Retail round up - The Thursday papers
Vodafone will return to Carphone Warehouse on Thursday almost three years after it withdrew its mobile phone contract offerings from Carphone's stores in favour an exclusive deal with the retailer's bitter rival Phones4U.The deal will be a major boost for Carphone, the UK's largest independent mobile phone retailer, which is struggling with slumping demand for new phones.Carphone shares dropped 14pc when Vodafone announced in October 2006 that it would only allow Phones4U to sell its contract tariffs. Analysts estimated that the decision cost Carphone about £20m a year in lost sales. Full article.
Blockbuster films including Batman’s The Dark Knight and James Bond’s Quantum of Solace have helped to boost sales of Blu-ray discs in the UK. New figures from the British Video Association (BVA), using data from the Official Charts Company, show that Blu-ray disc sales continued to rise despite the recession. With 1,500 Blu-ray releases now available , more than 3.1m of the discs have been sold in 2009 to date, a rise of 231pc on the same period last year.However, the BVA said that due to consumers upgrading to Blu-ray and the impact of the recession there had been a fall in the number of DVDs sold. Sales were down 9.5pc year-on-year, bringing the total number of discs purchased so far this year to 100m. Full article.
Richard Lambert, the director general of the CBI, said on Wednesday that the British economy was “undergoing a massive course of steroids” but it was not clear yet where sustainable growth would come from once the medication has worn off.Speaking in London at Politeia, the social and economic forum, he said the drivers behind potential recovery – including monetary and fiscal stimulus – were temporary in nature and the worry therefore was that they would not provide a basis for long-term recovery. Mr Lambert added that businesses are worried about a number of uncertainties, including the weak state of the credit markets and the public finances. “Monetary and fiscal easing can’t go on forever,” he said. Full article.
Sir Stuart Rose, the executive chairman of Marks & Spencer, claimed that consumer confidence could be “stabilising” as the retailer reported a smaller-than-expected drop in first quarter sales. M&S said that like-for-like sales over the 13 weeks to June 27 fell by 1.4pc, compared with an expected decline of 2.5pc. Within this, clothing and furniture sales fell by 2.4pc – compared with a consensus in the City of minus 3.4pc –and food sales fell by 0.5pc – compared to a consensus of minus 2.1pc. Full article.
Millions of travellers will pay much less to use their mobile phones while abroad within the European Union after new regulations came into force today.Under the new limits there is a single tariff covering all 27 EU member states - bringing the maximum charge for making a call while abroad down to 37p per minute. Receiving calls now costs a maximum of 17p per minute. Full article.
In an unusual move by a US national retailer, Kmart has launched a discount programme for unemployed people. The plan applies to Michigan, which has the highest unemployment rate of any US state – 14.1 per cent in May, compared with a national average of 9.4 per cent. The Detroit metropolitan area has the highest unemployment rate of any US city, at 14.9 per cent. Kmart says it will issue people who are registered as unemployed in the state a “Smart Assist Savings” card, valid for six months, entitling them to 20 per cent reductions on Kmart’s private label goods, including toilet paper, baby products, cleaners and some basic groceries. Full article.
Kroger, the largest US traditional supermarket group by sales, has been rolling out a "new lower prices" campaign across its more than 2,400 stores, with yellow and red signs highlighting prices on fresh produce, meat, and health and beauty products.Simultaneously, its weekly newspaper advertising inserts have been highlighting its low cost private-label goods under the heading "value for the way you live." The adverts are part of a cacophony of price cutting promotions from America's national and regional supermarket chains - as they compete against Wal-Mart's low-cost supercenters and small hard discounters for their share of weekly food and grocery spending by hard pressed consumers. Full article
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