Retail round up - the Sunday papers
Sports Direct faces another defeat at the hands of shareholders this week as it tries to push through a £200m bonus scheme for staff and its billionaire founder, Mike Ashley.The showdown comes after two previous remuneration plans were rejected, most recently in April. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) voiced its unhappiness earlier this month, saying: “The recent announcement . . . without any prior consultation, is particularly disappointing.”
American Apparel has invoked a “poison pill” defence in an attempt to stop its ousted founder, Dov Charney, buying shares and trying to reinstate himself as chief executive.The fashion brand brought in a so-called shareholder rights plan yesterday as its battle with Charney escalated. The mercurial 45-year-old was suspended this month and faces being fired over allegations of financial mismanagement and sexual harassment.
Mail on Sunday
The boss of Wonga was not told about an official investigation into the firm when she took the helm of the controversial payday lender, even though the probe by the City watchdog had already been under way for almost three years. The news that even Tessa Cook was not told of the investigation will stun observers, but the managing director insists it was right she was not aware. ‘No, I wasn’t told and I should not have been told. That was a practice that was in the past and not related to the Wonga of today,’ said Cook, who said she became aware of the thrust of the investigation in February, a month after taking the post.
Creditors to the collapsed West Cornwall Pasty Company are out of pocket to the tune of £7 million, auditors say. The company called in administrators in April after recording falling sales and rising losses. The failure was blamed in part on the ‘pasty tax’ introduced in 2012, which made hot takeaway food sold by bakeries liable for VAT. Of the 65 stores, 35 were bought by the Enact fund, whose investors include former Leeds United footballer Danny Mills.
Britain's small businesses are leading the world in using the internet to export their goods, according to auction site eBay. The company, whose site is used by thousands of small companies and sole traders, said UK businesses selling on eBay each export to an average of 39 countries – higher than from any other country. Overseas sales by British sellers through eBay totalled £3.8 billion last year.
A mystery Chinese group has been circling Hobbs, one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite brands. The Chinese approached Hobbs late last year with a view to buying the business from its private equity owner 3i, according to banking sources.
Roadchef, the largest operator of motorway services in the UK, had two million more customers last year, mainly due to introducing brands such as McDonald’s and improving its Costa Coffee outlets. Now the firm is in talks with a top supermarket to add grocery shopping to its brands next year.
The chief executive of adidas has offered an olive branch to Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct in the row over the sale of replica football shirts. A war of words broke out between the two companies last year after adidas said it would pull its best-selling replica shirts – including those for the Chelsea, Spain and Argentina teams – from Sports Direct because of concerns about the look of the retailer’s stores. However, in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Herbert Hainer, chief executive of adidas, said the German company is still keen to work with Sports Direct.
Tesco boss Philip Clarke received a stay of execution today from his chairman as Sir Richard Broadbent gave the under-fire chief executive his full support under the glare of sceptical shareholders. The chairman urged angry shareholders who have called for Clarke’s head to allow him more time to implement a turnaround in an acutely difficult climate, which has seen Tesco’s customers deserting it for discount rivals Aldi and Lidl.
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