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Sunday Retail News Roundup

Takeover may shut door on hotel listing, Quick BHS profit for Green stepson, US funds sue Tesco over profits scandal as earnings collapse, Putin helps to put a dent in M&S's expansion plans set to pull out of five countries, Hunter Boot gives it some welly sales and profits soar, Virgin founder Richard Branson attacks lack of business lessons at school, 'M&S? Arrogant. Boots and WH Smith: Boring' King of keys John Timpson gives his verdict on some of the biggest names on the high street and it's pretty cutting, Mike Ashley aide Dave Forsey quits before court hearing over collapse of fashion chain USC, Harris Tweed grows into accessories and sofas.


Sunday Retail News Roundup

Sunday Times.

Travelodge is being lined up for a £1bn takeover that could spell the end of the budget hotel chain’s plans to float on the stock market.The company, which was put up for sale earlier this year, has attracted interest from buyout giant Advent International as well as a number of other private equity firms, City sources say. Advent, known for investing in sofa store DFS and payment processor Worldpay, has held talks with the company and its advisers, insiders said.

Sir Philip Green's stepson bought a property from BHS days before Green sold the loss-making retail chain for £1 — and sold on the building three months later at a profit. Brett Palos is a director of Thackeray Estates, which bought the freehold of BHS’s store in Ealing, west London, in March. The deal was signed less than a week before his billionaire stepfather offloaded BHS to a consortium led by controversial businessman Dominic Chappell. The property was bought by Thackeray for £6.9m on March 6, according to the Land Registry. On June 5, it was sold for £10m to a developer, Southern Grove, and a subsidiary of Topland Group, which is run by billionaire brothers Eddie and Sol Zakay.

Mail on Sunday.

A group of four American pension and investment funds have launched a multi-million dollar legal action against Tesco over its ‘massive restatement’ of profits that caused a collapse in its share price last year. The claim centres on Tesco’s £263million accounting scandal in September 2014, which emerged after a member of staff brought the issue to the attention of incoming chief executive Dave Lewis. The complaint was filed in an Ohio court on Wednesday, just hours after Tesco unveiled its latest financial result, which showed profits at the group had been all but wiped out.

Clothing giant Marks & Spencer is sounding the retreat on its expansion in parts of eastern Europe with a plan to close stores and pull out of five countries. The change of tack is part of an overhaul of the group’s international strategy, spurred by tensions between the West and Putin’s Russia in the region and wider concerns about global economic growth. The retreat puts a further dent in its ambition to open 250 new stores overseas by 2017, which is already behind schedule.

They have been worn by everyone from the Queen to Kate Moss and Keira Knightley. Designer wellies brand Hunter Boot is continuing to flourish under the creative direction of Stella McCartney’s husband Alasdhair Willis. The Edinburgh-based company, founded in 1856 by an American entrepreneur and majority owned by Searchlight Capital Partners, has revealed a 17 per cent jump in sales to £95.7million for the year to December 31, 2014 and pre-tax profits of £15.4million, up from £14.6million.

Sir Richard Branson has urged Britain’s schools to ‘come up to date’ – and devote more time to teaching entrepreneurship. His call comes as figures from the National Union of Teachers suggest that more than 50 per cent of teachers in England are thinking of quitting in the next two years, with 61 per cent blaming an excessive workload.Branson, claims current teaching methods are ‘of the 19th Century, I wish schools could be a bit more involved in trying to teach entrepreneurship and inspire kids at school.’

John Timpson has spent 55 years in business building his family firm into a national group and he is not afraid to speak his mind. The 72-year-old, whose shops dominate the market for key-cutting, shoe repairs and a host of other services, talks of how Sports Direct billionaire Mike Ashley ‘seems to defy logic’; he outlines the one ‘major error’ made by Malcolm Walker, the founder of Iceland. He is even comfortable criticising Sir Philip Green, with whom he once had a rather blunt encounter. Timpson is in garrulous mood as he prepares to publish his book High Street Heroes: The Story Of British Retail In 50 People. It is not his first book, but it may be his most controversial.

Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey stepped down from his position at company founder Mike Ashley’s personal investment vehicle just days before he was due to appear in court to face criminal charges. It has emerged that Forsey resigned from Mash Holdings, where he had been company secretary for ten years, on August 1. He was then due to appear in court on August 15 but the hearing was adjourned until next week. Mash Holdings is Ashley’s £2.7billion holding company for his stakes in Newcastle United and Sports Direct. Shares in the FTSE 100 Sports Direct fell almost 7 per cent on Friday afternoon after the criminal charges against Forsey became public.


Revenues at Harris Tweed Hebrides rose 5pc as sales rise beyond woven suits.A range of golfing gear for the Ryder Cup and a burgeoning market for tweed accessories helped Harris Tweed Hebrides to grow its revenues 5pc to £9.5m and invest in its machinery during 2014. The firm, set up to preserve the production of Harris Tweed on the Isle of Lewis, has recently sold material to fashion designers including Chanel as well as signing deals with accessories retailers in Japan, its biggest export market, and an English furniture company.

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