Newspaper retail round up

A roundup of retail news stories from the past week: Matalan, Ocado, Best Buy, Primark

Matalan looks to refinance

Matalan is working on a refinancing after abandoning its proposed £1.5bn sale when offers fell short of founder John Hargreaves’ expectations.

Spanish sales boost Primark

“Exceptionally” strong performance in Spain helped like-for-like sales at Primark rise 8% in the past six months.

Sports Direct eyes Blacks shares

Sports Direct is looking to take back ownership of shares in rival Blacks Leisure from the administrator of a collapsed Icelandic bank to oppose a planned restructuring at the outdoor chain.

Best Buy mulls Homebase sites

Best Buy is thought to be in talks with Homebase to buy two stores ahead of its much-anticipated launch in the UK this Spring.

M&S barred from poaching Morrisons staff

Marks & Spencer will be unable to take on staff from incoming chef executive Marc Bolland’s former firm Morrisons for a year as part of a deal following his appointment.

From The Financial Times

Ocado float still in the frame

Ocado is still on track for its £1bn stock exchange listing despite a string of high-profile flotations falling through in recent weeks.

Online sales growth stalls in January

Online sales growth was the slowest in a decade as bad weather in January caused a 22% decrease in post-Christmas sales.

Fairtrade sales up 12%

Sales of Fairtrade increased 12% in 2009 according to the Fairtrade Foundation on the eve of Fairtrade Fortnight, its biggest annual campaign.

From The Guardian

Analysts’ tactics questioned

An analyst from JP Morgan has been suspended after penning a 14-page research note about Asda including information gained at a supplier event, to which he had been uninvited.

B&Q sales fall 3%

Kingfisher, the retailer, which owns the B&Q chain, has reported a 3% fall in fourth-quarter sales because of adverse weather.

Burberry axes Spanish sub-brand

Luxury British brand Burberry has said that up to 300 jobs will be lost as it closes its standalone Spanish brand Thomas Burberry to bring it in line with other European operations

From The Times

Pawnbroker profits rise

Albemarle & Bond, the jewellery-based pawn broking business, saw a 31% profit hike in the six months to 31 December as more recession-hit Britons sold their unwanted gold.

Union Jack trend takes hold

Retailers who are predicting that designs incorporating the Union Jack will be one of the hits of the year as products from socks to furniture bearing the flag are selling well.

Diageo looks to supermarkets

Diageo, the world’s biggest spirits maker, is working closely with British supermarkets to tap into the at-home drinking trend as the recession continues to squeeze consumer spending.

From The Telegraph

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