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Retail round up - The Thursday papers.

Whole Foods boss: We sell a 'bunch of junk', Tesco criticised by vegetarians for using waste meat to generate electricity,'Worst of recession over', according to leading UK forecaster, The internet beats summer holidays,Sports Direct writes off £3.6m of Chinese stock, Mauritius Times gets heated over M&S,Car sales rise for first time in over a year,Social sites losing popularity with young...

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Retail round up - The Thursday papers.

The Telegraph
John Mackey, the chief executive of Whole Foods, one of London's leading organic supermarkets, has told customers he sells "a bunch of junk".Mr Mackey admitted shoppers had been let down by filling his shelves with fat-laden products.He said: "We sell a bunch of junk. We've decided if Whole Foods doesn't take a leadership role in educating people about a healthy diet, who the heck is going to do it?" While his comments were intended to stir shops into action, they revived memories of the jewellery chain tycoon Gerald Ratner, who made one of the most famous gaffes in corporate history.e saw his business empire collapse after claiming one of his products was "total crap". Full article here.

Tesco has been condemned by animal rights campaigners for sending its waste meat to be turned into electricity.The Vegetarians International Voice for Animals (Viva) claims that consumers should be informed if any of their home electricity is being generated by what it described as the "macabre" recycling process.Tesco now sends 5,000 tonnes of meat that has passed its sell-by date to be turned into enough National Grid electricity to power 600 homes for a year. Full article here.

The worst of the recession is over, The National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has said.NIESR said it hoped May would prove to be the trough of economic activity. Output is stabilising and, in the absence of further shocks, the period of sharp recession is over.NIESRs optimism was echoed by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which expects house prices to rise this year, in a startling reversal of its forecast that prices would plunge 10pc to 15pc in 2009.A slew of positive economic data and an upbeat trading update from Carpetright often seen as a bellwether for the economy prompted analysts to predict the UK could emerge from the recession as early as the third quarter.Full article here. Full article here.

Hard-pressed consumers would rather forgo foreign holidays, new clothes and nights out than give up their mobile phone, broadband internet and pay-TV subscription.New research from Ofcom, the communications watchdog, shows consumers hold only personal care products and groceries as more important than access to the internet.Asked what consumers would cut back on in the face of the recession, 47pc of respondents said going out for dinner, 41pc going on holiday and 25pc buying new clothes.But only 19pc would rein in mobile-phone spending, 16pc TV subscriptions and 10pc broadband. Full article here.

Sports Direct, the sports goods retailer run by Mike Ashley, has written off nearly 4m worth of stock after ambitious plans to expand into China ran into trouble.The chain had signed a deal with Chinese retailer ITAT to open Sports Direct-branded areas in 121 of its stores. The idea was that the areas would sell bespoke sports products designed and manufactured specifically for the Chinese market. Full article here.

The weekly Mauritius Times publication last month carried an article by an anthropologist that savaged the strategy adopted by Sir Stuart Rose, M&S's executive chairman.Dr Sean Carey, a research fellow at the Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism (CRONEM) at Roehampton University, wrote in the paper that M&S is "trying desperately to regain something of its former glory".Full article here.

The Financial times.
New car sales in the UK rose for the first time in 15 months in July as a government scrappage scheme coaxed more buyers back into dealerships.Registrations of new cars rose 2.4 per cent last month to 157,149 units, according to data published on Thursday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders industry group. The scrappage scheme, which gives people trading in cars 10 years or older a 2,000 discount on their purchase of a new vehicle, took effect on May 18. Full article here.

Social networking websites have lost some of their cool factor with younger users and are on their way to becoming the preserve of the middle-aged, according to figures published by Ofcom.The proportion of British 15- to 24-year-olds with a profile on a social networking site such as Facebook or MySpace fell for the first time last year from 55 per cent to 50 per cent, according to the communications regulator. Full article here.

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