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Sunday News Roundup

When it comes to the crunch, Tyrrells crisps are still very much British, TGI Friday's plans to double UK presence, Supermarkets in new 'space race', Tesco titans Terry Leahy and Andrew Higginson could clash in a battle of the pound shops, Major fashion chain bosses set to accuse Royal Bank of Scotland of fraud, Shops tsar Mary Portas blasts Coalition as planners back more out-of-town shopping centres, Discount fever fiercer than ever says Debenhams boss Michael Sharp, Co-operative Group slashes funding for charities, Slash business rates before we shut up shop, say retailersk, High street rescue plan fails to halt rush out of town, High street rescue plan fails to halt rush out of town, Big day for small business. H&T joins race for pawn empire, China Dream, High streets 'are being failed by planning law'


Sunday News Roundup


Tyrrells crisps boss David Milner talks about his very home-grown brand. On the front of a vividly coloured pack of Tyrrells, the brand name and the promise of “hand cooked English crisps” sit beneath black and white photographs of English eccentrics in various poses. The back promises that the crisps were grown and fried in Herefordshire. In the public’s mind there might be some confusion. Last August Tyrrells was sold to Investcorp, a Middle East-backed private equity firm domiciled in Bahrain.

American-themed restaurant chain hopes to double in size in the UK over the next six years, TGI Friday's, the American-themed restaurant chain, is hoping to double in size in the UK over the next six years as it prepares to roll out smaller outlets in university towns and at stations. The chain, which began in New York in 1965 and came to Britain in 1986, is hoping to open its first branch at a station or airport next year after the success of its restaurant at the O2 arena, where customers can eat quickly before a concert. 

'Pipeline' of grocery stores in the UK has grown 67pc since the onset of the credit crisis in 2007 to 48.06m sq ft. The amount of new supermarket space due to open in the UK has overtaken the number of proposed shopping centre developments for the first time ever, despite claims that the grocery “space race” is over. According to data from the property agent CBRE, the “pipeline” of grocery stores in the UK has grown 67pc since the onset of the credit crisis in 2007 to 48.06m sq ft.

The Telegraph meets former Tesco heavyweights Sir Terry Leahy and Andrew Higginson. There's just one catch - don't mention Tesco. The text message came through two weeks ago. Sir Terry Leahy, the former chief executive of Tesco, was happy to join his old colleague Andrew Higginson for an interview on one condition. There was no mention of Tesco. Sir Terry would also prefer that whatever The Telegraph chose to run, it would appear only after the third-quarter trading update from the supermarket chain he turned into a world-beater. 

Mail on Sunday

Allegations that Royal Bank of Scotland destroyed small firms for profit are set to take a major new twist as ex-directors and shareholders of failed fashion chain Peacocks consider a complaint to the Serious Fraud Office. The SFO is already examining a dossier relating to the state-owned bank, but an intervention by those closest to the collapse of budget fashion retailer Peacocks would mark a dramatic escalation in the scandal. It would be the first time anyone directly connected with a national chain has made a formal complaint.

David Cameron’s ‘high street tsar’, Mary Portas, has slammed the Coalition after it emerged that out-of-town shopping centres are still being backed by local planning authorities. Campaigners claim that 38 of 43 approved developments in the past 18 months are for outside or the edge of towns and that the Government’s ‘town centre first’ policy is failing to arrest decline.

Debenhams boss Michael Sharp’s wife and five daughters should look away now – because he is telling me what he may be buying them for Christmas. ‘I’ll probably get one of the [Debenhams in-house label] Bailey & Quinn handbags, Flowerbomb perfume by Viktor & Rolf, and Tom Ford’s Black Orchid,’ he says. He reels off a list of other fragrances as we pass by the beauty and cosmetics department.


The scandal-hit Co-operative Group is cutting funding for ethical causes while paying hundreds of thousands of pounds to former Tory aides for advice, the Observer can reveal. After a series of financial and sex scandals, it has emerged that the board of the Co-operative Group is cutting or terminating donations to charities and organisations, some of which are now facing closure. The organisations include the 130-year-old Co-operative Women's Guild and the Mutuo thinktank, which has been advising the government on public sector reform, as well as Supporters Direct, which promotes fan ownership of football clubs.

Tax on high street operators is 'outdated, unfair and bad for the economy'. Grocery giants and independents rarely agree on anything, but when it comes to business rates they speak with a single voice: they say it's an unfair tax on high street operators and a major overhaul is long overdue. Last week, in his autumn statement, George Osborne insisted he had been listening, and announced a series of measures to help lift the burden and reinvigorate UK high streets at the same time. The chancellor limited the increase in business rates to 2% – an inflation-linked 3.2% increase had been looming. He also slashed by £1,000 the amount paid by businesses with rateable values up to £50,000, and halved rates for retailers opening in vacant properties.

Sunday Times

Efforts to revive town centres by forcing planners to favour high streets over out-of-town sites for new shops have failed, research says. The “town centre first” approach was enshrined in the government’s national planning policy framework (NPPF), introduced in March last year. But research to be published tomorrow by the Association of Convenience Stores found that 76% of new retail floor space given planning permission since then was outside town centres. Of 43 large applications granted planning approval, just five were in town centres, seven were on the edge of towns and the remaining 31 were out of town.

Hundreds of entrepreneurs eager to open their own shops set up temporary “pop-up” stalls to promote their products yesterday on Small Business Saturday, writes Kiki Loizou. The nationwide event, the first of its kind, aimed to convince the public of the benefits of supporting local shops. It is based on a similar event started in America three years ago. “A pop-up is a great chance to get products out there before opening a shop,” said Victoria Eggs, 30, who started a business selling kitchenware two years ago. Last week she rented space in St James’s Gateway, west London, part of the Crown Estate. More than 120 start-ups applied for space but only 19 made the cut.

High street rival battles with American vulture for stricken Albemarle & Bond. The pawnbroker H&T is weighing a takeover offer for its beleaguered rival Albemarle & Bond, which is buckling under a £50m debt mountain. H&T faces stiff competition from Apollo Global Management, a New York vulture fund, which is trying to buy the ailing business’s loans. The battle follows a tumultuous fortnight for Albemarle & Bond, which has put itself up for sale after a boardroom exodus that has left it with just one independent director.

New Look is preparing to open its first stores in China, form a joint venture in Russia, and buy out its franchise partner in Poland, writes Oliver Shah. The fashion retailer is ramping up international growth as its private equity owners, Apax Partners and Permira, groom it for another attempt at a float. New Look is understood to have signed leases for 14 stores in China for next year and two for 2015. It could open up to eight more shops there next year.


Britain's beleaguered high streets are still failing despite the Government's much-vaunted Town Centre First policy, which pledged to protect small independent shopkeepers from out-of-town shopping developments, new research claims.The study found that more than three-quarters of new retail space approved since the national planning laws came into force last year have been located outside of town centres – exactly the opposite of what the legislation was created for.




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