Retail Round up - the Sunday papers
Ladbrokes is set to announce the closure of about 50 betting shops, as tax rises and red tape take their toll. Britain’s second largest bookmaker, with more than 2,200 high street sites, is expected to announce plans this week to shut dozens more shops that are no longer deemed viable. The big three chains — William Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral — have already announced more than 200 shop closures between them over the past year because of the industry clampdown.
One of the entrepreneurs behind movie-rental company Lovefilm has signed up to run a delivery service for independent food shops, and raised more than £2m from high-profile investors for its expansion. William Reeve, who sold Lovefilm to Amazon four years ago for a reported £200m, has pumped his own cash into Hubbub, a seven-year-old company which delivers food on behalf of local grocers. He will become co-chief executive alongside Marisa Leaf, Hubbub’s founder.
Wm Morrison is close to naming the former head of Tesco’s Asian business as its next chief executive. The struggling supermarket chain is understood to be in the final stages of selecting a successor to Dalton Philips, who was ousted last month after almost three years of falling sales. David Potts, who spent 39 years at Tesco, is the frontrunner, according to people close to the situation, although Morrisons’ board is still talking to two other candidates. An announcement is expected in the next fortnight.
Mail on Sunday
Charities backed by the billionaire owners of leading retailers Fortnum & Mason and Heal’s received a multi-million pound boost last year thanks to record dividend payments. The Garfield Weston Foundation – which supports good causes including the Salvation Army and Bletchley Park Trust – will be the main beneficiary of a £105 million dividend payout from Wittington Investments. The group is one of the main holding companies of the Weston family, who have largely kept out of the public eye despite their huge wealth and philanthropy.
John Browett, the former chief executive at Monsoon Accessorize, is being tipped as the next chief executive at cycle and car accessories chain Halfords just days after quitting. The cycling enthusiast and former Tesco director left Monsoon on Thursday afternoon, but is already understood to have been courted for a number of other jobs. Browett ran Tesco’s online delivery business before he was poached as chief executive at Curry’s and PC World owner Dixons. That was followed by a brief stint at Apple, which ended with Browett admitting he did not fit the bill, before spending three years at Monsoon.
Sainsbury’s is to start opening branches of its own bank in stotres. Sainsbury’s makes about £60 million profit from its banking arm. The banking plan is likely to be the first step in a fresh push for the group’s financial services arm – including the introduction of mortgages.
The boss of Paperchase said staff at the firm will be in line for a bumper bonus this year. Chief executive Timothy Melgund said staff would receive in excess of 10 per cent of their annual salary. It will be the second year in a row that staff will receive a bonus.
Britons can now buy computers and accessories from Dell using Bitcoin, as the company expands its support for crypto-currencies outside the US. The firm is the third largest PC seller in the world with nearly $60 billion (£39 billion) in annual sales. It began accepting Bitcoins in the US last summer after signing a deal with payments processor Coinbase, and announced this week that it is now rolling-out the feature in the UK and Canada.
Andrew Higginson, the new chairman of Morrisons, is to add another role to his rapidly expanding CV by joining private equity firm Warburg Pincus as a senior adviser. The relationship between Mr Higginson and the private equity firm dates back to summer 2012 when was hired as chairman of discount retailer Poundland, which has been backed by Warburg Pincus since 2010.
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