben Lewis, chief executive of the privately owned retailer, used the comeback to call on the Government to make UK manufacturing more competitive. Mr Lewis also called for the abolition of upward-only rent reviews in the property sector. He said that the current system is "terrible" for retailers who are trying to spearhead a growth-led recovery.
George Osborne will announce a £300m package in Wednesday's budget to help fund training and work experience for some of the 974,000 young people who are unemployed. The coalition government has come under intense pressure in recent months to take action to help a "lost generation" of young people unable to find their feet in the labour market. As part of a battery of pro-growth measures, aimed at shifting the country "from rescue to reform" and unleashing the private sector to kickstart economic growth, the chancellor will promise to fund 50,000 new apprenticeships.
Britain’s biggest pub group, Punch Taverns, is studying a plan to spin off its better-performing Spirit division, which manages pubs directly, into a separate listed company.
Och Ziff, the US hedge fund, is one of three investors in final stage negotiations with high street retailer All Saints about a potential £50m investment in the company, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Mail on Sunday
British consumers could be spared a near-£400m rise in the cost of Japanese goods, thanks to international action to hold down the value of the yen. Audio-visual products, cars, cameras and watches, along with machine tools, would have soared in price without last week's moves by the Group of Seven leading economies to sell the Japanese currency. And while the G7 is keeping its longer-term intentions for the yen under wraps, for fear of showing its hand to currency speculators, it is clearly opposed to a sharp rise in its value.
Glasses Direct, the online spectacles store, has taken over online trader Sunglasses Shop. The deal, for an undisclosed sum, will create an eyewear group with combined sales of more than 250,000 pairs of glasses a year. The two brands will remain distinct, but both will be owned by Prescription Eyewear, the parent company of Glasses Direct. Glasses Direct was founded in 2004 by first-time entrepreneur Jamie Murray Wells.
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