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Sunday News Roundup

Horsemeat scandal: 'we will never know how many have eaten horse', How Zara took over the high street, River Island gets savvy with Rihanna and Georgia Hardinge, Monsoon names browett as new chief, Mr Hare backed by Links of London founder, Questor share tip: Tesco awaits verdict on horse meat scandal, London tapas, brand Camino set to grow, Tesco calls on Cameron to aid Indian growth, Next and Carphone Warehouse bosses back £25m small, company fund, Former Baugur chief to advise barber chain, Jessops collapsed with debts in excess of £80m, Mike Ashley and Sir Stuart Rose Rose fight for remnants of Republic chain, Tesco to spend £1m on DNA testing to stop rogue, meat, Go-kart chiefs drive a £9m sale, De Vere centres to fetch £350m, Nightmare sale for Dreams backers, Morrisons buys, video stores, Thomas Cook puts Neilson off piste, Farewell drab cardigan, hello London Fashion Week, Will supermalls save, high streets or drain life out of local traders? As the horsemeat scandal shows, thuggish supermarkets are endangering our food supply


Sunday News Roundup

The Guardian

Testing can't identify how many unknowingly ate adulterated meat, concedes FSA chief, as hospitals move to assess all food suppliers. It is unlikely the exact number of people in the UK who have unwittingly eaten horsemeat will ever be known, the chief executive of the Food Standards Agency has conceded. Catherine Brown said that testing was the right way to address the issue, and said the focus would be on areas of higher risk. But she admitted that how many people who had unknowingly eaten horsemeat was likely to be impossible to ascertain.

From the Duchess of Cambridge and Samantha Cameron to Mary Berry and Coleen Rooney, Zara is now everyone who is anyone's favourite high-street fashion label. Zara's newest and smartest London store, facing the gigantic Marks & Spencer flagship at Marble Arch, is a notably different shopping experience from any of its Oxford Street competitors. The music is quiet and anonymous. There are few images of models wearing the clothes; instead, there are endless mirrors. The atmosphere is less about a social experience and more akin to being inside an enormous, upmarket walk-in wardrobe. It is the perfect environment for a store such as Zara, whose success is built on understanding the shopping impulses of the customer.

The high street chain has set editors' tongues wagging over Rihanna's collection to be unveiled at London fashion week – and an even more exciting range from a striking Brit designer. If the tabloids can't wait for Rihanna's collection for River Island to be revealed at London fashion week on Saturday, fashion editors are more excited by another collaboration from the brand. Georgia Hardinge will launch her 14-piece collection for the chain with a film today: it will be instore in April, and nothing will cost more than £100.

The Sunday Express

Fashion retailer Monsoon Accessorize has named former Dixons boss John Browett as its new chief executive as it gears up to expand online and abroad. The private group, with over 1,000 stores in 74 countries including 380 in the UK, said Browett would take up the role on March 4 ending a year-long search for a new boss. Browett, whose most recent role as senior vice president of retail at technology giant Apple ended after only six months, said he was “honoured” to be joining Monsoon. “It is a great company with an impressive heritage, with talented designers, management and staff at every level,” he said.

The Sunday Telegraph

A shoe designer who was inspired to start a business following a “week from hell” has won investment led by Links of London founder John Ayton.Marc Hare’s luxury shoe brand, Mr Hare, has secured £550,000 in debt and equity which will help the company build a retail presence in the UK and Asia.The company supplies Selfridges, e-commerce fashion site Mr Porter and a range of independent stores.

'Horsegate' has yet to take its toll on shares in major retailers. Questor says hold. Shares in supermarket group Tesco have jumped by about 18pc since it confirmed its American dream was over in December.The company’s decision to withdraw from the loss-making Californian venture Fresh and Easy operation to focus on the UK is a sound plan. However,the country is now in the grip of a food crisis after horse meat was found in processed food such as burgers.

Richard Bigg is growing his Camino bar and restaurant group with backing from the Business Growth Fund."If I was a cat with just the nine lives, I’d be long gone.” Coming from a restaurateur called Mr Bigg, it’s a concerting claim to hear so early on in our meeting.The 49-year-old’s small London-based food and bar group has just secured £3m in investment, but Bigg, who once spent a year as a racing driver, appreciates that speed is rarely a virtue when growing a food business.

Tesco is poised to make a decision on the size of a potential multi-billion pound investment in India following representations by David Cameron as part of a UK trade mission.The Sunday Telegraph understands that Philip Clarke, the chief executive, has spoken to the Prime Minister in the past few days regarding the retailer’s hopes for opening stores under its own name.

