Retail round up the Sunday papers
Whole Foods takes on home of fried Mars bar, Wiggle rides to £10 million success, more women at the top for Morrisons, slump in growth brings blitz on red tape in high street, London boom: Kate's dress is icing on the tourist cake, Sunday opening limits may be relaxed to help struggling retailers, Brintons Carpets seeks £20 million.
Whole Foods Market, the US "natural foods" giant is headed for Glasgow, home of the deep fried Mars Bar. The 23,000sq ft outlet in Gifnock, an upmarket suburb south of the Scottish city, will be the chain's first store outside London and the first to open since the launch of Whole Foods' huge outlet in High Street Kensington in 2007. Jeff Turnas, Whole Foods' UK regional president, said: "I see us having several stores in Scotland. This is the first step to learn about the market."
Sales at Wiggle, the online cycling and swimwear retailer gearing up for a stock market float or trade sale, rose 55pc last year. Pre-tax profit also rose, from £7.1m to £10.2m in the year to January 2011, driven by a 123pc increase in international sales, according to accounts filed at Companies House last week. ISIS, the private equity group that owns a 65pc stake in Wiggle, recently appointed investment bank Rothschild to carry out a strategic review in May. Although no formal process has begun, the review is expected to lead a flotation or sale of the business, which could put a price tag of up to £200m on the online retailer. ISIS acquired its stake for £12m in 2006.
Morrisons has promised to more than double the number of women in senior positions over the next three years in an attempt to better reflect its customer base. Supermarkets are a notoriously male-dominated industry, despite the fact that 70pc of customers are women. Tesco has just one woman out of eight on its executive board and Sainsbury's has two out of 10 on its operating board. Neither of Morrisons' two executive directors is a woman and just 13pc of its senior management team are women. The most senior women on its staff are the director of chilled foods and the managing director of the flower business.
Ministers will this week launch a new drive against the red-tape strangling high-street shops - including the rules governing what can be sold to children - as figures show Britain's economy is still in the doldrums. Figures to be published by the Office of National Statistics are expected to show the economy shrinking in the second quarter of 2011 - a period which included bank holidays for Easter and the Royal wedding. The first quarter of the year saw growth coming in at 0.5 per cent - with ministers braced for a fall to around 0.2 per cent for the second quarter, piling the pressure on the coalition as it seeks to deliver its programme of public spending cuts.
Independent on Sunday
Tourists eager to visit Buckingham Palace for the royal wedding collection – which opened yesterday – have inundated the booking line. Extra slots are being created to accommodate the rush. But it's not just the Duchess of Cambridge's dress enticing the tourists – shops, hotels, restaurants and attractions in London's West End are all booming. The average spend per tourist now stands close to £2,000.
Mail on Sunday
Sunday trading laws may be relaxed as part of a huge initiative aimed at helping the hard-pressed retail sector. Up to half of retail regulations could be either 'removed or amended' in an announcement due to be made in the coming week by the Department for Business. It comes as part of the Department's Red Tape Challenge internet initiative, which was set up to gather the views of small businesses. The Government will this week announce the steps it plans in response to the views posted about its first 'theme' - the retail sector. This was divided into eight areas, ranging from consumer information and protection regulations to weights and measures.
Brintons Carpets has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to look for up to £20 million to keep the business afloat. The company has defaulted on its banking covenants with an outstanding debt of more than £30 million to Lloyds Banking Group.
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