Cancelled horse races cause GVC’s betting shops to stumble

A host of cancelled horse races due to adverse weather caused GVC’s betting shops to stumble at the start of this year but the might of its online business more than countered the impact. Boss Kenny Alexander said that in the first 20 weeks of the year, the group’s high street shops, which it acquired in…

Sale Sharks rugby club owners take control of Cotton Traders

The owner of Sale Sharks rugby club has struck a deal to seize control of clothing retailer Cotton Traders. Investment fund CorpAcq has snapped up a majority stake in the 30-year-old firm from founders, and former England rugby players, Fran Cotton and Steve Smith. The undisclosed swoop will help bankroll plans to bolster its online…

Retail sales rebound as sunshine brings out the shoppers 

Britain’s economy could be back on the front foot as retail sales recovered sharply in April, bouncing back from a fall in March when snowy weather hit sales. Shoppers increased the amount bought by 1.6pc on the month, smashing expectations of a 0.9pc rise and reversing March’s 1.1pc drop. Compared with April 2017 sales volumes…

Beast from the East blows B&Q sales off course

DIY chain B&Q has suffered a near-double digit sales fall after Britain’s cold snap meant it had to temporarily close stores and it faced tough competition in an «uncertain» UK market. Sales at B&Q tumbled 8.8pc to £828m in the three months to April, as freak weather from the «Beast from the East»  battered the high…

Pub owner Young’s shrugs off high street ‘doom and gloom’

Pub owner Young’s has shrugged off «doom and gloom» around consumer spending and Brexit with another year of sales growth and an increase to its dividend.  Chief executive Patrick Dardis cheered what he called “industry-leading” sales growth of 6.2pc, with turnover hitting £279.3m in the year to April 2. Like-for-like revenue, measuring sites open more…

Topshop posts £10.9m loss as it grapples with tough retail environment

Topshop is the latest retailer to have taken a battering from tough conditions on the high street after posting a multi-million pound loss in its last financial year. The retailer, whose parent company Arcadia Group is owned by Sir Philip Green and includes both Topshop and Topman, made a £10.9m loss in the year to August 2017, compared with a £59.4m profit the…

Hollywood Bowl halves debt as customer numbers rise

Hollywood Bowl has halved its debt pile thanks to a rise in the number of customers through its doors. Chief executive Stephen Burns said bowlers were also spending more money per game, which boosted sales and allowed it to slash debt by nearly half from £13.5m to £7.2m in the first half of its financial year. The company’s…

Dairy Crest raises £70m to expand cheese production

Dairy Crest is to spend £85m expanding its creamery in Cornwall, where it makes its Cathedral City and Davidstow brands, to keep up with growing demand for cheese from customers around the world. The investment over the next five years will boost Dairy Crest’s production capacity from 54,000 tonnes of cheese a year to 77,000…

M&S profits plunge on store closure costs

Marks & Spencer has unveiled another year of falling profits as the high street giant counts the cost of its transformation programme. The retailer reported a 62.1pc fall in pre-tax profit to £66.8m in the year to March 31 as it was dragged down by £321.1m in costs linked to a store closure programme. Chief executive…

Tesco Direct to close, putting 500 jobs at risk

Tesco has announced that it is closing its non-food website Tesco Direct, putting around 500 jobs at risk. The e-commerce website which sells clothing, homewares and electricals, was launched in 2006 as the supermarket giant’s attempt to take on Amazon and Argos. However, the retailer said that «despite its best efforts, there is no route to profitability for…

Pets at Home boss vows to return profits to growth

The boss of Pets at Home has vowed to return the business to profitable growth, as the retailer reported a profit slump in the year to March 29. Pets at Home posted a 12.3pc drop in underlying pre-tax profit to £84.5m and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of £123.3m — down from £130.5m the previous year….

M&S confirms 14 more shops to be axed taking total to over 100

Marks & Spencer has announced that it will shut another 14 stores affecting 1,000 jobs as part of a radical restructuring programme that will result in 100 shops closing their doors. The latest tranche of store closures comes as the retailer’s chief executive Steve Rowe embarks on a five-year plan to turn around the business as it battles to reverse…

Halfords’ shares skid as it warns profits will be flat this year

Investors knocked almost a tenth off the value of Halfords’ shares after the bike and car parts retailer warned its profits were unlikely to grow this year. The retailer plans to invest more in its services arm and make better use of customer data, adding this would hold profits back in the coming year. It came as it revealed a…

MPs urge Theresa May to take action over Sainsbury’s contract changes

More than 100 MPs have signed a letter to Theresa May urging her to take action against the «unscrupulous contract changes» at high street retailer Sainsbury’s, which they claim will see «10pc of its staff lose up to £3,000 per year». The letter, written by Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, and signed by David Lammy among others, says that while…

