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Sunday News Roundup

Repairs desk closes and 450 jobs will go, Travelodge’s, Duke pushes out Nicky Clarke cash lifeline, Mothercare curbs rewards, Investor revolt over Whittaker ‘sweetheart’ deals, Guy Hands puts on his gardening gloves for Wyevale buyout, Travelex eyes Thomas Cook's Indian business, Comet's new owner leans on landlords to reduce rents, Thousands of Peacocks staff braced for closures, Kwik-Fit sued over sale of insurance arm, Shopkeepers find that all they need is love, Retailers told to come clean over warranties sold with electrical goods, De Beers turns in sparkling results as 2011 profits surged despite problems, £1bn waste of shops that feel like saunas,Unions call on UK high street giants to halt unpaid work schemes,

SUNDAY PAPERS

Sunday News Roundup

Repairs desk closes and 450 jobs will go, Travelodge’s, Duke pushes out Nicky Clarke cash lifeline, Mothercare curbs rewards, Investor revolt over Whittaker ‘sweetheart’ deals, Guy Hands puts on his gardening gloves for Wyevale buyout, Travelex eyes Thomas Cook's Indian business, Comet's new owner leans on landlords to reduce rents, Thousands of Peacocks staff braced for closures, Kwik-Fit sued over sale of insurance arm, Shopkeepers find that all they need is love, Retailers told to come clean over warranties sold with electrical goods, De Beers turns in sparkling results as 2011 profits surged despite problems, £1bn waste of shops that feel like saunas,Unions call on UK high street giants to halt unpaid work schemes,

Sunday Times

Repairs desk closes and 450 jobs will go.
The new owner of Comet is closing down the chain’s in-house repair service, with the loss of about 450 jobs. The company, which was bought for £2 last week by the private equity firm OpCapita, will focus solely on running its stores. The repairs business will be outsourced to third parties. It said that engineers across the country would be affected, as well as some support roles in Clevedon, near Bristol, when the planned closure takes place. 

Travelodge’s cash lifeline
Travelodge has been forced to seek an emergency bank loan as it battles to cut debts.The £10m cash lifeline was handed to the budget hotel company ahead of crunch talks with its banks.



iv>The chain, which runs 470 hotels in Britain, Ireland and Spain, is grappling with £850m of borrowings. It spent £99m on interest payments last year.

Duke pushes out Nicky Clarke
Nicky Clarke, the celebrity hair stylist who charges up to £300 for a cut, is set to leave his exclusive Mayfair address after his landlord, the Duke of Westminster, more than doubled the rent in a year. Clarke is a casualty of the campaign by the Duke’s property group, Grosvenor Estate, to make Mount Street in Mayfair one of the world’s most exclusive shopping streets — with rents to match. 

Mothercare curbs rewards
The new chief executive of Mothercare will be paid “substantially less” than his predecessor and his bonus incentive scheme will have much tougher targets. Simon Calver, who is moving from Lovefilm, will receive a base salary of £500,000 for the job, £100,000 less than Ben Gordon.

Investor revolt over Whittaker ‘sweetheart’ deals
The shopping centre giant that owns Lakeside in Essex and the Trafford Centre near Manchester faces an investor rebellion over controversial deals to buy land from its deputy chairman. Capital Shopping Centres, the FTSE 100 property company, surprised the stock market when it revealed plans to buy development plots in Glasgow and Spain from John Whittaker, the northwest billionaire.

Guy Hands puts on his gardening gloves for Wyevale buyout
Guy Hands is about to get green fingers. The financier’s buyout firm, Terra Firma, is this weekend putting the finishing touches to a £300m purchase of Britain’s biggest garden centre chain. Terra Firma is in exclusive talks to buy Garden Centre Group from Lloyds bank. 

The Independent

Travelex eyes Thomas Cook's Indian business
Struggling holiday company could raise more than £100m from stake in foreign exchange, Travelex has emerged as a leading contender to buy Thomas Cook's Indian foreign exchange business, which was put up for sale last week.The private equity- backed firm is thought to have been one of a handful of businesses to approach Thomas Cook about the asset which could raise more than £100m.

Comet's new owner leans on landlords to reduce rents
OpCapita determined to cut costs at the troubled electrical retailer with some stores to be axed. Comet is pressuring landlords to slash its annual rental bill of £77m just days after the private equity firm OpCapita paid a token £2 for the beleaguered electricals chain. Property executives at the 248-store retailer have stepped up their demands for monthly rents since the deal was completed in the first week of February

Thousands of Peacocks staff braced for closures
The fate of more than 9,000 staff at Peacocks will be decided this week, as the high street's biggest administration since Woolworths in 2008 comes to a head. KPMG, the administrator to Peacocks, is set to conclude the sale of the discount fashion retailer as early as Wednesday

Kwik-Fit sued over sale of insurance arm
Britain's biggest tyre-seller, Kwik-Fit, is being sued over liabilities relating to the £215m sale of its insurance arm in 2010. Belgium's Ageas Insurance, which now owns Kwik-Fit Financial Services, has issued a writ in the High Court. Kwik-Fit has yet to acknowledge the writ, leaving many of the details secret for now.

Shopkeepers find that all they need is love
Valentine's Day could provide a much-needed boost for retailers as shoppers fork out for jewellery and gifts. Rosalind David, retail performance analyst at Land Securities, which owns shopping centres from Aberdeen to Exeter, has found sales are up on last year.

Mail on Sunday

Retailers told to come clean over warranties sold with electrical goods
The Office of Fair Trading has forced retailers to provide more information to customers about expensive warranties that are sold alongside electrical goods. In a report published last week, the OFT said it was ‘concerned’ at the number of warranties sold at stores such as Dixons, Comet and Argos.

De Beers turns in sparkling results as 2011 profits surged despite problems
The world’s largest diamond firm said sales at its rough gem trading arm jumped 27 per cent to $6.5bn in the 12 months. Profits before one-off items rose 21 per cent to $1.7bn. Strong sales in Asia were boosted by demand for luxury goods in China. Already 45pc-owned.

£1bn waste of shops that feel like saunas: They heat them to 75f...then leave the doors open
With temperatures plunging outside, many of us are grateful to step into a warm shop.But perhaps we would be less enthusiastic if we knew how much it was costing us. Campaigners have condemned stores for turning up the thermostats to make their premises hotter than the Canary Islands – and then leaving the doors open – at a cost of £1billion a year.

Guardian

Unions call on UK high street giants to halt unpaid work schemes
Usdaw wants chains to follow Sainsbury's and Waterstones and end long-term unpaid labour for young unemployed. Unions have called on Britain's biggest high street chains to withdraw from government programmes that make the unemployed work for up to six months unpaid or face losing their benefits. The call comes as Sainsbury's, one of the UK's largest retailers, confirmed to the Guardian that it has stopped branch managers from taking on jobseekers under the work experience scheme.


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