Sunday News Roundup
9 June 2013 | by The Retail Bulletin
A four-year-old boy has died after a mirror fell on him at a branch of Hugo Boss. The boy was injured at the Bicester Village shopping centre, in Oxfordshire, on Tuesday night and later died on Saturday. He was in the Hugo Boss designer clothing store at 8.40pm, when police believe a piece of a shopfitting fell on him, causing serious head injuries. The boy was taken to the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, but died in the early hours of Saturday morning. He has not yet been named. Investigating officer Detective Inspector Steve Duffy said: “Our thoughts are with the family at this time.
J Sainsbury will put rival Tesco under more pressure this week and demonstrate that it has the upper hand in Britain’s supermarket wars when it reports another increase in like-for-like sales. Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, reported a 1% like-for-like sales when it updated the market last week and the chief executive, Philip Clarke, warned that his £1bn turnaround plan is taking time to take effect. In contrast, the City expects Sainsbury’s to report its 34th consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth under the chief executive, Justin King, on Wednesday.
The women’s fashion brand Hobbs — previously renowned for its boots and providing office wear for the well-heeled — is planning to expand into China after a refresh of the brand sparked a rise in sales and profits. Hobbs, which is owned by 3i, has reversed a sluggish performance in the 2000s by ditching its formulaic linen skirts in favour of new fashion-driven ranges targeted at younger customers. This has helped to attract a new generation of consumers to the retailer, including the Duchess of Cambridge.
Mail on Sunday
Barclays is the least trusted bank in Britain, according to a new survey. Nearly one in five consumers say Barclays is the financial provider they trust the least, with the bank receiving more than twice the number of negative votes than Royal Bank of Scotland, the second most reviled institution. The survey revealed that for every positive comment about Barclays, there were four critical ones.
Sainsbury’s is expected to report the worst sales performance for eight years this week, but is still managing to keep ahead of its rivals in what is proving a turbulent period for supermarkets. The retailer has outperformed rivals such as Tesco, but brokers, including Morgan Stanley, expect it to say like-for-like sales increased in the first quarter of its financial year by just 0.8 per cent.
Retail giant Marks & Spencer is bursting out of its corporate HQ after a huge jump in the number of staff at the head office, renewing criticism that the group is top-heavy and over-managed. The total number of UK head-office staff at M&S’s base in West London’s Paddington district has increased 26 per cent to 3,955 in two years as it struggles to turn the business around. M&S moved into the ultra-modern canal-side site in 2004, but it is now spilling out of the building and has leased an adjacent office to cope with the extra staff.
Vodafone published on Friday a 16-page document defending its tax affairs as its annual report showed its top team taking a major pay cut. The group, which has come under scrutiny in the past for its payments to the Treasury, said it paid no UK corporation tax last year. It is the second year in a row that the giant’s UK corporation tax bill has been zero.
Controversial contactless payment cards pose no greater threat to security than traditional plastic ones, according to Barclaycard boss Valerie Soranno Keating. ‘The number of issues reported is extremely low and represents a tiny fraction,’ she says. The Mail on Sunday revealed last week warnings from cyber-crime experts that the new cards could be hacked by fraudsters. A mobile phone could be used to read card numbers and personal details from contactless cards without their holders ever knowing, they claim. Soranno Keating, 49, who worked for American Express for 16 years before joining Barclaycard in 2009, argues that contactless cards have not changed the risks in her industry.
Sainsbury's will cement its position as the fastest-growing of the listed supermarkets this week by posting another rise in revenue. It is expected to boast a 34th consecutive quarter of sales growth on Wednesday, compared to a 1 per cent fall at Tesco and 1.8 per cent decline at Morrisons. Sainsbury's, which counts David Beckham as a brand ambassador, is set to deliver up to a 0.6 per cent rise in sales at stores open at least a year over the 13 weeks to 8 June.
Is it a snobbish smear campaign by old-school Hermès, or a sneaky takeover attempt by brasher bling-merchant LVMH? The French authorities will decide this month. When French luxury goods firm Hermès threw down the gauntlet – a hand-stitched top-grain leather one, of course – to rival Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy in 2010, it might have been hoping for a discreet, gentlemanly outcome. Instead, the challenge sparked years of public squabbling that in the refined circles inhabited by its wealthy clients could be defined as most ungenteel. Now, having raged for three years, the Gallic "handbag war" is entering a new phase. In the next few weeks, the French authorities are expected to rule on the bitter dispute between the two firms. Did LVMH sneakily and with great subterfuge attempt a creeping takeover of Hermès when it obtained shares in the company using cash-settlement equity swaps and, it is claimed, subsidiaries? If so, it could face a fine of up to €10m.
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