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Retail round up - The Sunday Papers

Farmers to benefit from ‘Buy British’ boost, TPG pays £300m for Republic fashion chain, Comet and Currys ride out recession in profit, EAT sale falters, Ocado set to announce good results, Big retailers braced for chancellor to raise VAT, M&S can take their time to name new chairman


Retail round up - The Sunday Papers

Sunday Telegraph

All food served in the UK's hospitals, schools and prisons will have to conform to British farming and manufacturing standards under a major Government initiative to improve the nation's health and boost the struggling agricultural sector. Caroline Spelman, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has written to fellow Cabinet ministers telling them that all food procured and served by their departments must meet British standards, such as the Red Tractor or approved organic schemes, wherever it is bought from. The requirement will soon be rolled out to the entire public sector, including schools and hospitals. An NHS Trust in Nottingham has already started sourcing all its meat locally.

TPG, the private equity group, has bought the Republic fashion chain from Change Capital Partners, the investment vehicle run by former Marks & Spencer bosses Luc Vandevelde and Roger Holmes, for £300m. The sale nets a significant return for Change Capital, which became majority shareholder in Republic in October 2005 when it backed a £105m management buy-out. Republic's co-founders Tim Whitworth and Carl Brewins, who still work at the 103-store chain, retained a stake of around 40pc after the Change Capital acquisition and are understood to have reinvested significantly under the TPG deal. None the less they will have received multi-million pound windfalls from the sale, which was cemented late on Friday night.

DSG International, the retailer formerly known as Dixons and owner of the Currys and PCWorld chains, is expected to report underlying full-year pre-tax profit of between £80m and £90m on Thursday, up from £50.5m last year. Meanwhile Kesa, the owner of the Comet chain of electricals stores, will report its full-year pre-tax profit of £76m, according to City forecasts, compared with a loss of £81.8m last year due to large impairment charges. The two chains will have been boosted in recent months by football fans buying new televisions ahead of the World Cup.


The Sunday Times

Waitrose has ended talks to buy Eat, the sandwich chain founded by husband and wife entrepreneurs Niall and Faith MacArthur. The grocer had been locked in discussions for several months about buying th chain, launched in 1996.

Ocado will announce sharply increased sales and profits when it pushes the button on plans for a £1billion stock market float this week. The company is expected to say that underlying profits have doubled from more than £2million to £4million -5million in the first half of its financial year.


The Observer

High-street retailers are bracing themselves for a big rise in VAT when the chancellor unveils his emergency budget on Tuesday. While retail lobby groups are still urging George Osborne to find other ways to fill the gap in the public finances – arguing that a VAT increase will stoke inflation and could stop the economic recovery in its tracks – many of the biggest high-street names now regard an increase from the current 17.5% to 20% as inevitable and are merely hoping to delay the rise.


Financial Times Sat/Sun

Marks and Spencer is unlikely to be in a position to name its next chairman by its target date of July’s general meeting. One person close to the retailer said the board had the luxury of having Sir Stuart Rose in situ and did not have to rush the selection. 





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