Sunday News Roundup
15 January 2012 | by The Retail Bulletin
Mail on Sunday
Seismic shock of sales slump prompts rethink at Tesco.
Investors and analysts suggest that underinvestment include too few staff, tired-looking stores and product ranges that were missing the mark with shoppers. Sainsbury’s and Waitrose are tempting more aspirational shoppers one way while value-obsessed Asda and other discount retailers are wooing them another. Perhaps more worrying for investors is the planned scale of Philip Clarke’s retrenchment of the British store-opening plan.
White Stuff's dressing room 'theatre' helps send turnover soaring.
Fashion retailer White Stuff posted a two per cent rise in profits to £14.9million last year after opening its first‘emporium’ store in Edinburgh. Turnover climbed 20 per cent to £100.8million for the year to the end of April. White Stuff opened 12 new stores during the year, including the 6,500 sq ft Edinburgh store, which features themed dressing rooms. These are decorated in different styles – including one that looks like ET’s closet and another with a Scottish Highlands theme.
Jaeger quits Japan but aims for growth in China
Jaeger is hoping to sign a deal to open stores in China after terminating a Japanese contract that restricted its Asian growth.The fashion brand is also close to a deal to open stores in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, chairman Harold Tillman told Financial Mail.
FSA acts after Tesco exec sells shares before warning
The Financial Services Authority is expected to write to Tesco after the supermarket’s UK chief operating officer sold over £200,000 of shares just days before a profit warning which sent the retailer’s stock tumbling. Noel ‘Bob’ Robbins sold 50,000 shares at 404.51p each on January 4, netting him around £202,000. That was just eight days before Tesco on Thursday reported its biggest drop in underlying British sales for decades due to poor Christmas trading.
Sparkling future beckons as Asprey grows stronger
After years of losses, the future is looking brighter for the British arm of jewellery brand Asprey. Not only did the Duchess of Cambridge wear an Asprey diamond pendant in Canada last year during her first international tour, with model Kelly Brook displaying the company’s diamond earrings at a charity reception, but its debts were restructured by the US owners.
John Lewis and a new vision for capitalism
It is time for companies to become something other than just vehicles for making money. More responsible and engaged forms of ownership are rightly viewed as a basis for a more sustainable business culture. Employee ownership can make a significant contribution in this respect. But it has largely figured in public-policy debate as a possible model for public-service delivery, not for private enterprise.
West End boost from Olympics and Diamond Jubilee
Retailers in central London will enjoy a significant increase in turnover this year, thanks to the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee, according to research which highlights how the West End could be immune from the consumer downturn hitting the rest of the UK’s high streets.Sales will increase by 3.5pc during 2012 on the prime sites of Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, the retail research company Springboard has calculated in a report commissioned by the New West End Company, the trade body for shops in this area.
Peacocks on the brink of administration
Peacocks, the clothing retailer, could be placed into administration as early as Monday after talks with banks about a possible debt “haircut” appeared to have reached an impasse. The future of the retailer, which has almost 700 stores across the UK, hangs in the balance as a series of complex talks between equity and debt holders had still not led to a solution on Saturday night.
Competition concerns cast doubt over Morrison's bid to buy Iceland.
Scepticism is mounting over WM Morrisons’ attempts to buy frozen supermarket chain Iceland Foods after rival Asda pulled out of the auction last week. The increased pressure has led to Landsbanki and Glitnir – the banks which own 77pc of the retailer – to offer to inject up to £200m of junior debt into any bid above £1.4bn.
Festive sales reduce inflation
Cut-throat Christmas competition among retailers desperate to drum up trade is likely to have triggered the steepest monthly fall in inflation for more than three years. Analysts predict the Bank of England's official Consumer Prices Index benchmark, which stood at 4.8 per cent in November, will tumble to 4.2 per cent this week. This would be the biggest drop over a single month since October 2008.
Burberry set to report solid third-quarter sales figures
The rise of the "travelling luxury consumer" has helped Burberry to solid third-quarter sales figures, the fashion brand will tell the market in a trading update on Tuesday. Analysts have predicted total sales growth up 18-20 per cent with sales for the quarter forecast to be close to £569m.
Tesco splashes £400m to perk up British stores
Philip Clarke, chief executive of Tesco, is to spend up to £400m this year in an effort to “reconnect” with British shoppers.Britain’s biggest supermarket issued its first profit warning in 20 years last week, sparking a 16% slide in its share price and wiping £5 billion from its stock market value. Overseas sales held up but they were down 2.3% in Britain.
Howies puts shirt on organic growth
The management of Howies has bought back the clothing brand from VF Corporation — the $10 billion group that owns North Face, Timberland, Lee and Wrangler. Howies has carved out a niche among mountain bikers, surfers and skateboarders. The business was founded in 1995 by husband and wife David and Clare Hieatt, who started making T-shirts from their flat in London.
Welcome Break sale
Robert Tchenguiz is trying to sell a portfolio of Welcome Break motorway service stations in a deal that could be worth more than £300m.Tchenguiz, the property entrepreneur, bought the sites eight years ago with backing from Royal Bank of Scotland. He is understood to have asked DTZ, the property consultant, to sell the nine freeholds. Sources said the sale was Tchenguiz’s decision and not driven by RBS. All parties declined to comment
Barratts rises again
Michael Ziff, chairman and majority owner of the failed shoe chain Barratts and Priceless Shoes, has bought back 89 stores from Deloitte, the administrator. Last month, the chain, which had almost 200 stores, collapsed into administration putting some 4,000 jobs at risk. Ziff has put the business into administration before — in 2009. However, soon afterwards he bought back 160 shops from the administrator.
Everything Everywhere aplies to re-use a slice of its existing radio spectrum;
The owner of Orange and T-Mobile could gain a head start in the race to launch fourth-generation mobile phone services after applying to re-use a slice of its existing radio spectrum. Ofcom, the regulator, is expected to approve the request in the coming weeks, which would hand Everything Everywhere a big advantage over rivals.
Germans beguiled by wonder of a relaunched Woolies
When Woolworths went bust three years ago Britain mourned a high street icon with a shrug and a nostalgic last visit to the pick’n’mix. But while British the shops were sold to Primark or Poundland, the Germans restructured. In 12 months Woolworths has opened 50 new shops across Germany and now has 200, with plans for 500.
Tesco calls time on megastores after profit warning shock
The market leader's first stumble in two decades exposed deep problems with its strategy of building giant out-of-town stores
Britain's biggest retailer is reeling after its first profit warning in 20 years. About £5bn was wiped off the company's stock market value after the retailer confessed that its UK chain, which generates more than 60% of group profits
What Tesco could learn from Marks & Spencer's years of woe
We only need to look back a few years to find a chain facing problems of the kind now confronting Philip Clarke at Tesco. Does this ring a bell? Retailer smashes UK profit records, boosted by expansion overseas and years of unbroken success. Its grammar-school-educated chief executive is hailed as the finest shopkeeper of his generation and awarded a knighthood.
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