Retail round up the Sunday papers
Thousands of temporary staff working for Tesco have been urged to waive their rights to new agency worker rules which would have given them the same pay as permanent employees. The UK's biggest supermarket is understood to have discussed making use of a new temporary workers' law with its supply chain, allowing recruitment agencies to effectively ignore the new rules. New agency workers' rights came into effect on October 1 and were aimed to entitle 1.4m temps in the UK to the same pay and benefits as permanent staff after 12 weeks in a job. But The Sunday Telegraph understands Tesco met with Mainstream, a major supplier of agency truck drivers in Kent, several times in the past eight weeks to discuss the new law. Some 400 drivers would have enjoyed about £150 extra a week in their pay packets but have now signed contracts waiving their rights.
The board of Kesa Electricals is poised to delist its shares from the London Stock Exchange and change the company's name once the sale of Comet, its UK retail chain, is complete. It is thought Kesa is considering changing its name to Darty – its flagship European brand – in a move that would potentially transform the company's fortunes.
Richard Bradbury, the former chief executive of River Island, is close to joining Boden's board as a non-executive director, reviving speculation that the mail order clothing company could be preparing to float for as much as £500m. Johnnie Boden, who founded the retailer in 1991 and owns 60pc of the company, has previously said it was "highly unlikely" that the business would consider an initial public offering (IPO) because it would be "distracting" and Boden didn't need the cash to grow.
Pensioners hit by the collapse of Allders in 2005 have criticised the appointment of Andrew Rosenfeld as a senior adviser to the Labour Party. The former Minerva executive chairman – who has been appointed by Ed Milliband to advise on fundraising – was embroiled in the failure of the department store chain, which left 3,500 pensioners fearing for their future. At the time, Allders was owned by a vehicle called Scarlett Retail, whose largest shareholder was Minerva. Scarlett bought Allders for approximately £162m in 2003, but the business was put into administration in January 2005.
Independent on Sunday
The last new shopping scheme to open before 2013 begins trading this week in Newbury, west Berkshire. Parkway shopping centre, part of Standard Life Investments and Shearer Property Group's 475,000 sq ft mixed-use scheme, includes retailers Debenhams, M&S, Superdry, Topshop, H&M and Lakeland. Next year John Lewis at Home will open. In 2008/2009 over 20 centres opened in just 18 months.
Customers are most loyal to banks and building societies, supermarkets and mobile phone companies, according to the latest Ipsos Mori and the Logic Group poll. It found customers are promiscuous when it comes to travel, transport, car hire, air travel, hotels, electrical product purchases and gym membership.
Online beauty retailer Feelunique.com has beat its own financial targets for the first half of the year, reporting like-for-like sales in the six months to the end of September had risen by 57 per cent to £10.4m. The business has now has revised its sales forecast for the full year to £26.5m from £24m.
Sir Philip Green's Arcadia retail group has signed up for its first new store to combine its Bhs homewares range with his Arcadia brands in a newly signed store. It will open in a development close to the Milton Keynes football stadium, joining retailers such as Marks & Spencer and Primark.
Premier foods, maker of Hovis bread and Mr Kipling cakes, has paid nearly £230m in debt restructuring fees and interest in the past year — more than twice its stock market value. The figures provide an insight into the firm’s faltering finances as it prepares to hire Price Waterhouse Coopers to advise on a new round of talks with banks on its £950m debt. Premier’s shares have fallen 90% in the past six months as trading has dried up.
The owner of Birds Eye is eyeing a tasty bite of Findus, its biggest frozen food rival. The group well-known for its Captain Birdseye advertisements is considering bids for parts of Findus’s continental business. Findus has hired Rothschild, the investment bank, to begin a review of its operations that could lead to parts of the business being sold off.
Mail on Sunday
Supermarket suppliers have reacted angrily to the latest amendments to the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill, which they warn has been watered down and will provide too little protection for small firms. They said the Government’s plans would leave the proposed ombudsman ‘without teeth’, did not adequately protect the anonymity of suppliers and were taking too long to implement.
Tesco has begun a cull of its general merchandise teams just a month after clothing and home director resigned to go to retailer Dunnes. There are now plans to axe a further 34 people – up to 5% of positions - who were previously part of the team led by Jones.
Debenhams will this week launch its first catalogue, delivering a further blow to cheaper rival Argos, which announced a collapse in profits last week. The 68-page catalogue will offer furniture, electrical goods and products for the kitchen and bathroom. It is expected to be delivered to Debenhams’ 195,000 storecard holders from tomorrow.
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