Sunday News Roundup
The Sunday Times
If you run Tesco, every little jet helps. Britain’s biggest supermarket chain has a fleet of three corporate jets based at Luton airport, including a £37m Gulfstream G550. Revelation of the details will be embarrassing for Philip Clarke, chief executive, who is in the middle of a £1bn turnaround of the company’s underperforming British stores.
An American private equity giant is plotting an audacious double swoop on Britain’s struggling high street. Apollo, a vulture fund, is close to making a fresh move on HMV just weeks after gobbling up some of its loans on the cheap. Its ultimate aim is to take control of the troubled music and DVD chain.
Morrisons will reveal tomorrow that it was the big loser in the Christmas grocery battle, with the market expecting sales to have fallen by more than 2% compared with last year. The poor trading will pile pressure on Dalton Philips, chief executive, who has been under fire for failing to move into convenience stores and online shopping.
Thomas Cook and Tui have kicked off the process to sell their stake in Nats, Britain’s air traffic controller. The travel operators are part of a seven - strong consortium called the Airline Group, which includes British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and easyJet. It owns 42% of Nats. The government is the biggest shareholder with 49%.
A Tiny London clothing company has trumped Adidas by taking over as the kit supplier to Team Sky, the world’s top cycling team. Rapha has snatched the deal from the German sportswear giant. It has won a four-year contract to provide clothing and equipment to the team’s riders, including Sir Bradley Wiggins, winner of last year’s Tour de France.
Rumours have been swirling for months that Justin King, chief executive of J Sainsbury, will soon announce plans to check out of the grocer after nine years at the helm. Having turned round the business, enjoyed 31 quarters of sales growth and delivered its biggest market share in almost a decade.
The Mail on Sunday
Goody Good Stuff, which makes sweets for people with allergies or restricted diets, is expanding in the US and Middle East. Launched in August 2010, its sweets are already sold in more than 5,500 outlets, including Waitrose and Asda, and exported to 21 markets including France, Germany and Hong Kong.
Costa, Britain’s largest chain of coffee shops, which is about to open an outlet in Southwold. However, the residents of Southwold, a town famed for its old world charm, independent shops and artistic community, do not consider themselves to be fortunate at all.
Former JJB chief executive Chris Ronnie will appear in court this week after he filed an application to have fraud charges dismissed. Ronnie has been charged with several offences in connection with a £1million fraud alleged to have taken place in 2008.
Fashion chain Jigsaw, which counts the Duchess of Cambridge among its former employees, has reversed its fortunes and laid down plans for overseas expansion after ditching sister chain Kew. Sales surged by ten per cent to £60million in the year to September. It made a profit of £1.5million compared with a loss of £21million in the previous year, although that included one-off restructuring charges.
Rigby & Peller, bra maker to the Queen, is planning a major overseas expansion drive this year now that it is nestled in the bosom of Belgium’s Van de Velde group, which bought a majority stake in mid-2011.
Morrisons faces a clash with shareholders over its strategy after a disastrous Christmas when it failed to match its main rivals. Trading figures due Monday morning and grocery sales data to be issued by market share firm Kantar on Tuesday will show that the supermarket did not keep pace with Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s.
Luxury goods group Mulberry has awarded senior staff almost £3m of new share options in the wake of its share price fall in the second half of 2012.The awards include more than £1m of shares to chief executive Bruno Guillon, whose previous options were “under water” – worthless – as a result of the dramatic price fall.
Christmas was chaotic for thousands of consumers who were left out of pocket when packages went astray. Hundreds of thousands of people who opted to shop online this Christmas were left frustrated by disastrous service, with many still struggling to trace missing parcels or get their money back. There is growing alarm that consumers are losing out because of glaring flaws in the quality of service provided by some parcel courier firms.
On the menu this week: post-festive results presentations from the big four. This week three wise men will trot out to face the City as the retail reporting season kicks off with a trio of Yuletide updates from the listed supermarkets Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco.
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