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Sunday News Roundup

Snow & Rock circled after LGV goes off-piste,The UK has the world's second highest spend-per child on toys, Charles Dunstone emerges as backer of Leon owner, Lidl retains crown for best value wine, US retail giant Jo-Ann possible bidder for Ideal Shopping Direct, Uniqlo’s fast show,


Sunday News Roundup

Snow & Rock circled after LGV goes off-piste,The UK has the world's second highest spend-per child on toys, Charles Dunstone emerges as backer of Leon owner, Lidl retains crown for best value wine, US retail giant Jo-Ann possible bidder for Ideal Shopping Direct, Uniqlo’s fast show,


Outdoor sportswear retailers Snow & Rock, Cycle Surgery and Runners Need are being circled by a collection of private equity firms amid signs they are about to be put up for sale. The high street chains are currently owned by LGV Capital, the private equity arm of Legal & General. However, two years ago the insurance giant decidedto wind up the 28-year-old buy-out business and confirmed it would not be raising any further funds for new investments. Since then a dwindling team of LGV Capital staff has been managing the sale of the private equity firm’s investments and sale of the business.

There is only one country in the world where parents spend more on toys for each child than they do in the UK. The average British shopper spent £508 on toys and games for each child in 2013, the year that the Furby saw its sales grow by 66pc to become the bestselling toy. However, Australian consumers treated their children more,spending £555 per child in 2013, according to the most recent data available from Euromonitor International. Although the UK’s toy market is worth more than twice as much as Australia’s, at £5.7bn compared to £2.4bn, there are almost three times as many children in the UK under the age of 14. Euromonitor’s projections show that spend per child grew last year to £600 and £550 in Australia and the UK respectively, followed by Japan (£504), Germany (£497) and Hong Kong (£478).

Sir Charles Dunstone, one of Britain’s most successful self-made entrepreneurs, has become a major backer of the private- equity firm behind the Leon restaurant chain. Active Private Equity, which recently sold bicycle retailer Evans Cycles, raised £30m from a club of just five investors late last year. One of them was Sir Charles,the billionaire founder of Carphone Warehouse and chairman of Talk Talk, the budget broadband provider.The firm’s original founders, Spencer Skinner, Nick Evans and Gavyn Davies, also took part in the fundraising. Mr Davies, a former partner at Goldman Sachs and chairman of the BBC, provided the original funding for Active more than 10 years ago, alongside some of his former banking colleagues.

Mail on Sunday

Lidl has retained its crown as the supermarket offering the best value wines, with 68 per cent of its bottles delivering a decent return on shoppers cash, expert findings reveal. Supermarkets offering poor value plonk include Marks & Spencer's, Morrison's and Waitrose, where the number of bottles offering value for money hasdropped since November 2014. Wine on the shelves of Britain's biggest supermarkets still offer poor value for money in the majority of cases, Wotwine's findings suggest. Sixty-eight per cent of wines on offer at German-owned discount supermarket Lidl offer customers good value for money, a two per cent increase since Wotwine's

November 2014 survey. Rival discounter Aldi has retained its place as runner up in the supermarket wine stakes, with 63 per cent of bottles representing good value for money. However, it has lost ground on Lidl, slipping back three per cent on the last study. A multi-billion US stores giant is understood to be among the potential bidders for a British TV shopping firm that has cashed in on the growing interest in home crafts. Ideal Shopping Direct has been put up for sale for £200million by corporate advisory firm DC Partners, which has drawn up a list of around 20 potential bidders. Ideal Shopping airs channels such as Create and Craft, Craft World and Ideal World.The 790-strong US home crafts retail giant Jo-Ann Stores last year struck up a partnership to use Ideal Shopping's expertise for TV-led demonstrations in its stores and is considering the potential to cement that relationship further.

Sunday Times

Uniqlo notched up sales of €203m (£144m) in Europe last year after merging its British and French operations. The fast-fashion retailer reported a 131% leap in sales as it improved performance at existing stores, opened flagships in Berlin and Paris, and combined accounting for its British and French divisions. The company also pushed its online business, extending shipping to 18 European countries. It swung from an operating loss of €3.4m to a profit of €2.2m, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Uniqlo was founded by Tadashi Yanai, the son of a tailor, in 1984. His concept of providing quality clothes at low prices in convenient locations took off and he opened stores across Japan. In 2001, Uniqlo made a disastrous foray into Britain, opening 20 shops — all of which had to be closed because consumers were unfamiliar with the brand. Yanai described the experience as “devastating”.

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