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Retail round up - The Sunday Papers

Camelot prompts competition row, Flight ban costs London £100m, Swann’s £8m nest egg, All change at Republic, Farepak’s directors pay up £4m, Fashion Group’s £200m windfall, Home Retail to return cash to investors, Strong year puts Hornby pay-out back on the rails, Homebase to post £40m profit, Fashion hit by cost of cotton


Retail round up - The Sunday Papers

Camelot prompts competition row, Flight ban costs London £100m, Swann’s £8m nest egg, All change at Republic, Farepak’s directors pay up £4m, Fashion Group’s £200m windfall, Home Retail to return cash to investors, Strong year puts Hornby pay-out back on the rails, Homebase to post £40m profit, Fashion hit by cost of cotton

Sunday Telegraph

Camelot, the operator of the National Lottery, has been attacked over its plans to enter the bill payments and mobile top-up market by pay companies, retail organisations and faith groups. In a submission to to a consultation run by the National Lottery Commission into the impact on competition law of Camelot’s proposal, payment company Paypoint said both Camelot and the Government will be in breach of EU completion law if the plans are approved. It also said Camelot’ s plans threatens the future of thousands of local shops and post offices, and ignores the social impact on vulnerable consumers.

The eruption of the volcano in Iceland and the consequent six-day shutdown of Britain's air space cost London £100m in lost tourism spending, early estimates show. Figures from the office of London Mayor Boris Johnson highlight an "opportunity loss" in spending from tourists on hotels, restaurants, visitor attractions, theatres and West End shopping. In spring, around 30,000 visitors arrive in the capital by air, spending an estimated £17m a day in the city. While London hotels were initially busy, occupancy rates swiftly dropped as tourists due to go home found alternative ways to leave the city and were not replaced by incoming visitors.


Sunday Times

Kate Swann, chief executive of WH Smith, could bag a payday of more than £5m under a bumper management incentive plan being drawn up by the newsagent and stationery chain. It would keep her at the helm of the retailer for at least another three years. The company will begin consultation about the pay deal with shareholders in the next few weeks amid speculation linking Swann with the vacant chief executive’s post at Royal Mail.

Republic, the fast-growing fashion chain that sells the trendy Superdry and G-Star brands, has been put up for sale through Rothschild, the investment bank. The retailer is controlled by Change Capital, the private equity group, which is run by Luc Vandevelde and Roger Holmes. The former Marks & Spencer directors bought a majority stake five years ago. A sale could generate a huge paper profit for Republic’s founders, Tim Whitworth and Carl Brewins, who still own more than 40% of the shares and lead the management.

Directors of Farepak, the Christmas savings club that collapsed in 2006, are to pay customers £4m compensation. The amount is a mere tenth of the £40m that was lost by 150,000 customers shortly before they were due to receive their savings. It will be paid from the directors’ own pockets after long negotiations between the former board of the company and its administrator, BDO Stoy Hayward.

The owners of Peacocks, the value fashion retailer, are eyeing a £200m windfall from a sale or refinancing of the chain.The company’s shareholders, which include Och-Ziff and Perry Capital, two US hedge funds, have asked several investment banks to explore a potential recapitalisation of the firm.The consortium, which includes Goldman Sachs, bought Peacocks in 2006 for £404m, backed by £285m of bank loans and £110m of junior debt provided by Och-Ziff and Perry, said Capital Structure, the specialist debt firm. The investors own a combined 55% stake.


Financial Times Sat / Sun

Home Retail Group is set to signal next week that it will return some of its £400m ($615m) cash pile to shareholders, as the owner of Argos and Homebase seeks to fend off growing expectations of a takeover or break-up.

Shares in Hornby rallied more than 15 per cent on Friday after the maker of hobby train sets announced it would return to paying a dividend and that full-year profits would be above expectations.


The Independent on Sunday

Homebase, owned by Home Retail, is likely to report sparkling results this week as the public has stocked up on DIY items rather than moving house during the economic downturn. City analysts expect the home improvement chain, which owns about 340 stores, to post a 168 per cent rise in operating profit to £40m for the year.Sam Hart, a Charles Stanley retail analyst, said: "The introduction of an installation service, the exit of competitors like MFI and the 'don't move, improve' trend have all driven up sales."


The Mail on Sunday

Soaring world cotton prices are set to push up the cost of shirts, blouses, underwear and other clothing on the High Street. The recent surge in the market price could make the cost of a £12 T-shirt leap by more than £1, experts warned. They added that bedding, curtains and furniture covers would also see price increases.





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