Retail round up - The Tuesday papers
The Daily Telegraph
Compensation cheques for customers of Farepak, the Christmas hamper business that collapsed almost three years ago, are being sent out by company administrators but only 5,900 of the 100,000 who lost out are in line for payments. Full article
High Street giant Marks and Spencer has scrapped its 90-day, ‘no quibble’ returns policy to outrage from loyal customers.The chain store decided to reduce the time limit to 35 days – “in line with the market” – but consumer groups warned it risked losing its “special” place in the hearts of British shoppers as a result.The move was introduced in April without fanfare – although the date by which clothes must be returned is printed on receipts – but there are now signs of a customer backlash with angry messages posted on online message boards. Full article.
The British economy did not shrink as much as feared in the second quarter, official figures published today are expected to show.Experts expect that a final estimate will show that gross domestic product shrank by 0.6pc in the three months to June compared with a 0.7pc contraction the Office for National Statistics gave in an estimate at the end of last month.A final upward revision will come as little surprise and follows upward revisions of industrial production and construction output data. Full article.
A trade dispute over tariffs on cheap Chinese shoes is brewing at the European Commission as Italian and Spanish footwear manufacturers prepare to fight for continued European protection against Far Eastern imports.The Commission is considering an extension of anti-dumping duties put in place in 2006 to protect the European Union’s footwear manufacturers from import surges. The measures — a 16.5 per cent duty on Chinese shoes and a 10 per cent tariff on Vietnamese footwear — are strongly opposed by retailers and most EU member states, including Britain. Full article.
Jessops, Britain’s largest photographic and camera retailer, will today come under the control of its bank, pension fund and an employee trust under a debt-for-equity swap that will leave investors with less than 5p in the pound.HSBC will take a 47 per cent stake in return for forgoing £34 million of debt. The company said that the move would save 2,000 jobs.A new company, called Snap Equity, will take control of Jessops’ assets, with the Jessops pension fund taking a 33 per cent stake alongside HSBC and an employee benefit trust, which will take a 20 per cent shareholding. Full article
Borders UK has confirmed it plans to remove the Books Etc and Borders Express brands from the high street. The bookseller – which in July completed a management buyout backed by the retail restructuring specialist Hilco – is trying to sell its remaining seven Books Etc shops and two smaller format Borders Express stores. Full article.
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