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Retail round up - The Sunday papers

Waitrose hungry for Eat, Kim Winser unveils lift for Agent Provocateur, Mike Ashley may raise £26m Blacks Leisure bid, Sofa king Lord Kirkham scraps sale of DFS, Tesco joins the stampede to supply DIY electricity,Hefty payoff for JJB boss Colin Tranter, Ocado 'will hit profit within two years', Why pubs fear the worst in biggest pay-TV shake-up, HMV moves into fashion retailing, Selfridges website opens for business, Best Buy to battle DSG International with launch of UK stores, Alliance Boots poised to join the £1bn profit club,


Retail round up - The Sunday papers

The Sunday Times

Waitrose is in talks to gobble up the Eat sandwich bar and coffee chain as part of its ambitious expansion plans.The supermarket group is in exclusive negotiations to buy the company, which has 100 branches, from the founders, Niall and Faith MacArthur. The couple stand to make a fortune; it is understood they own about 45% of the shares and the sale price will be about £100m.Waitrose, Britain’s fastest-growing supermarket chain, has been given a month to finalise the deal, which requires approval from its owner, the John Lewis Partnership. It is thought to be planning to open Eat outlets in many of its supermarkets and sell Waitrose food in the cafés. Mark Price, the managing director, has already struck a deal to sell Waitrose food in more than 700 Boots outlets, and a trial tie-up with Shell petrol stations is under way.

Agent Provocateur plans to double in size to almost 100 stores in the next three years under ambitious proposals drawn up by Kim Winser, the British fashion queen.Winser, the new chairwoman of the lingerie retailer, said high-class underwear was due a surge in growth, after a boom in sales of handbags and shoes over the past five years. “There is huge potential growth in the lingerie market,” said Winser. “It can make a big difference to how you feel. Knowing that you have great lingerie on does things for a girl — and her relationships.” Full article here.

Mike Ashley is considering raising his £26m takeover bid for Blacks Leisure, the outdoor equipment retailer.Advisers to the billionaire owner of Newcastle United are thought to have written to Blacks on Friday raising the possibility of a “materially increased offer” for the business.
Full article here.

Lord Kirkham has called off the £500m auction of DFS, the sofa chain he founded more than 40 years ago. “I am categorically not interested in selling the business. I don’t need the money. I’m loaded,” said Kirkham, 65.DFS was among a number of private retail businesses put up for sale in the past few months, amid fears that consumer spending will be dented by higher taxes after the election. Full article here.

Tesco will start selling solar panels this week, leading a stampede of retailers aiming to cash in on a controversial new subsidy scheme.The rush has been triggered by the launch of the government’s new feed-in tariff (Fit) programme. Taking effect on Thursday, this pays homeowners and small firms for generating electricity from photovoltaic solar panels and wind turbines, either for their own use or to be sold back to the grid.The payments are guaranteed for up to 25 years to ensure payback on the costly technologies. The government claims the scheme can generate up to £950 in cash payments and energy savings annually. Full article here.

JJB Sports will hand a £150,000 payoff to Colin Tranter just 10 months after the veteran retailer joined the board of the struggling sports chain.JJB said in a statement last week that Tranter was retiring and would leave immediately. It is thought the company is close to hiring a new director.The payment will surprise investors because Tranter presided over a poor trading spell at the sports retailer. Like-for-like sales were down 21% in January compared with a year ago. Full article here.


The Sunday Telegraph

Ocado's imminent plans for a £1bn stock market flotation have been given a boost after a detailed research note from an expert retail analyst firm said that the online retailer would be making pre-tax profits within "a two-year time frame".The note, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, said that growth at the company was "significant", management control was "second to none" and that it was an ideal time for a major investment. Full article here.

Britain's hard-pressed pub industry has warned that a price war in the cost of watching live sport at home could force more pubs to close. The cost of watching the English Premier League and Ashes cricket is expected to fall by a third when Ofcom this week reveals plans to force BSkyB to reduce the price it charges rivals to broadcast its Sky Sports channels. BT told The Sunday Telegraph earlier this year that it will charge its customers as little as £15 a month to watch Sky Sports 1 on its BT Vision service, compared with the minimum £25.50 its rival charges. Most Sky subscribers pay £36 a month for sports channels and basic content. Sir Richard Branson, whose Virgin Group holds a 6.5pc stake in Virgin Media, has said he expects the price of Sky Sports 1 to fall by 20pc. Full article here.

HMV, the music and entertainment chain, is to move into fashion retailing with the opening of large clothing areas in its stores.The retail group has poached clothing executives from Marks & Spencer, Fat Face and Arcadia to spearhead the move. The first in-store fashion area – called The Studio – will open in HMV's store in Leeds next month. Simon Fox, HMV Group chief executive, said that The Studio area will be rolled out in 35 to 40 of the company's large stores over the next few months, and that smaller in-store clothing areas will open in HMV's remaining 230 UK stores by the summer. Full article here.

Selfridges, the department store, has finally opened for business on the internet becoming the last major retailer to operate a shopping website. The company, which celebrated its centenary last year, has run a website for many years, but not until this week could shoppers buy anything from it.Despite the success of Amazon and the high profile of and, many high street retailers have been slow to embrace the internet. According to the Office for National Statistics just 3.9 per cent of retail sales took place online last year. Full article here.

The Observer
Best Buy, the US consumer electronics retailer, will today reveal details of its challenge to Currys owner DSG International, with four stores across the UK in the spring and summer and a fifth in south London later in the autumn. The first 50,000 square foot store will open in Thurrock, Essex, offering advice on buying and integrating home entertainment systems, computers and mobile phones.from "blueshirted" staff In a direct challenge to DSG, Best Buy claims it will help customers transfer files and contacts from existing devices to new ones whether purchased at Best Buy or not. Personal advice sessions can be booked using the firm's website. Full article here.

The Mail On Sunday
Alliance Boots
, the privately owned health and beauty chain, is heading for a profit of more than £1 billion - making it one of only three retailers ever to top this amount.Trading profit in the current year is understood to have surged by more than ten per cent above last year's reported £842 million as ownlabel products helped boost performance.The resilience of sales of cosmetics and beauty products means that the firm expects to top £1 billion in the year that starts on Thursday. Full article here.


Major retailers to attend The Retail HR Summit 2010

Preparing for the Upturn: Maintaining competitive advantage and market share through cost effective retail HR Strategies.

Join senior management HR teams from: Tesco, Clinton Cards, Arcadia, BP Oil UK, Domino's Pizza, Cath Kidston Limited, BHS, BestBuy Europe/The Carphone Warehouse Group, Blue Inc, Dell, The Co-operative Group, Cotswold Outdoor Ltd, Mills Group Ltd., DSG International PLC, Jaeger/Aquascutum, Aurum Holdings Ltd , Whitewall Galleries,  Lakeland, Maplin Electronics, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, Net a Porter, New Look, Pets at Home, Peacocks, Punch Taverns, Republic, Sally Salon Services Ltd, Signet Trading Limited,  The Entertainer, The White Company, Thorntons, WM. Morrison Supermarkets PLC, Kurt Geiger, Calvin Klein,  Benetton, Tripp, Elizabeth Arden...

For more information on the event click here

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