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Retail round up - The Sunday papers.

Failing high streets on 'critical list' as recession threatens more shop closures, Zavvi creditors to be paid just 5pc,Top store Liberty put up for sale,Ocado near delivery on £40m call,Ashley in new spat with JJB...

SUNDAY PAPERS

Retail round up - The Sunday papers.

The Sunday Telegraph
Dozens of towns and cities across Britain are being warned they are on a 'critical list' of failing high streets, with some of their shops given a one in four chance of shutting down.The Sunday Telegraph can reveal that affluent areas of Kent and Sussex join the likes of Manchester and Glasgow on a roll-call of shopping areas that are likely to see more closures as high rents and a shortage of bank loans take their toll on retailers.Market towns such as Arundel and Rye feature on the watch list, compiled by retail and credit analysts, Experian.Full article here.

Creditors to Zavvi, the music and video chain that fell into administration late last year, are set to receive as little as 5p for every pound they are owed by the collapsed retailer.
Unsecured creditors, who are owed nearly 20m, will be paid between five and 10p in every pound, according to administrators Ernst & Young (E&Y), the accountancy firm.The forecast payout of 1m to 2m compares to the 3.2m earned by E&Y since its appointment as administrator to the business last December.Full article here.

The Sunday Times
Liberty,the top London department store, could soon have a new owner after kicking off a strategic review of the business.The Regent Street retailer is on the verge of hiring two mergers and acquisitions firms to work on finding a new investor willing to bankroll its growth plans.The board is this week expected to ratify the appointment of the firms in question, Cavendish Corporate Finance and Global Leisure Partners, and may confirm the review in an announcement to the stock exchange. However, the search for new backers is not expected to get fully under way until after the summer.Full article here.

Ocado,the online grocer set up by a trio of former Goldman Sachs bankers, is close to completing a 40m fundraising backed by Jorn Rausing, the Tetra Pak billionaire.The website, which has a five-year contract to deliver Waitrose groceries, will use the cash to fund expansion and pay down existing debt ahead of a possible stock market flotation next year.About 20m of the funds have been raised from some of its 100 existing shareholders. A further 310m has been provided as debt from the Bank of London and the Middle East, and the final 10m has come from existing financial backers including Barclays and HSBC.Full article here.

The bitter spat between Mike Ashley and Sir David Jones turned increasingly farcical this weekend.Ashley has instructed his lawyers to take action against JJB. He alleges that security guards it hired for its annual shareholder meeting tailed one of his representatives for 30 minutes on the M61 last Friday in a dangerous manner.Mike Stubbs, Ashley's lawyer at Mishcon de Reya, told The Sunday Times that the incident will be reported to the police and Ashley has now instructed legal proceedings to be issued against JJB and the security guards.A spokesman for JJB said the company and Jones knew nothing of any threatening behaviour. "We have no knowledge of anyone tailing the representative. He was not threatened or intimidated in any way whatsoever. This is getting ludicrous."Full article here.

The Mail on Sunday / Financial Mail

Tesco plans to bring a bit of The Good Life to its Dobbies Garden Centre outlets as the recession-inspired craze for 'growing your own' produce escalates.It will offer allotment spaces to rent next to some its Dobbies outlets next year after seeing a boom in the sale of chicken coops and vegetable seeds.The chain has applied for planning permission for 30 allotment spaces in Southport, Lancashire, and is expected to begin letting them in spring.Full article here.

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