Retail round up - the Sunday papers
Glasses Direct owner has its sights on £100m float, Heineken attacks Vince Cable's push to reform the pub industry, New burger on the block, American Eagle in hunt for UK store, Marks & Spencer to launch youth jobs scheme, Thousands of TB cows sold as food, Ocado critics made to pay, Pub estate goes on the block, Ocado poised to make £2.3m loss in first half, Kate effect swells maternity brand, Desperate families are using payday loans to buy food
The internet glasses delivery company that entrepreneur Jamie Murray Wells set up while still at university is looking at floating on the London Stock Exchange with a value in the region of £100m. The MyOptique Group, which owns the Glasses Direct business that Mr Murray Wells founded in 2004, has appointed advisers to look at the possibility of an initial public offering. The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that the company has appointed the technology investment banking adviser GP Bullhound to explore a float.
Heineken, the world's third biggest brewer, has weighed into a dispute over the future of pubs in Britain, warning that government plans to regulate the market are "anti-competitive" and will stifle investment. BIS is proposing to create a powerful organisation with the ability to fine large pub companies found guilty of abusing their tenants by over-charging for beer and rent.
After spending much of last week being ribbed for his choice of upmarket hamburger, George Osborne will have another option this week as Sir Charles Dunstone opens the first Five Guys outlet in the UK. Sir Charles, co-founder of Carphone Warehouse, is bringing Five Guys to the UK after discovering the fast-growing chain in an American newspaper and then testing its burgers at an outlet at New York’s Rockefeller Plaza.
One of the biggest fashion retailers in the US, American Eagle Outfitters, is looking to move into the UK market. American Eagle, which has more than 1,000 stores in the US, has hired property agent Harper Dennis Hobbs to find a store in central London and met with key landlords last week. The retailer is the latest in a growing line of youth US fashion brands to target the UK.
Marks & Spencer is to provide work placements for 1,400 young unemployed people in a joint scheme with Prince Charles's The Prince's Trust. The new project will see the retailer offer the month-long attachments with a view to giving 16 to 24-year-olds training on the job as well as opportunity to work for M&S full time once the placement is complete.
Tens of thousands of diseased cattle, slaughtered after testing positive for bovine tuberculosis (bTB), are being sold for human consumption by Defra, the food and farming ministry, an investigation by The Sunday Times has found. The raw meat, from around 28,000 diseased animals a year, is banned by most supermarkets and burger chains. Tesco, for example, does not take it due to “public-health concerns surrounding the issue of bTB and its risk to consumers”.
Hedge funds have been forced to throttle back their attack on Ocado after the online grocer’s lucrative licensing deal with WM Morrison, the country’s fourth-biggest supermarket. Ocado has defied City expectations to become the best-performing share in London this year. Its stock has risen more than 240% since January, driven by the £216m contract to help Morrisons set up an internet delivery business.
One of Britain’s biggest pub companies has been put up for sale at a price of up to £300m. Orchid, which runs more than 250 pubs and restaurants, is working with advisers at Sapient, a corporate finance firm, to find a buyer. It is being sold by Deutsche Bank, which took control last year after a debt-for-equity swap.
Online grocer Ocado is expected to drop back into the red for the first half of this year, with analysts predicting that the company will reveal a loss at its interim results on Tuesday. Estimates show that Ocado, headed by chief executive and co-founder Tim Steiner, will have made a pre-tax loss of about £2.3 million for the 24 weeks up to May 19, against a £1.8 million profit in the same period last year.
Maternity brand Seraphine has seen sales leap after the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted admiring its clothes. Sales of one item, the £39 Brooke dress, quadrupled after the Duchess was reported to have taken a fancy to it, according to founder Cecile Reinaud. Total sales are up 40 per cent since March, when Kate was linked with the brand. She has since bought 12 dresses from the company, including its spotty Renata design.
Nearly 500,000 families are borrowing the money to buy food and other essentials. Payday loan firms are charging them up to £100 a month in interest. Many families are spiralling into debt and face being made homeless because of the extortionate interest charges. One firm adds £99.55 over 30 days to borrow just £308, the average monthly shopping bill.
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