Retail round up the Sunday papers
Struggling Pizza Hut on menu for company doctors, Buyout cash for noodles, Pop up and smell the customers, Tesco rivals on alert for a 'nuclear' price war, Sir Terry Leahy is on the shortlist to head online retailer The Hut, Fashion retailer Select defies gloom thanks to fast deliveries, Clothing store tries to avoid strict Olympic merchandising rules, Jigsaw ditches Kew stores chain after losing millions, Sales soar 250% at art specialist Go Figurative, China next for Next's online expansion.
A Leeds turnaround specialist is in exclusive talks with Yum Brands, the American food giant, about taking control of Pizza Hut. The New York-listed owner of the pizza chain, along with KFC and Taco Bell, put Pizza Hut up for sale earlier this year. The turnaround firm Endless is understood to be the last remaining bidder after rivals, including Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners and another buyout group, Rutland Partners, dropped out of the race.
A husband and wife have turned noodles into gold after striking a £5.2m private equity deal to expand their chain of Vietnamese restaurants. Stephen and Juliette Wall, from Hackney in east London, secured the investment in Pho from Isis Equity Partners.
After making their business debut online, Rima, Zeina and Zahira Nazer wanted a shop window for their organic soap brand, Jardins d’Eden. The sisters have joined a dozen other entrepreneurs in an empty north London shopping parade, where they will have pop-up shops for a year while the landlord decides on the building’s future. Tthe sisters paid only £50 a month rent for the first quarter, rising to £250. The temporary lease was arranged by Meanwhile Space, a community group that finds short-term uses for empty shops and warehouses.
Mail on Sunday
Tesco's rivals and suppliers fear the supermarket giant may be planning a major price war if chief executive Phil Clarke’s recovery strategy does not take hold. The prospect that Tesco might be forced into dramatic action is being referred to as its ‘nuclear option’ and senior executives in some rival chains say this is a bigger cause for concern than the continued failure of the consumer recovery to begin. Despite its troubles, Tesco’s £3.8billion profits are still more than Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose combined. That means it has far more firepower than any of its rivals and could cut prices to a much deeper level.
Former Tesco chief Sir Terry Leahy is being considered for the role of chairman at online retail group The Hut. Its businesses include music and games retailer zavvi.com and lookfantastic.com, which sells beauty products such as Bulgari perfume. It is understood that a shortlist has been drawn up and a decision on a replacement for Angus Monro, the former boss of Matalan, is expected this autumn.
Sales at discount fashion retailer Select have soared in the past six months as it bucks the High Street slump. It has benefited from disarray among rivals and by delivering its products straight from its own factories. The London-based firm, that has 150 stores, increased like-for-like sales by eight per cent in the six months ending yesterday, with total sales rising 16%. That compares with a rise of almost 20 per cent in the same period last year while most clothing retailers struggle to increase sales at all.
A men's clothing hire shop in Surbiton, South-West London, has produced a range of clothes with squares rather than rings in the Olympic colours. And written above them is an interesting spelling of London 2012 Olympics - it has been changed to Lodnon 2102 Oimplycs. It remains to be seen how Games organisers will react, but there have been a number of shopkeepers who have fallen foul of the strict rules covering Olympic trademarks. Florist Lisa Cross, 33, was told by trading standards officials that colourful rings put up in her window constituted an ‘unauthorised use’ of the Olympic logo that left her at risk of being sued by Games organisers. Elsewhere, a cafe manager who displayed five bagels in the style of Olympics rings was stunned to be raided by ‘community wardens’ from the council. They took it upon themselves to declare the light-hearted window display ‘unauthorised’, and threatened him with court.
The family-owned fashion group behind the Jigsaw chain has made a £10 million loss because of its failed Kew stores business. The Kew chain was opened in 2003 to draw younger shoppers. However, it has struggled to cope with rapidly shifting High Street tastes and competition over the past five years. The Robinson family plans to close Kew at the end of the summer after losses last year rocketed to £6.8million from £1.1million the previous year.
Go Figurative, which provides art for company reception areas, public spaces and private viewings, has seen sales shoot up 250 per cent to £250,000 over the past two years. Sally Perry, co-founder of the firm, which has a network of 1,300 artists and also sells art, said: ‘The growth in our business has come from corporate sales and corporate pop-ups. “We have been focusing on businesses undergoing recent refurbishment or change in ownership.”
Next will launch an own-language website in China this autumn, as the fashion retailer seeks to capitalise on booming online revenues. The clothing and homewares group will update on the latest phase of its online expansion overseas alongside half-year results which are likely to show another marked difference in the performance of its high street stores and Next Directory business. Next delivers to 57 countries, including goods ordered from its Russian and German-language websites.
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