DFS boss steps aside after eight years

The boss of furniture seller DFS will stand down in November after eight years at the helm. Ian Filby, who led the retailer through its March 2015 IPO, will be replaced by the company’s chief operating officer Tim Stacey. The pair previously worked together at Alliance Boots, where Mr Filby was trading director and Mr…

M&S bolsters its board with two new directors ahead of crunch results 

Marks & Spencer has bolstered its board with two new non-executive directors ahead of crunch results this week in which it is expected to reveal plans to close more stores. Katie Bickerstaffe, formerly UK and Ireland boss of electricals seller Dixons Carphone, and Pip McCrostie, who previously led accounting giant EY’s corporate finance business, will…

Steiner earns £110m bonus following Ocado-Kroger tie-up

Ocado deliveries will soon include the largest ever executive bonus for the boss of a London-listed company, and a multi-million pound surprise windfall for its chairman. Tim Steiner, Ocado’s co-founder and major shareholder, will pocket a bonus totalling £110m for last year after the online grocer’s share price surged following its tie-up with US supermarket…

Flat-sharing social network bags £1m from investors

A fledgling flat-sharing social network has raised £1m from new and existing investors in just four weeks as its popularity among the growing “generation rent” accelerates. Ideal Flatmate, founded by Tom Gatzen and Rob Imonikhe, secured some of the cash from lead investor David Pollock, an estate agency veteran who founded his own north London…

Marks and Spencer slump raises FTSE relegation fears

Marks & Spencer is bracing for a second straight year of falling profits and a potential relegation from the FTSE 100 index as biting retail conditions hit food and clothing sales. The high street staple will reveal a 7pc fall in pre-tax profits to £572.6m, and a meagre 1pc revenue rise to £10.7bn, when it…

Blackstone checks out of Hilton after 11 years

After holding an interest in Hilton Worldwide for nearly 11 years, private equity firm Blackstone Group has decided to exit the hotel chain operator by selling its about 5.8pc stake.  The sale of 15.8 million shares would generate about $1.32bn (£980m), based on Hilton’s Thursday close at $83.30. Hilton said today it will not receive any proceeds…

Carpetright kick-starts £60m share placing to bankroll restructuring

Struggling retailer Carpetright has launched a £60m fundraising to help rescue the business from its precarious financial position. The flooring-to-beds company has issued a slew of new shares at 28p each, marking a 16pc discount on its closing share price of 33.25p on May 17. The share sale will be used to bankroll the firm’s costly overhaul…

Asda notches up four consecutive quarters of sales growth

Supermarket giant Asda has rung up its fourth consecutive quarter of sales growth, shrugging off the tough retail climate as it gears up for a proposed £15bn merger with Sainsbury’s. Britain’s third biggest grocer clocked a 3.4pc rise in like-for-like sales during the first three months of the year. Stripping out the impact of Easter, which…

Ocado strikes ‘transformational’ deal with US giant Kroger

Ocado will build as many as 20 robotic warehouses in the United States as part of a landmark deal with US supermarket giant Kroger that will significantly accelerate its plans to become a global supplier of white-label online shopping technology. Kroger, which is second only to Walmart in terms of US market share, with revenues…

Mothercare swings axe on 50 stores and brings back ousted boss

Mothercare is to swing the axe on 50 underperforming stores and re-hire the chief executive it sacked just weeks ago as part of a wide-ranging shake-up. The closures, which will result in hundreds of job losses, will be carried out through a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) — a move which allows companies to close loss-making…

Cineworld suffers shareholder revolt against executive pay plans

Cineworld was dealt a blow by shareholders at its annual general meeting, with more than a third rejecting its executive pay plans, even as the cinema chain had backed down on an earlier, more generous policy. Of those voting at the meeting, around 34pc did so against the remuneration policy, which Cineworld said it had…

Mitchells and Butlers battered by snowy weather and rising costs

Pub group Mitchells & Butlers suffered at the hands of the ‘Beast of the East’ weather front in March, with boss Phil Urban estimating that the inclement conditions took £12m of potential sales off its top line. Rising costs also took their toll, pushing the company’s pre-tax profits down 8pc to £69m for the six months…

Arts Club to follow rival private members clubs in expanding overseas

A private members club whose founders include Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope is planning to expand overseas, opening its first sites outside London in a «multi-million dollar investment». The Arts Club said it would be opening a 23,000 square foot members club in Dubai next year, and another site in Los Angeles the following year. It is also planning…

Premier Foods hails return to form as squeezed consumers eat in

Mr Kipling cake maker Premier Foods has racked up its highest sales growth for five years, bolstered by squeezed consumers opting to eat at home.   The group behind Angel Delight and Batchelors Super Noodles rang up a 3.6pc rise in revenues to £819.2m for the year ending in March. That was underpinned by its tie-ups…

