Sunday News Roundup
29 January 2012 | by The Retail Bulletin
The Mail on Sunday
Jaeger fashion group owner Harold Tillman sells 70pc stake in Allders
Harold Tillman, owner of the Jaeger fashion group, has sold his controlling stake in Allders Croydon, Britain’s fourth-largest department store, to its management.The Daily Mail can reveal Andrew MacKenzie, the chief executive of Allders, staged a management buyout this week having raised what is thought to be up to £30million to buy a 70 per cent stake in the business, backed by private equity funds
Administrators' legal action may follow collapse of Life & Style Retail
Administrators to Life & Style Retail may take legal action over activities at the fashion chain before it collapsed. According to documents seen by Financial Mail, the investigation by insolvency practitioners at RSM Tenon relates to ‘monies which were incorrectly used'. It is understood to involve one director at the company, which used to be known as Ethel Austin and which went into administration last June.
Companies attack Royal Mail as compensation for packages lost in transit is axed.Companies have attacked Royal Mail for axeing compensation for packages lost in transit. Changes introduced this month mean firms with a contract to use the Royal Mail standard business service can no longer claim for lost parcels. If they want guaranteed compensation, they must pay extra, either for special delivery – at upwards of £5.45 – or for Royal Mail’s tracking service.
Ocado set for price war with Tesco
Ocado is to cut its prices on a range of products in a bid to steal a march on rivals such as Tesco Direct in the battle for online supermarket delivery customers. The Telegraph understands that the home delivery retailer will cut prices on around 600 products, making them 10pc lower than their equivalent at Tesco.It is aimed at attracting cash-strapped shoppers to Ocado, which has traditionally been seen as a more expensive offering than that of the mainstream supermarkets.
Cambridge's Trinity College buys 50pc stake in Tesco stores
The richest college at the University of Cambridge, Trinity, has invested in the UK's largest retailer by acquiring a 50pc stake in a portfolio of Tesco stores worth £440m.It is understood to be the first time the college has invested in supermarkets, although it has a property portfolio worth more than £800m. Trinity uses endowment funds to invest in property and provide extra income for education and research.
Debenhams signs deal to sell Nautica clothing brand Nautica, the American casual clothing brand, is to re-enter the British market, after Debenhams signed a deal with the company.The department store has signed an exclusivity deal with the brand, which specialises in the upmarket "sailing look".The move comes after Debenhams enjoyed a better-than-expected Christmas, and said it gained market share.
Could supermarkets' race for shop space backfire?
Supermarkets' obsession with ever bigger shops could backfire, report Harry Wallop and Graham Ruddick. It took Tesco 84 years of continuous expansion to reach 20m square feet of supermarket space in the UK, a landmark it reached in 2003. It was only achieved after countless battles with local authorities and an ambitious strategy to build on as many edge-of-town roundabouts and retail parks as possible, a strategy that saw it accused of turning Britain into a "Tescopoly" but also one that helped make it the country's biggest and most profitable retailer.
Walmart grandson plots Europe drive from Carnaby Street
The cowboy-boot wearing grandson of Walmart founder Sam Walton has taken charge of the guns-to-food retailer's European expansion drive.Steuart Walton, a 30-year-old lawyer from Arkansas, has been working from the group's Carnaby Street offices in London since just before Christmas as he mulls mergers and acquisitions across the Continent.
Iceland bidders due to make offers this week. Final bids for Iceland Foods, the frozen food retailer that is up for sale for up to £1.5bn, are due in on Tuesday. Four bidders, the grocer Morrisons and three private equity firms, were still busy in the data room this weekend.
Times on Sunday
Hornby hit by leaves on the line
With model railways and Scalextric racing car sets gathering dust on shop shelves, Hornby admitted yesterday that, from its point of view, Christmas didn’t happen and said that annual profits would be 30 per cent below company estimates.The announcement put Hornby in a spin. The shares, already down 10 per cent since Christmas, plunged another 15 per cent — 18½p — to 105p. “The great British consumer was reluctant to spend their money on the big-ticket discretionary gift item,” Frank Martin, its chief executive, said.
LVMH goes shopping for jewellers
The private equity arm of LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury goods group, is considering a bid for the company behind the Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb and Watches of Switzerland jewellery stores.The 165-store business, which sells upmarket brands such as Omega and Longines, was put up for sale last year for £200m after its holding company, Aurum, was taken over by the resolution committee of Landsbanki, the failed Icelandic bank.
Rank eyes £250m takeover of Gala casino chain
Rank, the leisure giant behind Mecca Bingo, is in talks to buy the casino division of rival group Gala Coral for up to £250m. A deal would see Rank merge its 35-strong Grosvenor Casinos chain with the 24 gaming centres owned by Gala, making it Britain’s biggest operator. It is understood that talks are at an advanced stage, with suggestions that a deal could be ready in time for Rank’s interim results presentation on February 9.
Indian tycoon chases £750m Marriott hotels
Subrata Roy, the Indian billionaire, has made a bid for a collection of Marriott hotels being sold by Royal Bank of Scotland for about £750m. The 42 four- and five-star properties have attracted interest from a range of potential buyers. Roy’s Sahara group, which acquired the Grosvenor House hotel on London’s Park Lane a year ago, is vying with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and another Indian investor, Blue Post Group, among others.
Iceland founder lines up Canadian cash for £1bn bid
Malcolm Walker has lined up £150m of backing from a Canadian pension fund to buy back Iceland, the frozen foods chain he founded more than 40 years ago. Just days before second-round offers for the group were due, Walker signed a deal for AIMCo (Alberta Investment Management Corporation) to bankroll a £1 billion takeover offer.
Fast food chains prosper as cash-strapped consumers shun retailers
US fast food chains Subway and McDonald's announced plans to open hundreds of new stores creating more than 8,000 jobs. Mealtimes used to revolve around the kitchen table, but the fast-food boom is changing Britain and its high streets, as US food chains Subway, Starbucks and McDonald's set out to conquer a recession-weary nation still hungry for instant gratification.
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