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Retail round up - The Thursday papers

Sir Stuart Rose's fans help M&S survive rebellion at placid AGM,eBay calls for laws to ban companies' 'bully boy' trading restrictions,Facebook could turn over $1billion this year,Primark overseas director steps down,Co-operative Group to run package holidays,JJB seeks rule change on conflicts of interest...

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Retail round up - The Thursday papers

The Daily Telegraph
Marks & Spencer
survived a shareholder rebellion after investors failed to vote through a resolution aimed at bringing forward the appointment of a new chairman.At M&S's surprisingly calm annual shareholder meeting, 40pc of shareholders backed a special motion put forward by the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) calling for the retailer to appoint a new chairman to replace Sir Stuart Rose by July 2010, a year earlier than planned. The motion, which the company argued was merely advisory, required 75pc backing to be passed and was therefore kicked into the long grass. The LAPFF was protesting about Sir Stuart's joint role as chief executive and chairman.Full article.

Internet auction site eBay is today launching a major campaign against large companies, which it claims are "bullying" small British retailers. eBay claims almost half of online traders have been banned from selling branded products at a discount to high street shops. It said large companies' "bully boy" tactics are costing consumers millions of pounds at a time when people are turning to the internet in search of bargains.eBay is calling on all its 14m British members to petition the European Union to introduce laws to prevent companies from blocking internet sales of their goods.Full article.

Facebook is set to earn in excess of $500m in revenue this year and could top the $1 billion mark if it pushes its advertising sales harder.According to Mark Andreessen, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur who sits on the Facebook board, the world’s most popular social network could hit the $1 billion revenue mark “if they [Facebook] pushed the throttle forward on monetisation”, he told Reuters.However, he said the focus for social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter at the moment had to be about market share and retaining their large use bases.Full article.

The Independent
Primark's director
of international trading has quit after less than a year, at a time when the discount fashion retailer is cranking up its European expansion programme.The high street chain, owned by Associated British Foods, announced the departure of Guy Young, who was also responsible for buying stock for the company's overseas stores, to staff last week.The revelation is likely to raise eyebrows among retail analysts because Mr Young was hired from Primark's discount rival on the Continent, C&A, only last summer. It is unclear if he has another job to go to.Full article.

The Financial Times.
The Co-operative Group is taking a plunge into the package holiday market in spite of turbulent industry conditions, with the hope that its brand will attract customers concerned about airline and tour operator failures in the recession.With its high street travel shops already among the UK’s top three holiday retailers, the Co-op on Wednesday began selling packages under its own name for summer 2010 in a joint venture with Cosmos Holidays, the UK’s largest independent tour operator, and sister airline Monarch, part of Globus Group.Full article.


JJB Sports is to seek shareholder support for a change in the rules to permit conflicts of interest where they are in the company’s broader interests.Shareholders will vote on the proposal at the annual meeting on July 24. Other companies are making similar alterations to their rules after changes in legislation but the issue is likely to be particularly sensitive for JJB following recent revelations about a £1.5m loan made to Sir David Jones, executive chairman, by his business rival Mike Ashley.Full article.

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