Angling Direct reels in 44pc sales surge in first year on Aim

Britain’s biggest seller of fishing equipment posted a strong set of maiden results after using the proceeds of its initial public offering to fund a takeover spree and open new shops. Revenues at Angling Direct, which began life as a single tackle shop on the Norfolk Broads, soared 44pc to £30m in the year to…

Asian-owned Dorsett Hotels plans £700m UK expansion

Asian hotelier Dorsett Hotels is set to ramp up its UK presence by ploughing £700m into opening new sites in London and Manchester. Chief executive Winnie Chiu said her company had only recently opened two hotels in London’s Aldgate and Shepherd’s Bush but had plans build five or six more across the two cities in…

Pure Gym pumps iron as no-frills model powers profits

The Sir Chris Hoy-backed low-cost gym operator Pure Gym has booosted its membership by more than 100,000 as fitness enthusiasts continue to flock to operators that eschew long-term contracts. The Leeds-based company said it had 927,000 members after a near 13pc rise in 2017 across its 192-strong gym estate. Pure Gym and rivals such as The…

Mothercare set to accelerate store closures in overhaul bid

Embattled baby chain Mothercare plans to accelerate store closures and go cap in hand to investors as it puts the finishing touches to a major overhaul. The troubled retailer confirmed a report by The Telegraph that it will tap shareholders for cash as part of a range of measures set to be announced alongside its annual results…

Dignity turnaround efforts lifted by higher death rate 

A surge in the number of deaths helped funeral provider Dignity get its financial year off to a strong start as it battles to get back on a positive footing after warning it was struggling against fierce competition. Britain’s only listed funeral operator revealed a 2pc increase in revenues for the 13 weeks to March…

Troubled Mothercare seeks City lifeline

Struggling baby chain Mothercare plans to tap long-suffering investors for tens of millions of pounds as it embarks on a sweeping restructuring plan to revive its fortunes. The Telegraph understands the troubled firm will hit major shareholders with an equity share placing when it outlines a rescue plan alongside full-year results this week.  The chain…

Poundworld future in doubt as discount chain up for sale

Thousands of British high street jobs may be under threat now that Poundworld’s US owner has ditched a rescue plan to bring the loss making discount chain back from the brink, opting to sell up instead.  American private equity backer TPG is said to have instructed Deloitte to find a buyer for Poundworld, which employs around 5,500…

Carpetright secures £15m emergency funding

Embattled retailer Carpetright has secured a £15m lifeline as the group plots a path to firmer financial ground. The under-pressure flooring retailer has been handed an unsecured £15m loan, with an 18pc interest rate and £2.25m arrangement fee, from major shareholder Meditor European Master Fund. In a stock market announcement, the retailer said it would…

House of Fraser crashes to £44m loss as it nears new ownership

Troubled department store chain House of Fraser has dived to a near-£44m loss as sales suffered from falling consumer confidence and the rapid rise of online shopping. The retailer swung from a £1.5m profit to a £43.9m pre-tax loss for the year ending December 2017, with sales sinking 6pc to £787.8m . House of Fraser’s dismal…

Next upgrades profit forecast, boosted by sunshine and online sales

British retailer Next has raised its profit expectations for the year, as unusually sunny weather in recent weeks and an uptick in online business helped drive sales up. The high street retailer’s better than expected £40m of sales in the first quarter added £12m to its full-year profit, prompting it to raise its guidance for full…

Market report: Burberry slumps as Frere dumps stake

Burberry slumped to the bottom of the FTSE 100 after revered activist investor Albert Frère dumped his entire 6.6pc stake in the fashion house. The Belgian billionaire known for shaking up companies ditched his shares just 15 months after first disclosing his stake, unnerving investors still unconvinced by Burberry’s transformation plan. The fashion firm’s shares have…

Walmart takes control of Indian online retailer Flipkart for £12bn

Walmart has agreed to pay $16bn (£12bn) for a roughly 77pc stake in Indian online shopping site Flipkart, the US retailer’s biggest foreign investment ever as it battles rival Amazon in one of the world’s biggest emerging markets. The remainder of the business will be held by some of Flipkart’s existing shareholders, including Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal,…

Tui expands cruise ship fleet to capture rising demand

The world’s largest holiday company Tui’s big bet on cruises is paying off as steep demand helped to pare losses at the tour operator. Chief executive Fritz Joussen has overseen a multibillion-euro investment splashed out on its growing fleet of ships, which was enlarged in May last year with the arrival of Mein Schiff 6. The…

