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Retail round up - The Thursday papers

M&S sees improvement but predicts tough 2010,Retailers battle for iPhone rights,Talking hamster and electronic kitten top of Christmas wishlists,Honey from Fortnum & Mason's roof on sale,IMF warns credit could affect UK recovery,'Woolworths' set to return to the high street next month,M&S and Waitrose tussle over prices as sales improve..

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Retail round up - The Thursday papers

The Daily Telegraph
Marks & Spencer continued its rehabilitation with the best sales performance in two years, but warned consumers are unlikely to feel any better next year.Executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose refused to say the recession is over, either for the country or for the retailer, but said things have reached a bottom."I don't think there's any reason why everyone is going to suddenly feel much better," he said, citing higher VAT and income tax rises next year, coupled with growing unemployment. "But I don't think they're going to feel much worse." Full article here.

Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U were on Wednesday battling for the rights to sell the iPhones on Vodafone and Orange's networks.Carphone is understood to be close to agreeing terms with Vodafone over the sale of Apple's hugely popular device.At present Carphone has exclusive retailer rights to sell the iPhone through an agreement with Apple and O2, which until this week held the sole network rights to the iPhone. Full article here.

A talking hamster and an electronic kitten are likely to be hits with children this Christmas, Argos has said. Argos said role-play toys with a technological "twist" were predicted to be the hot trend this festive season.The retailer is tipping Go Go Hamsters - artificially intelligent rodents able to talk and move around their hamster ''funhouses'' - as one of the top 10 toys for Christmas. Full article here.

Jars of honey harvested on the roof of Fortnum & Mason, the upmarket department store, are being sold for £10.Fortnum & Mason said bees attracted to hives at its base in Piccadilly, central London, produced a bumper crop of 400 jars.The store said most of the 227-gram jars were pre-ordered, although 60 remained on sale today. Full article here.

The Times
Britain was named yesterday as one of the countries most vulnerable to a credit shortage between now and the end of next year.In its closely watched Global Financial Stability Report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that British companies and households faced far bigger shortfalls in the availability of credit than in other economies. Full article here.

The Independent
Less than 10 months after Woolworths' final stores closed, the iconic style is set for a high street comeback. Alworths – a new "Son-of-Woolworths" chain selling everything from picture frames to pick 'n' mix confectionery – will open its first batch of stores next month.The grand opening on 5 November will be 100 years to the day since Frank Winfield Woolworth unveiled his "five-and-dime" concept to Britain with his first shop, in Liverpool. Three former Woolworths sites – Didcot in Oxfordshire, Wokingham in Berkshire and Faversham in Kent are the front- runners for the opening. Full article here.

Marks & Spencer released better-than-expected sales figures for the second quarter yesterday, and sparked a row with its rival Waitrose by claiming that much M&S food was cheaper.Sir Stuart Rose, the executive chairman of M&S, said: "In food, we have realigned our pricing over the year. We are now cheaper on a basket of about 1,200 or 1,400 items than Waitrose by about 1 per cent. We are much closer to Sainsbury's. In some areas we are very, very close."

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