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Sunday News Roundup

Tesco-backed coffee chain finds every little helps, Mulberry managers bag shares worth £2m. Ticket blitz on delivery drivers 'to hit high street’. Rural fashion house Joules' profit leaps by £1m. Debenhams strikes deal with French fashion giant Promod. Treasury rules out online sales tax after. Tesco bets on tablet to fight Apple and Amazon, House of Fraser bosses line up shock London float. Sales queen with a beauty empire under her skin, Diageo tops up Paul Walsh, whose final £15m isn't one for the road, Alexander McQueen sees surge in sales after Kate Middleton chooses designer for her wedding dress. Surge in charity shops fuels ‘clone town’ fear.


Sunday News Roundup


Sales at Harris + Hoole have been boosted by a tie-up with Tesco, though it is still allowed to keep some independence. Harris + Hoole, the artisan-style coffee chain backed by Tesco, is looking to double in size over the next year and lead a digital technology revolution in the industry. In an interview to mark one year since the
chain launched, chief executive Nick Tolley said the first 12 months had been a “whirlwind”. Harris + Hoole was criticised for presenting its shops as independent and local when it was being backed by one of the world’s biggest retailers.

The luxury handbag maker Mulberry has awarded its senior management team almost £2m in shares as part of a long-term incentive scheme created following the slump in the company’s share price. Mulberry has issued 171,500 shares to management, including shares worth £580,000 to chief executive Bruno Guillon. The awards are likely to irk Mulberry shareholders. The new incentive programme has been introduced because Mr Guillon’s previous awards effectively became worthless as the targets were based on the company’s share price, which subsequently slumped.

High street retailers face a hit to business after hauliers warned that deliveries are under threat because of a surge in the number of parking tickets awarded to van drivers. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has told MPs the high volume of tickets in some urban areas “has made some deliveries no longer economically viable”.
According to evidence given to the Transport Select Committee, some distribution companies now employ full-time staff to contest penalty charge notices. Ministers, notably Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, have already voiced concern that overzealous parking enforcement is keeping shoppers out of the high street.

Joules, the rural-inspired fashion retailer, has seen profits rise almost 50pc in the past year as consumers flock to buy a part of its heritage look. The company, whose celebrity fans include television farmer Jimmy Doherty and presenter Ben Fogle, saw pre-tax profit rise to £3.7m in the year to the end of May, up by £1.1m on the prior year. Sales for the year rose 19pc to £79m, on the back of new shop openings in addition to double-digit, like-for-like growth from its existing shops.

Affordable French chic is coming to the high street after Debenhams unveiled a tie-up with French fashion stalwart Promod. Following a four-store trial in Ireland, Promod has signed an exclusive agreement with the UK chain, with Promod concessions scheduled to open in Debenhams stores in Cardiff, Manchester and Glasgow this month. A Promod concession will also be launched in the retailer’s new Oxford Street flagship store following completion of its £25m refit later this year.

The Treasury has ruled out the prospect of introducing an online sales tax following a debate in the retail industry about the alleged imbalance in tax payments  between internet companies and high street shops. In a letter to the chief executives of six online retailers, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said the Government favoured “an approach which aims to ensure common principles apply to all businesses whether operating online, from physical premises or with a combination”.

Sunday Times
Tesco is set to ambush Apple and Amazon with the launch of its own tablet computer as it fights to win back shoppers in its British heartland. The iPad-like device is expected to go on sale in time for Christmas, with pre-loaded books, films and music. It will also have apps for Tesco’s digital grocery and banking products and
Blinkbox, its internet film and music service. The company has not decided how much to charge for the gadget. Sources said it would be a “high-quality” device similar to Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which costs £130.

House of Fraser is eyeing a surprise return to the stock market after nearly a decade in private hands. Senior managers have begun weighing up a plan to float the 164 -year-old department store chain after several aborted attempts to sell the business. A listing could value House of Fraser at £200m-£300m. In the past year, the high
street chain has held takeover talks with Mike Ashley, the Sports Direct tycoon, the Qatari royal family, and John Lewis. The company has now begun considering a return to public ownership seven years after it was snapped up by Icelandic corporate raiders.

Nicky Kinnaird’s eclectic selection of products has done well in Britain and America. But can Space NK stop department stores from copying it? Space NK has a slot on the American shopping channel QVC, and you can see why the 49-year-old founder fronts it. She is an irrepressible saleswoman, gliding from product to product with a practised fluency, lauding everything as “incredible” or “revolutionary”. Space NK’s expansion shows its well-heeled customers believe her. From one site in Covent Garden in 1993, it has opened stores across Britain and on both coasts of America. Six years ago, Kinnaird sold 90% of the business to Manzanita Capital, a private equity firm run by the family behind Gap, though from the way she talks you sense she still calls the shots.

The successful Diageo boss is being kept around – indeed, is being paid more than his successor – by a grateful drinks company. Finding anyone to criticise Paul Walsh, former chief executive of Diageo, is hard. Indeed, it should be. In the final three years of his 13-year tenure, shares in the international drinks company – which
counts Johnnie Walker and Guinness among its brands – climbed to such an extent that the stock market value of the FTSE 100 company rocketed from £20bn to £50bn.

Mail on Sunday
Demand for luxury fashion brand Alexander McQueen surged last year buoyed by the worldwide attention lavished on the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress, which was designed by the firm’s creative director. Sales rocketed 29 per cent to £52 million in the year to December, according to accounts for Alexander McQueen Trading filed at Companies House.

There are now 10,000 and retailers claim they are killing high streets, Britain's credit crunch has triggered a 30 per cent increase in the number of charity shops on the high street, exclusive research for The Mail on Sunday has revealed. The explosion since 2008 is leading to fears of the creation of ‘charity clone towns’, with conventional retailers being forced out. The research shows there are now 10,000 charity shops. They pay a fraction of the £7 billion annual business rates of traditional retailers, giving them a considerable financial advantage over other stores. They are also attractive to landlords, who avoid paying the business rate, while the charity can claim relief on it.

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