St Modwen sells more than a quarter of its retail portfolio

Property company St Modwen is to sell more than a quarter of its shopping centre portfolio as the British retail sector continues to struggle. The company is selling a shopping park in Longbridge, Birmingham to Zurich Assurance for £53.6m. The shops are a central part of a wider £1bn redevelopment of the area that St Modwen has…

Retail sales fell ‘off a cliff’ in April 

UK retailers saw their worst performance on record in April, with sales shrinking by 3.1pc. This was distorted by the timing of an early Easter, but it represents the sharpest decline recorded by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) since it started its sales monitor in 1995. Sales of items other than food fell by 4.9pc…

Belgian billionaire Albert Frère to sell entire £520m stake in Burberry

Belgian billionaire Albert Frère is planning to sell his entire £520m stake in Burberry just over a year after first disclosing his interest in the company.  Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, Mr Frère’s holding company, said it was selling up to 27.6 million shares, or a 6.6pc stake, in a private placement.  It said the transaction represents «the disposal of…

Sainsbury’s Mike Coupe trousers £1.8m in share awards

Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe has pocketed nearly £1.8m in shares just days after unveiling a £15bn supermarket mega merger with Asda. The chief executive, who dropped a PR clanger after the deal was announced when he was filmed singing “we’re in the money”, has secured 608,700 shares worth around £1.79m. The shares have been handed over…

Deliveroo introduces free accident insurance for riders

Deliveroo is to offer free accident insurance to all of its 35,000 riders. The UK company, which uses a network of gig economy couriers to deliver takeaway meals, said its insurance will cover £7,500 of medical expenses per rider and up to 75pc of gross average income. The insurance deal will cover Deliveroo workers when…

Iceland’s Richard Walker: ‘Retail is facing headwinds, so all we can do is focus on our food and our prices’

Iceland has been at the forefront of driving sustainability initiatives in the retail industry. This includes the ­frozen food chain’s commitment to eliminate plastic packaging for all own-brand products within five years, and most recently, a pledge to remove palm oil from the ingredients in all its products by the end of the year. The man…

Nestlé and Starbucks strike deal to create ‘global coffee alliance’

Swiss food giant Nestlé is paying Starbucks $7.15bn (£5.28bn) in cash for the rights to sell its coffee beans directly to consumers through supermarkets and other food shops around the world. Nestlé is already big in coffee — it owns the Nescafe and Nespresso brands — and the company said this agreement would boost its market position in North America, while giving it more opportunities to…

High street giants in worst shape since 2013

Retailers are in their worst shape for nearly five years and the industry’s woes look set to deepen in the face of weak demand and soaring costs. The health of the retail industry dropped by one point to 79 during the first quarter, hitting its lowest level since 2013, according to a KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think…

John Lewis denies Amazon held takeover talks for Waitrose

The John Lewis Partnership has issued a vehement denial over claims that Amazon approached senior executives in a bid to buy Waitrose last year. Reports emerged over the weekend suggesting that one of Amazon’s directors had made contact with a John Lewis director over a potential tie-up, but that talks were “shut down” by the…

Sports Direct and House of Fraser in court showdown

Two of Britain’s biggest retailers are set to do battle in court as Sports Direct says it is being unfairly denied access to crucial documents on House of Fraser’s corporate plan. Sports Direct holds 11.1pc of House of Fraser’s shares but said it has been “frozen out” by the department store’s directors. As a result it…

McDonald’s UK CEO on how the chain is embracing the 21st century: ‘We made some mistakes taking on battles we shouldn’t have’

“See,” Paul Pomroy points in an exacerbated manner, “we do have real eggs”. Standing next to a stack of British Lion stamped eggs in the revamped St Paul’s restaurant’s kitchen, the boss of McDonald’s UK is on a mission to dispel culturally pervasive myths about the fast-food giant. The Golden Arches traces its roots back…

MPs demand supplier scrutiny on Sainsbury’s-Asda deal 

Pressure on Sainsbury’s and Asda’s £15bn merger has intensified after two parliamentary committees demanded close scrutiny of how suppliers will be affected. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committees have written to the competition watchdog amid concerns the deal could harm the grocery supply chain. The tie-up would…

House of Fraser in talks with pension authorities over stake sale

High street struggler House of Fraser is in talks with pension authorities over its retirement fund after revealing a major ownership shake-up and restructuring drive. The Pensions Regulator confirmed discussions with the company were taking place, as control of the retailer shifts to Hamleys toy shop owner C.banner International Holdings. House of Fraser has two…

House of Fraser to shut stores in major shake-up

House of Fraser plans to axe stores and put hundreds of jobs under threat in a major shake-up that will see the owner of Hamleys toy shop wrest control of the business.  The embattled department store chain has confirmed that China’s C.banner International Holdings will buy a 51pc stake in the business from majority shareholders Nanjing Cenbest….

