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Sunday News Roundup

M&S chief faces more pressure as clothing sales fall again, Caffe Nero to create 1,700 jobs in the UK, Nomad on hunt for new owner, Caffe Nero founder Gerry Ford has chutzpah, Mike Ashley takes House of Fraser stake to spoil Chinese takeover. Annie Leibovitz: can her magic now bring lustre back to M&S? Marks & Spencer: chic in Paris, but losing ground at home, Consumer spending spree hits buffers: Supermarkets and electronics stores hit hardest by shock slowdown. Mike Ashley snaps up stake in House of Fraser, Made in Britain: Furniture site seeks cash, City piles pressure on Tesco boss, Out of fashion: M&S set to miss growth target, Ashley barges in on Chinese HoF takeover,


Sunday News Roundup


City analysts expect M&S's trading update to shows clothing sales to be down 1pc. The pressure on Marks & Spencer and its chief executive, Marc Bolland, will intensify this week when the retailer reports another fall in clothing sales. City analysts have taken their red pen to annual profit forecasts for M&S in recent days because of fears that its margins will be hit by heavy discounting on clothing and a price war among the major supermarkets.

Caffe Nero plans to open another 225 outlets over the next five years.Britain’s third-largest coffee shop chain, is to create 1,700 jobs in the UK over the next five years with the opening of another 225 outlets, its founder and chief executive has revealed. Gerry Ford, who founded the company in 1997 with one “premium coffee house” in South Kensington, discloses the plans in an interview with The Telegraph.

Safari company appoints Cavendish to explore options after several buy-out approaches. Nomad, the Tanzanian safari company which offers wealthy celebrities such as Bill Gates and Harrison Ford a chance to get back to nature, is looking for a new owner. The company, best known for its barefoot luxury camps, has called in London-based corporate advisers Cavendish to explore options for the business after receiving several buy-out approaches. Nomad is likely to fetch a pricetag of around $30m (£18m), it is understood.

The chief executive and founder of Caffe Nero is confident of success in Starbucks-drenched US. Sceptics of British attempts to succeed in business in America may scoff at Caffe Nero’s plans to build a coffee shop empire in the US but Gerry Ford is having none of it.Ford, founder, chief executive and chairman of Britain’s third-largest coffee shop chain, is at pains to point out that Caffe Nero, named after the Italian for black coffee and styled on the continental coffee parlours of his youth, is a pan-European, rather than British brand.

Sports Direct owner in move to derail Chinese takeover of 125-year-old British department store. Mike Ashley has bought an 11pc stake in House of Fraser in a dramatic attempt to derail the department store chain’s sale to a Chinese conglomerate Mr Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct and owner of Newcastle United, is understood to have acquired the stake in recent days from Scottish tycoon Sir Tom Hunter, according to sources close to the deal. The sportswear tycoon has been courting House of Fraser for at least two years but his interest appeared to have cooled after he acquired an interest in rival department store Debenhams in January.


Annie Leibovitz is feted for the glamorous touch she bestows on everyone from Obama to the Queen. Her new job is to boost the fortunes of a much- loved brand. A group shot of recognisable faces, each one striking an individual pose, the whole thing brought to life through a bold use of light in order to create the highly stylised, almost cinematic quality of the final image. But this is not the glossy portrait of Hollywood A-listers one might expect her to produce. Instead, it is the new "leading ladies" advertising campaign for M&S, featuring Doreen Lawrence and Emma Thompson among others. Such is the magic of Leibovitz's touch that.

The venerable British retailer's crumpets and digestives have an exotic allure abroad, but still look all too familiar in Britain. Everyone looks their best when they are on holiday – even Marks & Spencer, which escorted investors and the press corps around "gay Paree" last week. Boss Marc Bolland was able to trumpet the success of "Le M&S" in a city where its crumpets and digestive biscuits are "exotique" and its casualwear brand Indigo captures the "spirit of bohème chic".

Mail on Sunday

Consumer spending crashed last month with the slowest growth in more than a year, according to exclusive figures obtained by The Mail on Sunday. Spending rose by just 1.1 per cent in March compared with the same month last year – a lower rate than inflation and the slowest growth for 14 months. Sales in shops actually fell, with the total dropping by 0.3 per cent, the worst performance for a year.

Retail entrepreneur Mike Ashley has snapped up an 11 per cent stake in House of Fraser, which was last week taken over by the Chinese Sanpower corporation. Billionaire Ashley bought his stake in the department store giant from Scottish businessman Sir Tom Hunter through his Sports Direct chain, it was revealed last night.


A fast-growing online furniture retailer backed by co-founder Brent Hoberman is exploring a float. is understood to have held talks with City advisers in recent weeks about a potential share offering. The company operates in Britain, France and Italy and is seeking funds to speed up its European expansion. It is understood that the site, chaired by Hoberman, has not made a final decision on whether to go public and may opt to raise new money from venture capital investors.

City institutions are urging Tesco’s board to recruit a heavyweight finance director capable of taking over from the under-fire chief executive Philip Clarke. The turmoil at the top of Britain’s biggest retailer was laid bare last week with the resignation of long- serving finance director Laurie McIlwee. Senior sources at the company said McIlwee had fallen out with Clarke, questioning his management style and ability to lead.

Marks & Spencer is on the verge of missing sales targets laid out two years ago, piling pressure on its chief executive Marc Bolland. The retailer will announce an 11th consecutive quarter of falling clothing sales on Thursday, with general merchandise forecast to drop by 1%. Food sales are predicted to rise by 0.1%. Analysts now expect M&S to report £10.3bn of sales for the year to March — below the £10.8bn to £11.5bn promised by Bolland in 2012.

Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley has gatecrashed a Chinese tycoon’s purchase of House of Fraser, seizing an 11% stake at the last minute. The Newcastle United owner bought his stake from the Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter a week ago. He then tried to derail the Chinese deal by offering to buy out other shareholders. The coup failed, but he has denied Sanpower, a Chinese conglomerate, full ownership.


Mike Ashley's Sports Direct is buying a stake in House of Fraser, marking its second foray into department stores this year as the Newcastle United owner cultivates his huge UK shopping empire, The Independent on Sunday has learnt. The sports firm, which recently bought a stake in Debenhams, is buying House of Fraser shares owned by private equity firm West Coast Capital, which was founded by Mr Ashley's friend and business associate Sir Tom Hunter.

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