Retail round up - The Weekend papers
Jamie's Italian, the restaurant chain founded and majority-owned by Jamie Oliver, is in the early stages of considering a stock market float which could value the company at approximately £100m.The float would mark the popular television chef's first foray into the public markets, and be a real test of the enduring nature of his 10-year-old brand.Mr Oliver and his wife, Jules, own a significant portion of the shares, with other investors including Lady Pauline Smith, wife of fashion designer Sir Paul Smith.The company is known to have talked to a number of well-known City investment banks since the turn of the year in connection with a possible float and has discussed the move at board level.
Staff at John Lewis and Waitrose stores are likely to be awarded bonuses equivalent to between 16pc and 18pc of their annual salaries when parent company John Lewis Partnership (JLP) announces profits on Wednesday.The significant payout comes after the department store and supermarket group had a strong year in the face of some of the toughest high street conditions for years. Analysts expect JLP, which is owned by its staff, or "partners", to report pre-tax profit of £352m, up 15pc from £306.6m last year.
Ocado, the online food retailer, is becoming "middle-England's online supermarket", according to finance director Andrew Bracey.He said that the percentage of households with a combined income of under £40,000 that use Ocado has increased by more than half recently. The shifting customer base debunks the myth that Ocado, which sells Waitrose products, is a "posh" supermarket, he said."We are seeing a change in demographics," said Mr Bracey.Ocado said that sales over the 12 weeks to February 20 rose by 24.7pc to £146.2m. The average number of orders placed per week increased by 26.1pc to 103,207.
Health Secretary to press ahead with tobacco sale restrictions, despite £70m cost to small retailers.The coalition will announce restrictive regulatory changes to the £13.4bn British tobacco industry on National No Smoking Day on Wednesday, which shopkeepers believe could force closures.The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, has called several retail representative bodies, which are largely against the probable changes, to his office on Wednesday morning. They include the British Retail Consortium, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents and the Association of Convenience Stores, the last of which represents more than 33,500 local shops.
Discount fashion retailer TK Maxx is planning a London shop near Piccadilly Circus after being told it "wasn't posh enough" two years ago.TK Maxx is in discussions with landlords to open a store on Haymarket, close to Piccadilly Circus in the former Burberry HQ building at Scotch House, 18-22 Haymarket.In 2009, TK Maxx agreed a deal for a shop on the south side of Piccadilly Circus, but the freeholder, The Crown Estate, objected to the letting, deeming the retailer not good enough for the area. If it secures the deal to open a store at Haymarket it will be just yards away from the original site. The Crown Estate does not have any say over the letting of the Haymarket store.The retailer has been scaling back on expansion after profits of its parent company, TJX Europe, fell by 52 per cent last year to £48.8m, but London is still a growth target.
Marks & Spencer's Richard Gillies, the director of Plan A and sustainable business, and Hunter Lovins a sustainable business expert, outlined the case for green business at SA Partners' Lean & Green conference on Thursday.Lovins said: "Companies that go green and lean are the billionaires of tomorrow. Only companies that make sustainability a goal will succeed." Marks & Spencer will sell its first carbon neutral bra later this year.
Ocado yesterday sought to dismiss concerns about Waitrose ramping up its own delivery service inside the online grocer's M25 heartland, as it delivered another sharp jump in sales.Under a new 10-year supply agreement signed by the two companies last May, Waitrose will be able to deliver from any of its shops inside the M25 from July. While the supermarket has operated its home-delivery service from five shops since 2008, it plans to add 11 stores by the end of March.Ahead of this, the grocer invested £10m in developing a new website for Waitrose Deliver and some in the City have long-term fears that a full-throttle expansion in and around London could dent Ocado's growth.However, Andrew Bracey, the finance director of Ocado, which delivers Waitrose and its own-brand groceries, said he was "not at all" concerned.He said: "Where we and Waitrose operate, what we are seeing – whether it is store-based or online customers – is that we are together taking much more market share and we are taking that from the major supermarkets."
Hermes, the French luxury goods label, yesterday became the latest top-end retailer to publish results suggesting this segment of the market is immune to economic fears.Hermes posted a 44 per cent rise in full-year profit for 2010, boosted by both tourist shoppers in Europe and buoyant sales in Asian markets. Its total sales rose to €668m last year from €463m in 2009, the company said.Hermes follows the likes of LVMH in reporting sales defying the slowdown
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