Pizza Express suffers as cost pressures take a slice out of earnings

Biting conditions in the UK restaurant sector took a slice out of earnings at Pizza Express as higher wages, food price inflation and rent costs weighed on the chain. Improved sales both at home and abroad failed to counter the potent combination of cost pressures which have wreaked havoc on the casual dining sector and caused…

Just Eat passes 400m UK orders after swallowing Hungryhouse

Online takeaway website Just Eat has passed 400m UK orders after swallowing its rival Hungryhouse. Orders from UK customers rose nearly a quarter to 29.7m in the first three months of 2018 helped by the 1.4m transactions from its recent acquisition. The strong UK performance was matched by its international division, which saw orders rise 46pc…

Recovering paper prices help push up sales at DS Smith

DS Smith has been buoyed by a recovery in paper prices and the continued growth of internet shopping, which has increased demand for its packaging products. The company said that in the year to April 30, it had increased its share of the market by targeting multi-national customers, particularly internet retailers and delivery firms.  It…

Competition worries mount for Sainsbury’s and Asda merger as data reveals huge overlap of shoppers

There were growing concerns about the impact of Sainsbury’s planned merger with Asda on Tuesday as new figures showed around nine million households shopped at both supermarket chains over the past three months. The duo control around 31.4pc of Britain’s grocery market between them, according to the data from Kantar Worldpanel, comfortably ahead of current…

Conviviality turned down 11th-hour rescue

Collapsed retailer Conviviality rejected an 11th-hour rescue deal that would have secured the final £18m needed to save the Bargain Booze owner, an investor has revealed. Crystal Amber, the Aim-listed activist investor, made a written offer to the company to help complete Conviviality’s £125m fund-raise in the days leading up to its collapse, but was…

What the Sainsbury’s-Asda deal means for shoppers?

Sainsbury’s and Asda have revealed more about their shock £15bn tie-up, which — if approved by shareholders and regulators — would create the biggest grocer in the UK.  The deal would shake up the retail industry and make a real change in how people shop. But what precisely will the impact be? The Telegraph’s Assistant Business…

What brand of supermarket snob are you? 

This weekend, there was consternation over the breakfast tables across the country as the news broke that Sainsbury’s is striking a deal with Asda to create Britain’s biggest supermarket company. So far, so business pages.  But wait. In some quarters, there is barely concealed anxiety that where branches of Asda sit cheek by jowl with…

Mecca Bingo owner Rank back to full house with hire of new boss

Gambling industry stalwart John O’Reilly will take over as boss of Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo owner Rank just months after incumbent Henry Birth announced his resignation. Mr O’Reilly, who has stepped down from the board of William Hill to take the job, has been in the betting and gaming industry for 25 years including…

Sainsbury’s and Asda: Will the big four soon become three? 

Britain’s grocery sector has been embroiled in an enduring price war, as the rise of online shopping and German discounters revolutionise Britain’s retail landscape. The «big four» grocer’s stranglehold on the market has been waning. Aldi and Lidl’s bargain-focused, no-frills, approach has resonated with many customers. Both Asda and Sainsbury’s have seen their market share…

Sainsbury’s Coupe thinks big as sector reshapes

The boss of Sainsbury’s is building a legacy of mega deals in a bid to strengthen Britain’s second biggest ­supermarket in a fast-changing grocery market. Chief executive Mike Coupe is embarking on his second bumper tie-up in as many years. He is attempting to drive through a colossal £15bn merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda, as…

Calls for £10bn-plus Sainsbury’s-Asda deal to face competition probe

Pressure is mounting on the competition watchdog to launch an investigation into a potential £10bn-plus tie up between Sainsbury’s and Asda amid fears customers could be left worse off. Sainsbury’s and US retail giant Walmart, which owns Asda, are in “advanced talks” over a mega merger of the two British supermarkets. Such a move could see…

Mothercare steps up search for rescue with hunt for new backer

High Street struggler Mothercare is seeking outside financing as it races to seal a rescue package by the middle of May.  The troubled chain has been working with investment bank Rothschild to explore alternative financing options beyond its current lenders, The Sunday Telegraph understands. Accountancy giant KPMG is handling separate discussions with HSBC and Barclays…

Deal to bail out Original Factory Shop will shut stores

The backers of one of the country’s largest bargain chains are stitching together a rescue package that will see it receive a one-off cash injection and ditch a chunk of its portfolio of stores. The Original Factory Shop wants to trim its estate of 220 stores and negotiate cheaper rents on the rest. Private equity owner…

