Newspaper retail round-up

A roundup of stories from the newspapers this week… Tesco, Thorntons, Game, discount stores, John Lewis, Ocado, Zara, New Look, Biba.

The Financial Times:

Thorntons warns of poor Christmas sales

The chocolatier blames “weak consumer confidence and adverse weather” for poor sales over the Christmas period and a slip in pre-tax profit.

Farepak’s final chapter ending in court

Former directors of Swindon-based company will defend a legal action so the last throes of the company stand to be played out in court.

Game Group targets online revenues

The retailer says it will focus more heavily on mobile and social gaming but warns that the strategic shift will reduce the group’s margins.

Bargain hunters hit Blackpool’s pound shops

Although the town boasts the fourth highest retail vacancy rate in the country, large numbers of charity shops and stores selling cheap goods have filled the gap.

Upmarket shops hit as customers catch chill

Ministers’ concern over the national mood may deepen at the disclosure that customer ’footfall’ in shopping centres is falling markedly in areas reliant on the public sector.

John Lewis trust offloads Ocado

Ocado said the share sale would not affect commercial arrangements between it and Waitrose. Shares in Ocado fell 10 per cent on Friday after the John Lewis Partnership pension trust sold its remaining stake in the online grocer.

The Daily Mail:

Tesco refuses to honour Nintendo 3DS priced £40 cheaper than its competitors

After putting the Aqua Blue model on the Tesco Direct website £40 lower than anyone else, the supermarket giant later admitted there had been a ’pricing error’.

VAT hike has slashed consumer confidence

Following the steepest drop in spending index since 2004, just over half of people thought it was a bad time to make a major purchase, while 22 per cent also thought it was a bad time to buy household goods, up from 15 per cent in December.

The Guardian:

Zara scraps T-shirts after bloggers complain

Fashion bloggers said Inditex group, which owns Zara, copied photographs from the internet to use on T-shirt designs.

Empty shops are killing UK’s high streets

The number of vacant shops continues to grow, threatening the future of the high street, especially in the north of England.

New Look valuation cut by private equity backer

One analyst reckons that if New Look’s plan to go public had not been shelved it would have issued two profit warnings by now.

Reborn fashion label Biba spawns plans for spin-offs and stores

House of Fraser’s move to revive Sixties cult clothing brand is paying dividends and inspiring further expansion.

Jaeger for sale as City talks of £100m price tag

Sale would mean huge payouts for owner Harold Tillman and chief executive Belinda Earl.

The Telegraph:

Oxford Street set for more shops and shoppers in overhaul of the east

Nowhere is the growing divergence between the London economy and the rest of the UK more apparent than Oxford Street – one of the UK’s most important shopping centres.

Retailers in battle over JJB closures

Some of Britain’s biggest retailers are threatening to withhold rent payments to landlords if they support JJB Sports’ plan to close up to 95 of its unprofitable stores.

Morrisons steps up to the crease for staff training

Sports-mad Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips has decided coaching courses at Headingley are just cricket for his staff, to help them improve management skills.

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