Sunday Retail News Roundup
Lady Green, wife of retail tycoon Sir Philip Green, will be called to give evidence to MPs about collapse of department store chain BHS. Two select committees, work and pensions, and business and innovation, have written to Sir Philip asking him to appear. Last night the committees also intended to invite Tina Green, Monaco resident and owner of the retail empire run by her husband, which includes Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis. Mike Ashley, founder of Sports Direct still has serious interest in buying BHS but failed to reach deal over takeover last weekend.
Former owner loaded BHS with high-interest loans then borrowed £500,000 himself from the same family weeks before the store chain went under. Dominic Chappell’s Retail Acquisitions lost control of BHS when it fell into administration last week borrowed £5m from Allied Commercial Exporters (ACE) the day it bought the business for £1 from Sir Philip Green in March last year. Chappell could face legal action from City advisers that helped him put together the BHS purchase. Cornhill Capital is considering suing over an alleged unpaid fee of about £1m.
Lara Morley founder of London bakery Cake Hole wants to sell without using big supermarket chains to avoid using ingredients to preserve cakes and then wait months to be paid after they’ve been sold. Tesco, last year, demanded suppliers cut prices to reflect falling raw material costs warning they risked seeing products taken off shelves if refused to comply. A breach of groceries code means big businesses could be charged up to 1% of annual UK turnover, Tesco got away with a slap on the wrist because offences were made before GCA had such powers.
Mail on Sunday.
BHS pension trustees spent just half an hour with new owners before it was sold for £1 last year. Revelation calls into question the powers of trustees appointed to oversee pension funds and their ability to demand payment. BHS pension trustee chairman Chris Martin declined to comment on the exact length of the meeting with the new buyers
A long line of Vodafone customers are locked in ongoing battle with the network to right a multitude of wrongs. Charge sheet is exhaustive, wildly inaccurate bills, charges for random premium rate calls and texts, phones disconnected and customers overcharged for upgrades. A worker for the mobile phone gianto reveals that staff are under pressure to bat away complaints and instead focus on appeasing callers to boost satisfaction ratings.
Comet, the electrical chain, was sold for £1 to private equity firm OpCapita in 2011 and a year later had gone bust. But not before netting OpCapita and others £114 million and leaving the taxpayer £70 million out of pocket. Now it’s BHS: sold for £1, facing closure with a pension deficit of £571 million which is being looked after by the Pension Protection Fund, itself funded by a levy on businesses’ defined benefit pension funds. Almost no one expects BHS to be sold in its entirety. Insolvency Service’s report into Comet is still secret. Lord Myners, former City Minister, has called for report to be published and that must happen now whilst still time to learn lessons which might apply to BHS.
Dunbar’s Number suggests 150 is the maximum possible, for the average person, to have as friends. For some reason, the businessman formerly known as Sir Philip Green has always seemed to be on a mission to disprove it. Phil’s Number, as with his acquisition of shops and yachts, really is no end. Green’s determination make his birthday celebrations so magnificent that famous names will criss-cross the world for a chance to help magnify his social credentials and hence, it has turned out, his business reputation.
Tina Green, wife of billionaire businessman Sir Philip Green, has joined her husband in being called to face MPs on two select committees to answer questions about the collapse of BHS. Lady Green, a trustee of the company, and Sir Philip will be questioned by the work and pensions committee. MPs on the business committee also want to question the couple as part of its inquiry into the sale and acquisition of BHS. Sir Philip has been asked to say when he will be available to appear “in the coming weeks” for the special joint hearing for the entrepreneur. Dominic Chappell, who led a consortium called Retail Acquisitions that bought BHS for £1 last year, is also being called as a witness by MPs.
The global coffee giant, Starbucks, is being sued for $5million over the amount of ice it puts in its iced drinks. Customers are being misled because the chilled beverages contain just over half the drink they are paying for. Starbucks is the largest coffee retailer in the world, with more than 24,0000 stores in 70 countries.
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