Newspaper retail round up

A round up of the retail news in this week’s papers.

Homebase to bring winter sale forward

Home Retail Group is said to be considering bringing Homebase’s key January winter sale forward into December in a bid to avoid the planned return of VAT to the standard 17.5% rate. The move could force rivals to follow suit. B&Q said it was unlikely to change drastically any plans for its January sale but if necessary, it would respond to Homebase’s pricing.

Ex- M&S boss buys German Hallhuber chain

Change Capital, the private equity firm of former Marks & Spencer chairman Luc Vandelvelde announced the acquisition of German womenswear retailer Hallhuber in a £25m deal. The chain operates 89 outlets in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland. In April, the private equity company abandoned its investment in Robert Dyas, which left it with a £30 million pounds loss.

Lloydspharmacy to add GP services

Lloydspharmacy, the high street chemist is setting itself up as a healthcare provider and has introduced online doctor’s surgeries in 300 stores so patients can order prescriptions online and access remote advice from doctors. It has also installed consultation rooms where patients can be given check-ups and vaccines.

From The Times

Consumer confidence on the rise
Shoppers’ fears about the downturn appear to be on the wane, according to figures from TNS Worldpanel. More consumers are returning to upmarket supermarkets, such as Waitrose, following a flirtation with low-cost chains at the peak of the recession. Sales at Waitrose rose by 10.2% in the three months to August 9, ahead of the grocery sector’s average of 5.6%. Discount chains are still outperforming the industry average, but the phenomenal growth seen at the close of 2008 is slowing. Aldi reported 8.1% growth during the period.

Tesco bank accounts by 2010
Supermarket giant Tesco is to offer current accounts and mortgages by 2010. Its entrance into banking aims to “start from scratch” and avoid the bonus culture that has plagued the financial sector.

Aldi tempts graduates
Discount supermarket Aldi is tempting graduates with starter salaries of £40,000 for a trainee area manager, plus benefits including private healthcare, five-week holiday and an Audi company car.

From the The Guardian

Gamestop earnings fall
US entertainment retailer Gamestop saw second quarter earnings fall 32% as consumers spent less on video games. A weak line up of new game releases and a lack of discounting on consoles is said to have kept people out of the stores.

Barnes and Noble struggling
US bookstore chain Barnes & Noble recorded its fifth consecutive quarter of declining sales, and its seventh consecutive decline in earnings, reflecting the broader struggle of book stores as consumers move to online retailers.

From the Wall Street Journal

Jessops appoints chief executive
Struggling camera retailer Jessops has appointed Trevor Moore as the new chief executive of its retail business. Moore will take over the post in September.

Tesco introduces DVD kisosks
Tesco will offer DVD rental kiosks offering new release films in more than 100 stores in a deal with The Movie Booth. Tesco has already tested the kiosks in Ireland. Each automated kiosk holds 620 films and the fee per film is £2 for a night’s rental.

From the The Independent

Zavvi staff in pay dispute
Former Zavvi staff are being forced to face employment tribunals to recoup lost pay and benefits entitlements incurred after the entertainment retailer collapsed last year. Staff were told at the time redundancy payments were transferred to Head Entertainment a new company set up after the company folded and were protected under government Transfers of Undertakings (TUPE) regulations. However it has later emerged a technicality has left staff believing the company reneged on TUPE and they have lost out.

Row between JJB bosses swells
JJB Sports chairman, Sir David Jones, has threatened the retailer’s former chief executive, Chris Ronnie, with legal action unless he surrenders email correspondence between the two in a further escalation of the public row between the two. Ronnie is trying to salvage his reputation after being sacked by JJB’s board for “gross misconduct” earlier this year. Ronnie has since revealed an email exchange in which Sir David praised his strategy at JJB

Shop floor job applications soar
Applications for shop floor jobs in retail are soaring, leaving younger workers struggling to compete with more experienced staff for temporary vacancies. Over 1,600 people applied for 280 jobs on offer at a new Waitrose store opening in Colchester, Essex.

From the Sunday Telegraph

Focus saved from administration
Focus DIY has agreed a rescue deal with landlords that will save the home improvement chain from administration. Focus will shed leases on 38 closed stores saving £8.6m. Landlords will also receive a share of a £3.7m compensation fund.

Retailers hoard cash on premises
Low interest rates are causing retailers to keep more cash on premises as there is less incentive to put money in the bank according Nick Buckles chief executive of G4S, which runs Tesco’s cash machine network.

From the Financial Times

Coleen Nolan to front Iceland
Coleen Nolan is set to replace Kerry Katona as the new face of Iceland’s TV adverts. The pair have previously appeared together in several ads for the retailer.

From The Mail on Sunday

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