Sainsbury’s mulls Asda tie-up to create supermarket giant

Sainsbury’s is negotiations with Wal-mart about buying its British supermarket arm Asda in a deal which would create a new giant in the UK retail sector. Sainsbury’s is reported to have held preliminary discussions with US retail giant about Wal-Mart about a merger of the UK businesses, a move which see them overtake Tesco as the market leader…

Fallout from London terror attacks still weighs on Merlin’s visitor numbers

A drop in visitor numbers to London caused by terror attacks continues to weigh on leisure giant Merlin Entertainments. A spate of attacks last year, which included the Westminster Bridge and Borough Market atrocities, is still putting tourists off the capital. Merlin said its Midway division, which includes attractions such as Madame Tussauds and Sealife aquariums, is…

Investors cheer N Brown sales boost despite blow to profits 

Jacamo owner N Brown has boosted sales, but seen profits suffer from store closures and insurance compensation payouts. The group behind clothing brands JD Williams and Simply Be notched up a 3.9pc rise in group revenue to £922.2m for the year ending March 3. Investors cheered the move, sending shares up more than 8pc on the London…

Steinhoff sued by former chairman Christo Wiese for £3.4bn

Christo Wiese, former chairman of Steinhoff, is suing the retail conglomerate for £3.4bn over cash injections made in 2015 and 2016, piling further woe on a company still reeling from a major accounting scandal. Mr Wiese’s Titan Group has launched the lawsuits in a bid to claw back some of the cash it invested in Steinhoff.  The first…

Homebase’s woes deepen as cold snap hits sales

The revival of Homebase has suffered a setback after sales plummeted in response to Britain’s freak cold snap. Total sales at the struggling DIY chain slumped 13.5pc to £211m during the first three months of the year, while like-for-like sales dropped 15.4pc. The retailer’s Australian owners Wesfarmers pinned the blame on the bitter weather conditions from…

Poundworld eyes store closures and swingeing job cuts

Budget retailer Poundworld could axe hundreds of jobs and nearly 100 stores in response to the brutal conditions on the high street. The retail chain is eyeing a potential Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), as it looks to reduce its 355-strong estate by a quarter. Such a move would see Poundworld join fellow high street strugglers New Look…

Waterstones to keep expanding under new owners Elliott, says boss

The boss of Waterstones has backed the bookseller to keep expanding on the high street after being snapped up by US hedge fund Elliott Advisors. Chief executive James Daunt branded the sale process a “distraction”, but said the deal was a “very happy outcome” and Waterstones would push ahead with its growth plans. The swoop for…

Boohoo proves doubters wrong with surging sales

The finance boss of Boohoo has said a hefty jump in sales and profits has helped calm market concerns over the online fashion firm’s growth plans. Chief financial officer Neil Catto said the company had proven to investors that its heady rise was not running out of steam, sending shares up 13pc on London’s junior Aim market….

Whitbread to spin off Costa Coffee within two years

Whitbread has confirmed plans to spin off its Costa coffee chain into a separately listed business within two years after activist investors piled on pressure for a split. The FTSE 100 firm, which also owns Premier Inn and restaurant chains including Beefeater, said it would demerge Costa, Britain’s largest chain of coffee shops, “as fast…

Hamleys owner in talks to buy controlling stake in House of Fraser

The Chinese firm behind the iconic toy shop Hamleys is looking to seize a majority stake in department store chain House of Fraser. C.banner International Holdings has entered into a memorandum of understanding with House of Fraser owner Nanjing Xinjiekou Department Store over buying a 51pc slice of the retailer. House of Fraser is 89pc owned by…

Pensions Regulator takes secretive brewer Samuel Smith to court

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is taking pub chain Samuel Smith and its chairman Humphrey Smith to court after the company failed to provide documents linked to an ongoing investigation. TPR requested documents from Samuel Smith Old Brewery and Mr Smith so it could establish the funding position of the chain’s pension schemes. But a request…

Chapel Down US sales sparkle amid bumper demand for English bubbly

Chapel Down’s bet on the US market has paid off after high demand for English bubbly from American consumers helped the British wine maker hit its first year sales target in the country. The Kent-based vineyard surpassed its goal of selling 10,000 bottles of sparkling wine in the US “with ease”, according to chief executive Frazer Thompson. Mr Thompson said Chapel…

Competition watchdog backs Co-op’s £137.5m takeover of Nisa

Britain’s competition watchdog has waved through The Co-operative Group’s £137.5m takeover of corner shop chain Nisa, saying the deal will not leave shoppers worse off. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has backed the proposed tie-up after an opening investigation failed to throw up any concerns. It comes after the Co-op won approval for the deal…

