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Retail round up - The Sunday papers

Poundland is quids-in to take its discount offering online,Tesco gives staff a £55m Christmas 'present' - if they spend in store,Tinsel to be dusted down this Christmas,What Next? Retailer to open garden centres in new stores,Brick by brick: Lego begins building in Europe, Sainsbury's and Best Buy set up Channel Island websites to beat VAT on sales of CDs and DVDs,Dixons sets up new technical support service Knowhow...


Retail round up - The Sunday papers

The Independent
Poundland, the high street retail chain where customers can buy everything from two litres of milk to Daniel Craig's unauthorised biography for a quid, is looking to sell its products online. Its chief executive, Jim McCarthy, said the private equity-owned chain is drawing up plans to sell homeware, fancy dress and party items over the internet within two years. However, not all of Poundland's products would go online as the cost of postage would be too great.He said: "We are investigating what we can sell at the moment."
Mr McCarthy also confirmed plans to expand overseas once the chain has reached its target of 800 stores in the UK. Poundland set out aggressive growth plans after Warburg Pincus splashed out £200m for the West Midlands-based group in May. Full article here.

Next intends to open stores with garden centres as part of its plan for bigger stores to sell its full range of clothing and homewares.The high street retailer hopes to agree a deal to open a store on the south coast in Shoreham at a former Homebase DIY store. It is planning to sell both clothing and homewares in the 50,000 sq ft store, as well as garden furniture and other outdoor products in its outdoor garden centre.Next is also said to be looking at introducing coffee shops into its bigger stores, a move that follows M&S, which has put cafes into many of its larger shops.

Danish toymaker Lego will open 14 stores in Europe by the end of the year, just seven years after previous expansion plans failed.Only a few stores, including three in the UK, survived the last push. But, Lego is back in the black and believes that tweaks to store design, such as an area for children to play with its blocks, will boost sales. Agent Cushman & Wakefield is scouring the UK, Germany and Denmark for locations before moving on to central Europe. A store opened last week in Cardiff, and a second will begin trading later this month in Westfield London, Europe's biggest mall.

The Telegraph
Tesco has given its staff a £55m "Christmas thank you". However, workers won't actually get their hands on any cash bonus.
All 280,000 employees have instead been given a voucher, worth up to £20, as well as a discount booklet worth a further £120, to spend at a Tesco store.The £20 voucher is only redeemable on a "spend £5 and get £1 off" basis, meaning staff would have to buy £100 worth of groceries to get the full benefit. The discount booklet, which cannot be used towards food or alcohol, offers a small amount of money off products including electrical goods or Tesco clothing. With the exception of a £5 voucher to spend at the sports store Umbro, the discount vouchers must be spent at Tesco, which said staff could redeem the vouchers on top of their 10pc staff discount.

Tinsel, the Christmas decoration that many thought died with flares and punk rock, is set to enjoy a come back this year thanks to the economic downturn.Sales of tinsel have doubled over the last three years, according to B&Q, one of the country's largest retailers of decorations. Meanwhile, Tesco said sales were up 20 per cent on last year, with sales of its cheap, fake tinsel Christmas trees up 60 per cent.

The Observer
J Sainsbury and US retail giant Best Buy have launched VAT-dodging CD and DVD websites ahead of the busy Christmas trading rush in the hope of cashing in on the booming popularity of online sales.The pair are the latest blue-chip retailers to set up complex and circuitous shipping arrangements for goods offered on their websites for less than £18. By dispatching orders from the Channel Islands direct to customers' homes on the UK mainland, these transactions do not attract VAT under an arcane EU tax relief directive. Full article here.

Electrical retailer Dixons, which owns Currys and PC World, is to create a technical support service called "Knowhow" to help customers with their increasingly baffling digital purchases, amid competition from rivals such as recent US arrival Best Buy.Dixons, which was formerly known as DSG but has readopted the identity of its former high street brand, will unveil Knowhow this week as a revamped and upgraded service to replace its four-year-old "TechGuys" service. TechGuys will be axed in stores, at call centres and online, having been set up in 2006 with a £50m investment.Chief executive John Browett will provide details of the initiative alongside Dixons's interim results on Thursday. Analysts at Nomura anticipate a seasonal loss of £10.9m, an improvement on a £17.6m deficit a year ago. Strong UK sales of flat-screen televisions and Apple iPads are likely to make up for weak trading at stores in economically stricken Greece.Full article here.

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