UK retail correspondent
James's Feed
Sep 16, 2014

ASOS to cut prices after third profit warning

LONDON, Sept 16 (Reuters) – British online fashion retailer
ASOS warned on profit for the third time in seven
months, saying its needs to cut prices in international markets
to reverse a sharp slowdown in sales growth.

Until this year ASOS had been the great success story of
British retailing and a darling of the stock market, helped by
its appeal to internet-savvy twentysomethings and high-profile
fans including singer Rita Ora and U.S. First Lady Michelle
Obama.

Sep 11, 2014

UK grocers’ pain reaches upmarket Waitrose

LONDON, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Cut-throat competition in
Britain’s grocery market and changing shopping habits are
starting to hurt the high end as well as the low, company
results showed on Thursday, with profits more than halving at
Morrisons and falling sharply at upmarket Waitrose.

Waitrose has previously been one of the winners of a sharp
polarisation in the market that has seen premium-end grocers as
well as budget stores Aldi and Lidl gain share at the expense of
the “big four” grocers – market leader Tesco,
Wal-Mart’s Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.

Sep 10, 2014

Kingfisher names head of French unit as new CEO

LONDON, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Kingfisher, Europe’s No.
1 home improvements retailer, revealed the head of its French
arm would replace Ian Cheshire as chief executive to steer the
group through a period of major change.

Veronique Laury will become the fifth female CEO of
Britain’s top 100 companies. She will take the helm before the
end of January 2015, Kingfisher said on Wednesday.

Sep 8, 2014

Sugar prices to drag on profit growth for Primark owner AB Foods

LONDON, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Falling sugar prices are set to
hold back earnings growth at Associated British Foods in
the next two years, offsetting continued strong performance at
the group’s Primark discount fashion chain.

On Monday AB Foods maintained its guidance for its financial
year to Sept. 13, forecasting adjusted earnings per share ahead
of the 98.9 pence made in 2012-13.

Aug 14, 2014

Britain’s Asda says sales growth shows price cuts are working

LONDON (Reuters) – Asda, the British arm of the world’s biggest retailer Wal-Mart, reported an acceleration in quarterly sales growth and hailed the improvement as proof that its price-cutting strategy is working.

Asda was the first of Britain’s so called big four grocers, which also include market leader Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, to counter the threat posed by discounters Aldi [ALDIEI.UL] and Lidl [LIDUK.UL] by cutting its own prices.

Aug 14, 2014

M&S patches up ‘consumer love affair’ for merrier Christmas

LONDON (Reuters) – British retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is close to having both its food and general merchandise divisions “firing on all cylinders” and expects a better Christmas after poor clothing sales hit last holiday season, according to its food business head.

While the 130-year-old firm’s general merchandise (GM) division – clothing, footwear and homewares – has posted 12 consecutive quarters of declining sales at stores open over a year, its food business has delivered 19 straight quarters of like-for-like sales growth.

Aug 1, 2014

Insight: Tesco’s new boss – the outsider on the inside track

LONDON (Reuters) – When Tesco needed a new chief executive to rebuild the world’s third-biggest retailer it turned to “Drastic Dave” Lewis, a turnaround specialist who is probably as close to being an insider as an outsider can be.

The 49-year-old earned the nickname during his 27 years at Unilever, where he turned around a string of operations including the consumer giant’s British business, cutting costs and energising staff with innovative marketing campaigns.

Aug 1, 2014

Tesco’s new boss – the outsider on the inside track

LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) – When Tesco needed a new
chief executive to rebuild the world’s third-biggest retailer it
turned to “Drastic Dave” Lewis, a turnaround specialist who is
probably as close to being an insider as an outsider can be.

The 49-year-old earned the nickname during his 27 years at
Unilever, where he turned around a string of operations
including the consumer giant’s British business, cutting costs
and energising staff with innovative marketing campaigns.

Jul 29, 2014

Heat on Morrisons CEO as ex-Tesco man named next chairman

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) – Morrisons named Tesco
veteran Andrew Higginson as its next chairman on
Tuesday, turning up the heat on Chief Executive Dalton Philips
as he tries to combat the supermarket’s loss of market share.

Higginson, who spent 15 years as an executive director at
rival Tesco, will replace Morrisons Chairman Ian Gibson when he
retires in 2015. Higginson will join the Morrisons board on Oct.
1 as non-executive deputy chairman and chairman elect.

Jul 29, 2014

Next raises profit forecast and shows up M&S

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) – British clothing retailer Next
on Tuesday raised its guidance for annual sales and
profit for the second time in three months after another strong
quarter in stark contrast to
rival Marks & Spencer’s recent performance.

Marks & Spencer remains Britain’s biggest clothing retailer
by total sales but has reported 12 consecutive quarters of
underlying sales decline in its general merchandise division.

    • About James

      "Based in London I cover the UK retail and consumer sector with an emphasis on quoted companies and broader macro themes. I was previously an equities reporter at Extel, AFX and Thomson Financial."
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