Deliveroo looks to go beyond delivery with restaurant perks

Online takeaway website Deliveroo is hoping to be more than just a helmet-clad delivery service for its thousands of restaurants by helping them cut costs including on the things like energy bills. Its new perks website will allow restaurants to get money off electric and gas bills as well as provide discounts on job advertisements, using temporary…

Luxury fashion brands under fire for hidden supply chains 

Top luxury brands including Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana and Chanel are among the least transparent businesses when it comes to labour conditions in their supply chains, according to research released five years after the Rana Plaza disaster, the sector’s deadliest industrial accident on record.  Dior discloses virtually nothing about where its clothes are made,…

Bonmarche owner eyes swoop for British frozen food giant Young’s

The owner of women’s fashion chain Bonmarche is understood to be weighing a swoop for British frozen food giant Young’s Seafood. Sun Capital Partners, which also controls bed and mattress firm Dreams, is among a clutch of private equity firms considering making an offer for the company, sources have told The Daily Telegraph. Boutique investment…

Online merger to create first ‘super-comparison’ website

A private equity firm is hoping to tap the fierce competition between energy and telecoms services by merging a pair of online price comparison sites to cover energy, broadband, TV and mobile providers. Inflexion Private Equity has struck a deal to buy both Energy Helpline and UK Web Media, which compares mobile phones, to create…

BAT director ‘has too many jobs’ to be re-elected at AGM

Pressure has been piled on a member of British American Tobacco’s board to step down due to claims she has too many commitments to devote enough time to the world’s largest ­cigarette maker. Marion Helmes, who was appointed as a non-executive director in 2016, has five other directorships, including being non-executive director of energy company…

Drone market prepares for take-off after whirl of patents

Fictional depictions of the 21st century often imagined the skies filled with drones but nearly two decades in, this prediction seems far from reality. Even the world’s mightiest of retailers, Amazon, has only trialled deliveries by drone. But new data suggests we could be on the cusp of change and those fanciful visions of the…

Carlyle positions for possible Prezzo takeover through debt

US private equity firm Carlyle Group is positioning itself to possibly wrest control of Prezzo, as the troubled restaurant chain negotiates with creditors to secure some breathing room on its debt covenants. Carlyle has bought more than a third of Prezzo’s senior ranking loans, which would allow it to block company requests to creditors, since…

Bonmarché joins chorus of gloomy retailers

Sales at Bonmarché continued to deteriorate in the final quarter of its financial year, against a backdrop of distress on the UK high street. The retailer, which sells clothing for women over the age of 50, reported an 11.1pc decline in same-store sales in the 13 weeks to the end of March. This was worse…

Unilever moves to calm investor concern over headquarters shift and reveals share buyback

Consumer goods giant Unilever said it was confident of rallying investors behind plans to shift its headquarters to Rotterdam, as it hiked its dividend and unveiled a share buyback scheme. Chief financial officer Graeme Pitkethly moved to assuage concerns that British shareholders could suffer under the proposals, saying the “strategic rationale” behind the move “benefits all…

Big freeze hits Britain’s hard-pressed retailers

Britons stayed at home during the big freeze in March, sending petrol sales plummeting and knocking retail sales across the board. The so-called Beast from the East meant the economy got off to a weak start to 2018 despite falling unemployment. Retail sales fell by 1.2pc in March compared with February, the Office for National…

Mothercare chairman steps down weeks after chief executive departs

The chairman of Mothercare has stepped down just weeks after the troubled retailer’s chief executive was asked to leave following a decline in sales, as crunch talks with creditors continue. Alan Parker is being replaced with immediate effect by Clive Whiley. During his six years as chairman of the mother and baby retailer, Mr Parker has had three…

Young’s Seafood owners put food giant up for sale

The private equity owners of Young’s Seafood have put the frozen food manufacturer up for sale, sparking a potential bidding war. Lion Capital, Bain Capital and HPS Investment Partners have thrown the doors open to prospective buyers as they look to bring down the curtain on their 10-year ownership. Boutique investment house Stamford Partners has…

Debenhams profits crash after poor Christmas and Beast from the East

Debenhams has reported an 84.6pc drop in pre-tax profits to £13.5m for the 26 weeks to March 3. It comes as the retailer saw like-for-like sales drop 2.2pc «against a challenging UK market background». The company added that the final trading week of the period was disrupted by extreme weather conditions, forcing it to temporarily close nearly…

Amazon exceeds 100 million Prime subscribers

Amazon revealed it has exceeded 100 million paid Prime subscribers, the first time the internet giant has provided a figure for users of the service, laying out just how dominant Amazon is in the retail sector.  Chief executive Jeff Bezos, in his annual shareholder letter, said Amazon shipped more than five billion items with Prime worldwide…