The chief executives of Next and Carphone Warehouse are among the investors in a new £25m fund to back small, growing British companies.Lord Wolfson and Sir Charles Dunstone are to back the fund, Pembroke, which is being led by private equity and investment veteran Peter Dubens. The fund will be managed by Mr Dubens’ Oakley Group, whose Oakley Capital has already backed a number of small successful businesses including chef Tom Aikens’ restaurants.

Jon Asgeir Johannesson, the former Carphone Warehouse, has joined the board of Murdock, the upmarket London men’s barber and grooming chain.Johannesson, who prior to Baugur’s £1bn collapse controlled swathes of the British high street, has become a non-executive director. He has been joined on the board by Jon Skaftason, who works with him at Guru Capital, a venture capital business established to invest in retail concepts and brands with growth potential.

The camera retailer Jessops collapsed into administration with debts of more than £80m, including £43m to suppliers, it can be revealed. Jessops fell into administration last month, leading to 2,000 job losses and 192 store closures within days. This sparked a tumultuous period for the high street, with HMV and Blockbuster following Jessops into administration.

The Mail on Sunday


Two of Britain’s best-known retail moguls are preparing to fight over the spoils of Republic following the collapse of the fashion chain. Mike Ashley, majority owner of Sports Direct, and Blue Inc, whose chairman is former Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose, are both understood to be considering acquiring Republic.


Tesco is to spend £1 million so it can ensure complete DNA testing on every product that contains processed or minced beef or chicken – with the results on the supermarket giant’s website. Chief executive Philip Clarke told 



Sunday Times

Europes's biggest chain of go-karting tracks has been sold to its bosses in a £9m deal. Neil Taylor, co-founder of Game, the video games retailer, has teamed up with the angel investor network Connection Capital to back Dominic Gaynor, managing director of Teamsport Racing, in a buyout of the business.They are acquiring it from Paul Wrightman, who founded the firm in 1990 with a track in Guildford, Surrey. He is understood to be selling most of his stake for about £7m. 

De Vere Group, the hotel operator part-owned by Lloyds Banking Group, is expected to kick off the sale of its De Vere Venues arm in the spring. Lazard, the investment bank, is likely to be appointed to sell the business, which generates annual earnings of about £30m. A decision on whether to push the button on a sale will be taken once the auction has concluded of Principal Hayley, a rival hotel and conference business also backed by taxpayer-controlled Lloyds. 

Backers, creditors and landlords of Dreams stand to be wiped out under a controversial plan to safeguard the future of the struggling beds retailer. The chain has been put up for sale by Exponent, its private equity owner, with the likely purchaser expected to pick up the business through a pre-pack administration, sources said.

WM Morrison has gained a foothold in its convenience store battle with J Sainsbury and Tesco after buying a big portfolio of sites from administrators to Blockbuster, the collapsed DVD rental chain. Morrisons, which has lagged behind its rivals in rolling out smaller versions of its supermarkets, has agreed to acquire 49 former Blockbuster shops from Deloitte.

The new boss of Thomas Cook is considering selling Neilson, the holiday giant’s specialist skiing arm, as part of a shake-up of the company. Harriet Green is in the final stages of a review aimed at reducing Thomas Cook’s £1.6bn debt mountain. Thomas Cook said: “We are reviewing every part of our business as we aim to turn round Thomas Cook in the UK, and this involves considering many options.”

Jane Shepherdson stunned the retail world when she walked out on Philip Green. Now she is looking to take the restyled Whistles brand international. Bold use of leather in this spring’s collection — there are shiny black skirts, dresses and even dungarees — is evidence of how thoroughly the brand has been reinvented. Whistles has already sold 300 of the T-shirts at £250 a piece. “People see leather as being sexy,” the chief executive shrugs. “It’ll last, and it looks a bit edgy. They are made for us by two women who set up on their own in Turkey — they are fantastically soft.”


It's an all-new shopping experience for Leeds – but not everyone thinks the Trinity centre is the future for city life. It's the largest of its kind in Europe with a lofty glass ceiling and ornate halls. When Leeds's Kirkgate indoor market opened its doors in 1857, its stunning building marked a new era of shopping and became the launch pad for Marks & Spencer. Next month, Leeds is aiming to polish up its retail crown again. Its new glass-domed cathedral to shopping is Trinity Leeds, a £350m development in the heart of the city centre.

This food crisis is a symptom of a much bigger disease affecting mass food retailing in this country. The sigh of relief from Britain's supermarket industry on Friday afternoon, after only the seven processed beef products already known about out of the 2,500 tested came up positive for horsemeat, was almost audible. The big food retailers had been preparing themselves for truly appalling news, for the discovery that hundreds of items contained the wrong kind of hoofed animal. Even allowing for the many more test results to come, this was very good news.


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