Sunday News Roundup
9 December 2012 | by The Retail Bulletin
The Mail on Sunday
Whitbread-owned Costa will reveal whether the tax crisis at arch rival Starbucks has helped it pick up trade as customers shun the US chain. Costa, which has around 1,400 stores in the UK, is forecast by analysts at Barclays Equity Research to post underlying sales in its third quarter of 6 per cent.
Staff at collapsed electrical chain Comet have been told that money donated by shoppers to help them over Christmas must be handed to charity. Administrator Deloitte was concerned it should legally be treated as tips or as part of pay and so form part of the ‘assets’ available for distribution to creditors.
Starbucks could be forced to wind up its UK business and start afresh to fulfil a pledge to pay £20?million corporation tax. The coffee firm was yesterday targeted by Uncut protesters after revelations it channelled royalties through Holland to slash its tax bill in Britain.
Cash-strapped shoppers are squeezing every inch of value out of their loyalty cards as the harsh economic headwinds continue to blow, according to Nectar, the country’s biggest loyalty card scheme.
Tesco chief executive Phil Clarke has fired a warning shot across the bows of his two biggest rivals, saying Britain’s biggest supermarket is ‘back on form’, ready for the busiest two weeks of the year.
Tesco is to focus its Indian expansion on the major cities of Mumbai and Bangalore as part of chief executive Philip Clarke’s fight back on growth. The Sunday Telegraph understands that Mr Clarke met members of the Tata family – thought to include chairman Ratan Tata himself – this weekend to begin to flesh out the plans for the retailer’s push into the world’s second most populous country.
Sir Terry Leahy, the former chief executive of Tesco, is in the leading position to take over the chairmanship of online retailer The Hut Group, ahead of its expected £300m-plus float next year. The former grocer, who left the retailer last year, is understood to be the preferred candidate among a number of names in the frame.
A crackdown on two-for-one deals on alcohol in supermarkets would be a more “realistic” way of tackling binge-drinking in Britain than minimum unit pricing, one of Heineken’s top executives has said. The world’s third-biggest brewer is preparing to set out its strong opposition to UK Government plans to introduce a 45p minimum price per unit of alcohol, which it believes will penalise responsible drinkers who are in the majority in the country.
If Starbucks thought this year couldn’t get any worse, then the backlash to its decision to pay a £20m bounty to HMRC last week must have caught it by surprise. “We’ve listened to our customers,” said Kris Engskov, managing director of Starbucks UK and a former aide to President Bill Clinton, in an open letter published in national newspaper advertisements on Friday.
Cait Reilly: 'I don't think I'm above Poundland' The woman who turned down unpaid labour at Poundland on her year of legal battles and the injustice of workfare. In January this year, Reilly was the subject of an avalanche of media coverage, an unsettling experience for the shy geology graduate. She took legal action against the government when she was told she would lose her £53.45 weekly benefits unless she worked for two weeks unpaid in Poundland.
The collapse of Comet has brought its rival some festive cheer. Dixons head office staff will begin fanning out across the country this week, to help with the Christmas rush at tills and call centres. As board directors and payroll clerks take up the company tradition of spending a week on the frontline, they should be feeling particularly festive.
New and cheaper rivals to Apple's iPad and models aimed at children help to set the tills jingling. Retailers say 2012 will be a "tablet Christmas" as they gear up for a massive surge in sales of products such as the iPad Mini and Google Nexus 7. John Lewis, Argos, Currys and PC World are all expecting strong demand for tablet computers in the next fortnight, with sales at PC World and Currys already up 1,000% year on year.
The Sunday Times
Restaurants including Quaglino’s and Le Pont de la Tour are set to change hands in a deal worth about £60m. LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Bank, is the frontrunner to buy D&D London, owner of 30 leading restaurants.
Betfair's new boss is this week expected to outline plans to slash about £20m in costs at the online gambling operator. Breon Corcoran, who took over in August, will reveal an overhaul of the business at its half-year results on Thursday.
Retailer expects to beat £7.4m online sales in last two big days of Christmas. John Lewis has revealed its online sales will smash all records this month, with "three Mega Mondays in a row", convincing the high street chain to launch foreign language websites next year.
Market fears fashion house's softly, softly grasp of high-end craft firms. Laura Chesters reports. Karl Lagerfeld's models sashayed down the catwalk at Linlithgow Palace, a roofless castle where Mary Queen of Scots was born 670 years ago, clutching sporran and hip flask-style bags.
Betfair's chief executive, Breon Corcoran, will outline a strategy of cost cutting on Thursday, following his recent decision to withdraw from Germany and not to enter Greece.
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