Retail round up - The Tuesday papers
Shoppers opting for supermarket own brand triples in a year, Bibby Line eyes further stake in Costcutter, Confidence returns to housing market but growth stays slow, Government under pressure to overhaul pre-pack rules, Tesco hides figures after missing target to reduce plastic bag usage, Wyevale brand pruned as new boss promises 'return to village green', Trusted grocers could fill in lending gaps, Whole Foods makes Â£36m loss in Britain, Metro warns of further retail woe...
The Daily Telegraph
Latest figures suggest 73 per cent of shoppers are ditching premium labels in their weekly food shop, up from 25 per cent a year ago. Supermarkets have been expanding their own brand products in a bid to stop consumers switching to cheaper chains and the shift is paying dividends, according to the findings by price comparison uSwitch.com.Full article here.
The Bibby Line Group, which has made a bid approach for Nisa-Today's, is looking to buy the remaining 49pc stake of Costcutter that it does not already own.The company already has 51pc of Costcutter, an independent convenience store chain. It is understood that as part of its move to acquire Nisa-Today's, Bibby also plans to buy the rest of Costcutter from Colin Graves, its founder and the chairman of Yorkshire Cricket Club.This is because Bibby wants to put both Nisa-Today's and Costcutter into its retail services division. Sources said the company believes there are significant "synergies" to be had from managing both businesses as part of a larger group that already has a strong focus on logistics and distribution.
More than half of people believe that house prices will rise by July 2010, but the public concern over unemployment will mean the increase will only be marginal, according to research by website propertyfinder.com. The survey of confidence in the housing market showed that for the first time this year agents expect house prices and transactions to rise in the third quarter of this year.The report, which comes after Nationwide reported a third successive month of rising house prices, said that the return of property investors who are looking to take advantage of low house prices, following an average 17pc fall from their peak in November 2007, was viewed as the main reason for likely house price growth. But the availability of mortgage finance remains a concern for the vast majority, particularly would-be home buyers.Full article here.
The Government is under pressure to overhaul rules on pre-pack administrations – the controversial bankruptcy procedure – ahead of a likely surge in insolvencies in the coming months.Shaun Purrington, a director at credit insurer Atradius, said further steps to protect unsecured creditors in "pre-packs" were needed "as a matter of urgency"."We anticipate a further wave of insolvencies in the run-up to Christmas and although pre-packs were designed to protect businesses, the converse is true, as they allow existing creditors to be sacrificed," he said. Full article here.
Britain’s biggest supermarket chain has published misleading figures giving the impression that it had met an industry target to halve the use of plastic bags.The Times has learnt that Tesco, which claims to be one of the greenest retailers, missed the target and tried to conceal its actual performance.Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, called on Tesco and other supermarkets to be more honest with customers about how many plastic bags they were issuing. He urged them to publish individual figures so that shoppers could compare them.The Government has threatened to ban free carriers unless supermarkets make progress in cutting the number through voluntary agreements.Full article here.
The Wyevale Garden Centres brand will all but disappear in a “return to the village green” strategy developed by its new chief executive, keen to stress the local and horticultural credentials of Britain’s biggest plant and garden retailer.The moves comes after control of the retailer shifted from Sir Tom Hunter — who bought it in 2006 — to its lending bank.Nicholas Marshall, chief executive since November, has renamed it The Garden Centre Group. He wants to return the company — which has bought several different garden centres over the years, including Country Gardens, then run by Mr Marshall — to its “horticultural roots”. Full article here.
Most ethically minded consumers want a strict limit imposed on bank pay and bonuses, a poll for The Times has found.The latest monthly Concerned Consumer survey, carried out by Populus, also shows that most consumers want banks to be forced to split their investment banking arms from their less risky high street banking divisions.About 96 per cent of those surveyed want to limit the pay and bonuses of bankers, with 26 per cent saying that this should apply also to banks that have not benefited from government support.David Lourie, a consultant at Good Business, the ethical consultancy, said that the depth of feeling was symptomatic of the fact that the financial sector was out of phase with the rest of the economy and showed that consumers do not differentiate between banks. Full article here.
The British arm of Whole Foods Market made a £35.9m loss last year, laying bare the scale of the challenge it faces to establish itself on these shores.The US natural and organic food retailer opened its UK flagship on London's trendy High Street Kensington to a fanfare in June 2007 to take on Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, but it is yet to open another store. The 80,000 sq ft flagship has struggled to compete against established UK grocers, and has, at times, suffered from woeful customer traffic, as well as customers trading down and away from pricier organic food during the recession. Full article here.
The Financial Times.
Metro, the German retailer, on Monday dashed hopes for a rebound in Europe’s largest economy when it posted a second-quarter profit drop and said an upswing in consumer spending remained out of Eckhard Cordes, Metro’s chief executive, said he expected retail sales to fall further in the second half. Full article here.
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