Hammerson ditches £3.4bn Intu takeover blaming high street slowdown

Hammerson has dropped its £3.4bn takeover offer for fellow shopping centre giant Intu after pressure from shareholders amid torrid trading on Britain’s high street. The property firm, which owns Birmingham’s Bullring centre, said it had taken the decision after a wave of company voluntary agreement (CVAs) insolvency deals by retailers looking to cut their rent…

Market report: Reckitt falls after warning of sales stall

Dettol and Durex maker Reckitt Benckiser tumbled to the bottom of the FTSE 100 after City analysts warned that the consumer goods giant has tried to compensate for its stalling sales growth by upping prices faster than the competition. After posting its first ever year of flat sales in 2017, the FTSE 100 firm vowed…

Majestic Wine profits set to dip as it bolsters marketing

The boss of Majestic Wine is expecting a £3m dent to next year’s profits as it opts to bolster investment in a marketing drive rather than opening stores. Chief executive Rowan Gormley said the firm had pulled back from launching more bricks and mortar sites because its push to snare more customers online was delivering…

Jamie Oliver sells Australian restaurants amid administration

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has handed the running of his Australian restaurants to another operator after his company there filed for administration. Five sites — in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Parramatta — have been sold to restaurant group Hallmark which will run the Jamie’s Italian restaurants under a franchise agreement. A sixth site in…

JD Sports eyes international expansion as profits boom

Sports and leisurewear retailer JD Sports is hoping its brand translates abroad with an ambitious international expansion plan, after profits soared last year. The FTSE 250 company has opened its first stores in Australia and South Korea, in a push into the Asia-Pacific region, where it has opened nine new stores in the last year. It…

Shopping centre owner Intu bullish as Hammerson takeover looks shaky

Intu has sought to defend its portfolio of shopping centres with a bullish trading update as it scrambles to save its planned £3.4bn tie-up with Hammerson. Chief executive David Fischel said he was keen to “dispel myths” that have persisted about the quality of Intu’s portfolio, and which have caused Hammerson’s shareholders to express concern…

AA’s ousted chief claims £225m in damages

Breakdown company AA is facing a £225m damages claim from its former boss who was dismissed after a hotel bar punch-up with another executive. Posting results for the year to the end of January, the company known for its bright yellow vans confirmed that the ex-executive chairman Bob Mackenzie was seeking the amount along with a claim…

AA’s ousted chief claims £225m in damages

Breakdown company AA is facing a £225m damages claim from its former boss who was dismissed after a hotel bar punch-up with another executive. Posting results for the year to the end of January, the company known for its bright yellow vans confirmed that the ex-executive chairman Bob Mackenzie was seeking the amount along with a claim…

Primark owner ABF knocked by sugar slump

Profits at Primark owner Associated British Foods fell in the first half of its financial year as the cut-price clothes chain’s strong performance was offset by declines in its sugar business.   Sugar sales in the 24 weeks to March 3 plunged 13pc to £938m as the abolition of the European Union’s strict sugar quotas…

Shopping basket abandonment: The online blight costing retailers £18bn a year

Indecisive consumers who abandon their online shopping baskets are causing retailers to lose £18bn worth of potential sales each year, a new survey claims. «Surf and turf» shoppers who walk away from online purchases are most likely to dump knitwear, leather goods, lingerie and headphones, according to Barclaycard, which surveyed more than 2,000 people who had shopped online…

Diageo lends Scottish tourism a boost with cash for visitor centres

Johnnie Walker maker Diageo is set to plough £150m into the Scottish tourism industry over three years via a major new centre in Edinburgh and refurbishing its other distillery visitor attractions. Chief executive Ivan Menezes said the move was designed to take advantage of both the growing popularity of whisky and Scotland as a destination…

Diageo lends Scottish tourism a boost with cash for visitor centres

Johnnie Walker maker Diageo is set to plough £150m into the Scottish tourism industry over three years via a major new centre in Edinburgh and refurbishing its other distillery visitor attractions. Chief executive Ivan Menezes said the move was designed to take advantage of both the growing popularity of whisky and Scotland as a destination…

JD Wetherspoon closes all of its social media accounts with immediate effect

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon deleted all of its social media profiles on Monday, with chairman Tim Martin citing the «current bad publicity surrounding social media, including the trolling of MPs and others» as one of the reasons behind the move. The company closed down its Twitter and Facebook accounts, which had 44,000 and 100,000 followers, respectively, as well as its…

Hedge fund Elliott adds to calls for Whitbread to spin off Costa

Pressure is mounting on Whitbread to spin off its Costa Coffee chain after Elliott, the US hedge fund, swooped to become the leisure giant’s largest shareholder. Elliott made its move late on Friday, disclosing its shareholding was now worth more than £430m which makes it Whitbread’s top investor with a stake of more than 6pc….

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