The Retail Round up - The Sunday Papers
Mail on Sunday
JD Wetherspoon lashed out at the Government for giving supermarkets a tax advantage over pubs, after a ‘reasonable’ first half. Pre-tax profit was up nearly 5pc to £34.8m, but only because £2.6m in one-off costs suffered last year did not recur. If those exceptional costs are stripped out, the pubs chain suffered a near 3pc fall in profit, despite buoyant underlying sales up nearly 7pc.
Campaigners are calling for a standard Made in Britain scheme to cut through the bewildering array that is confusing rather than helping patriotic shoppers. The Department for Business is under pressure to sort out the mess and help create a single system so shoppers can tell at a glance whether a product is made in this country. An e-petition has been launched on the Government’s website by campaign group Make it British and has attracted support from more than 500 companies.
Mary Portas says there's only one way to save our high streets - get involved.Every day I am asked to predict the future of the British high street. I don’t have all the answers, but one thing I do know is that high streets won’t be only about shops. The way we shop changes fundamentally every half century or so. Market traders were replaced by shopkeepers who were usurped by department stores who were challenged by the supermarkets and retail parks. Today internet retail is seen as the great usurper. While the web still represents only 12 per cent of total sales, that figure is expected to rise sharply over the coming decade.
Almost half a million potentially dangerous dishwashers are still being used in households because the machines’ owners cannot be traced. A batch of faulty Bosch dishwashers, made over a seven-year period, are at risk of catching fire. But just one in four has been traced. Over the past few years there have been scores of fires involving the products, with more than a dozen being deemed “serious”. Over the past few years there have been hundreds of fires involving the products, with more than a dozen blazes being deemed “serious”. Authorities last night warned households to be aware of the hazards. Owners were urged to use the machines only under controlled situations and not to leave them unattended.
The chief executive of Nestle has said that the food industry should not be viewed as a “bunch of cheaters” because food production has never been as safe as it is now.Despite the company’s involvement in the recent horse meat scandal, Paul Bulcke, who heads the world’s largest food conglomerate which makes everything from Kit Kats to Herta Frankfurters, blames “fraudsters”. Mr Bulcke said that a sense of “proportion” was necessary, as he blamed criminal elements for the entry of horse DNA into beef products.
Creditors of HMV and Blockbuster were owed almost half a billion pounds when the two retailers collapsed just after Christmas.Fresh documents from Deloitte – working on recovering the assets of both companies – show that music chain HMV owed £347m of debts when it filed for administration in early January. The loss includes £237m owed to a unsecured creditors, which Deloitte says will go unpaid. Meanwhile Blockbuster, the DVD and video-game rental specialist, owed creditors and suppliers £139m when it went into administration
JD Wetherspoon's stance on low prices drives sales growth. Questor says hold.Whether you love them or loathe them, there’s no denying JD Wetherspoon pubs have taken the UK by storm since chairman Tim Martin decided, in 1979, to set up a company named partly after the Sheriff in The Dukes of Hazzard TV series.The group now has 871 pubs across the country – a figure that will rise to 890 by the end of July.
It has been three years in the making, but the largest new shopping centre in Western Europe in 2013 will open its doors in Leeds this week. Trinity Leeds, the £378m scheme developed by FTSE 100 property company Land Securities, will attract an estimated 23m visitors a year, and feature a large range of major retail names including Primark, Topshop, Mango, Next and Urban Outfitters. The 1m sq ft centre is already 90pc let, with around 120 shops, restaurants, bars and coffee shops. It will bring 46 new names to the city and is expected to generate around £29.5m in annual rent for Land Securities.
Sainsbury's will throw down the gauntlet to grocery market leader Tesco this week with strong sales figures. The UK's third-biggest supermarket chain is forecast to announce a 2.3 per cent rise in underlying sales in its fourth-quarter, which would put it ahead of the most recent updates from Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.
Property empire Land Securities is betting that the north's flagging economy will soon return to health as it launches a £350m shopping centre in Leeds. On Thursday, Trinity will be the first major mall to open its doors to shoppers – hopefully with bulging wallets – since September 2011 and the Westfield centre at Stratford, next to London's Olympic Park.
Tesco finds its mega stores are a waste of space and Morrisons makes a late bid to get online as grocers adapt to new habits. The UK's £160bn a year grocery business has run on a fairly simple model since the early 1990s – with one of the key routes to success being the ability to open more and bigger shops.Official data shows online retail sales reached more than £50bn last year, out of total UK retail sales of £350bn. That's already 14% of total spending. According to retail analyst Philip Dorgan at Panmure, more than 30% of retail sales will eventually be transacted online – 20% of food sales and 40% of non-food.The changes in shopping habits will mean a seismic shift in the world of retail and changes in behaviour that Dorgan reckons will have "cataclysmic implications".
Waitrose is examining whether its long-standing contract with Ocado would be breached by the online grocer’s surprise plan for a tie-up with Morrisons. Shares in Ocado rose more than 36% last week after it said it was in talks to license some of its technology and operational expertise to WM Morrison. The deal would give Ocado a much-needed revenue boost and help Morrisons to build an internet presence, where it has lagged rivals such as ainsbury and Tesco.
Administrators are racing to secure the future of HMV this week before the bust high street chain is hit with a rent bill running into tens of millions of pounds. Bidders, including Asda, are weighing offers to save the 90-year-old retailer, which went into administration in January with debts of £180m. HMV's annual turnover was £900m when it collapsed but its profits had been obliterated by the availability of cheaper CDs and DVDs online and in supermarkets, and by digital downloads of music.
The Gulf sovereign wealth fund sounds out backers over a consortium bid for the FTSE 100 high street retailer. One of the Middle East’s richest investment funds is hatching a secret plan for a £8bn swoop on Marks & Spencer, the FTSE 100 high street retailer.The Qatar Investment Authority, the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund, is trying to assemble a powerful bidding consortium to make a move on M&S, senior City sources said. It has approached several large private equity houses to gauge their interest in participating, and spoken to lenders about financing an offer.
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