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Retail round up - The Wednesday papers

Tesco linked to early sale of Northern Rock,UK economy shrinks at fastest rate for 50 years,Lack of properties props up house valuations,credit insurance hits Threshers,Oxford Street launches world's first high street fashion week,Tesco's treatment of staff overseas comes under fire from trade union,Pirc backs moves to force M&S to split Rose's role...


Retail round up - The Wednesday papers

The Times
Tesco has emerged
as a potential bidder for Northern Rock as the Government races to sell the state-owned lender before a general election, The Times has learnt.The supermarket chain has shown provisional interest in buying the bank nationalised as the credit crisis brought the financial system within hours of collapse. Virgin, which tried to buy Northern Rock at the time, has expressed renewed interest and private equity funds have made inquiries.Full article.

Gordon Brown’s hopes for a pre-election fightback founded on an emerging economic recovery suffered a severe blow as official figures showed the recession will be even deeper and longer than already feared.Overhauled figures revealed that the economy slumped at its fastest pace for 50 years in the first quarter, plummeting by 2.4 per cent, far worse than previous estimates showing an already savage 1.9 per cent decline.Full article.

Hopes that the housing market may be starting to bottom out were boosted on Tuesday, when new figures showed that house prices had risen in June for the third time in four months.Prices rose by 0.9 per cent during the month, adding nearly £2,500 to the value of an average property, figures from Nationwide showed.The annual decline in prices also eased to 9.3 per cent last month, compared with 11.3 per cent in May. This is the first time that the year-on-year fall has been in single digits since July last year. The average price of a property is now £156,442, up from a low of £147,746 in February, Nationwide said.Full article.

The Daily Telegraph
Alcohol deliveries to certain franchisees of the Threshers off-licence chain have been disrupted following the reduction of credit insurance to a number of the retailer's suppliers.Threshers, which is part of the private equity-owned First Quench Retailing (FQR), said that there have been "some temporary out of stocks in the supply chain" due to a scaling back of credit insurance.Full article.

Oxford Street in London, regarded as the world’s most famous shopping ‘mile’, will host the country’s first high street fashion week in September.Leading retailers including Debenhams, John Lewis, Uniqlo and Topman have already signed on for the event and talks are under way with other major household names including Selfridges, Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Marks & Spencer.The organisers plan to launch the week on Monday, September 7th.Full article.

The Independent
An international
trade union group has lambasted Tesco's over its labour practices in some foreign countries, but the global retail giant hit back calling the attack "politically motivated".The UNI Tesco Global Union Alliance yesterday unveiled the first of a series of research reports criticising the UK's biggest grocer's treatment of staff in Thailand, South Korea and the US, where it opened its fledgling convenience store chain Fresh & Easy in 2007.The targeting of Tesco, which made more than £3bn pre-tax profits last year, by the network of unions comes ahead of its annual shareholders' meeting in Glasgow this week and the fact it now has operations in 14 countries.Full article.

The influential shareholder advisory body Pirc has thrown its weight behind the campaign to force Marks & Spencer to find a compromise deal over the executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose's leadership of the high-street bellwether.Pirc yesterday recommended that shareholders vote to re-elect Sir Stuart, whose dual role is a breach of best-practice corporate governance, but only based on the resolution proposed by the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum. The LAPFF has recommended that the M&S board take all reasonable and practical steps to bring forward the appointment of an independent chairman by July 2010.Full article.

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