UK retail correspondent
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Jul 30, 2015

Thomas Cook says Tunisia, Greece and forex to dent profit

LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) – Travel firm Thomas Cook
has warned that cancellations of holidays to Tunisia after a
beach gun attack, concerns regarding Greece’s potential exit
from the euro and a currency hit would knock 64 million pounds
($100 million) off this year’s profit.

Shares in the London-listed group, down 13 percent since
June 26 when a gunman killed 38 mainly British holidaymakers in
a Tunisian beach massacre claimed by Islamic State militants,
recovered from early losses to be marginally up by mid-morning.

Jul 28, 2015

Sainsbury’s overtakes Asda to become UK’s No.2 supermarket

LONDON (Reuters) – Asda, the British arm of U.S. retailer Wal-Mart (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), on Tuesday lost its status as Britain’s No. 2 supermarket group to rival Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) as industry data confirmed it as the sector laggard.

Asda’s sales fell 2.7 percent over the 12 weeks to July 19, reducing its market share to 16.4 percent from 17.0 percent in the same period last year, researcher Kantar Worldpanel said.

Jul 28, 2015

Next lifts profit expectations after first-half beat

LONDON, July 28 (Reuters) – Next, Britain’s
second-largest clothing retailer, nudged up its annual sales and
profit forecasts after beating its own guidance for first-half
sales growth, boosted by warm weather in June and July.

Shares in the firm, which trades from more than 500 shops in
Britain and Ireland, about 200 mainly franchised stores overseas
and the Directory catalogue and internet business, rose up to 2
percent on Tuesday — near to their record high — after it also
said it would pay another special dividend, its third this year.

Jul 27, 2015

Reckitt Benckiser raises guidance after strong half

LONDON, July 27 (Reuters) – Consumer goods maker Reckitt
Benckiser raised annual revenue and profit margin targets
after a forecast-beating first-half performance on Monday led by
consumer health and hygiene in most of its markets around the

Shares in the British manufacturer of Durex condoms, Dettol
disinfectant and Nurofen painkillers rose by as much as 2.9
percent on Monday, close to their record high, after it also
said it would hit the upper end of targeted cost savings ahead
of schedule. Shares have risen 23 percent over the last year.

Jul 17, 2015

M&S veteran eyes top job as takes on clothing role

LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) – Steve Rowe’s switch from running
Marks & Spencer’s food business to heading its general
merchandise arm could make or break his chances of succeeding
Marc Bolland as chief executive, arguably the most prestigious
job in British retail.

Rowe has led the upmarket food division for three years,
delivering 23 straight quarters of underlying sales growth and
an outperformance of the wider industry, helping M&S post a
first rise in profit in four years in 2014-15.

Jul 16, 2015

Marks & Spencer clothing boss quits firm for new role

LONDON (Reuters) – John Dixon, the head of Marks & Spencer’s non-food division, has quit Britain’s biggest clothing retailer to become chief executive of another company, M&S said on Thursday.

The 131-year-old M&S said Dixon, whose purview spans clothing, shoes and homeware, would step down from the M&S board immediately and leave the company on a date to be agreed. His destination was not disclosed.

Jul 15, 2015

Burberry committed to Hong Kong despite sales slowdown

LONDON, July 15 (Reuters) – Falling sales in Burberry’s
Hong Kong market will not deter the British luxury
brand from its commitment to one of its most profitable regions,
it said on Wednesday.

Pro-democracy protests in the city, which accounts for
around 10 percent of Burberry’s total retail and wholesale sales
gathered pace last year, keeping mainland Chinese tourists

Jul 7, 2015

Setback for Marks & Spencer as clothing sales dip

LONDON (Reuters) – British retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported a dip in first-quarter underlying sales in its clothing, shoes and homeware business on Tuesday, a setback after a return to growth in the previous three months.

However, the 131-year-old mainstay of Britain’s shopping streets said it remained on track to grow profit margins this year — a key target for its general merchandise business.

Jun 30, 2015

Tesco seeks fresh start with suppliers who survive cull

LONDON, June 30 (Reuters) – Suppliers to Tesco can
expect a better deal from Britain’s biggest supermarket chain as
it tries to sustain a tentative revival — providing their wares
survive a cull that is removing thousands of products from

Last week Tesco enjoyed the first fruits of a radical
shake-up of its 3,000 British suppliers as new deals and changes
to product ranges helped to feed price reductions that drove
better than expected quarterly sales.

Jun 30, 2015

Ocado says edging closer to first overseas deal

LONDON, June 30 (Reuters) – British online grocer Ocado
is closing in on its first technology deal with an
overseas retailer, it said on Tuesday, disappointing investors
who had hoped for news of a firm transaction.

Ocado shares, up around 30 percent in the last three months,
fell as much as 5.5 percent in early trading.

    • 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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