UK retail correspondent
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Mar 4, 2015

Insight – M&S breaks with tradition to get more agile on style

LONDON (Reuters) – Shoppers usually blame dowdy clothes and tired stores for the painful decline of Britain’s former retail powerhouse Marks & Spencer (MKS.L: Quote, Profile, Research). But the parts of the business that customers never see could hold the key to its revival.

After hiring new designers, overhauling its online offering and giving a facelift to stores, M&S still needs to push home its most ambitious project: overturning more than a century of retail history by taking full control of its supply chain.

Mar 4, 2015

M&S breaks with tradition to get more agile on style

LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) – Shoppers usually blame dowdy
clothes and tired stores for the painful decline of Britain’s
former retail powerhouse Marks & Spencer. But the parts
of the business that customers never see could hold the key to
its revival.

After hiring new designers, overhauling its online offering
and giving a facelift to stores, M&S still needs to push home
its most ambitious project: overturning more than a century of
retail history by taking full control of its supply chain.

Mar 4, 2015

Better-off Britons drive record profit at Greggs

LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) – Britons have stopped scrimping
and are treating themselves to pasties, sausage rolls and sticky
buns, helping food-on-the-go retailer Greggs make record
profits.

Wages in Britain are recovering after growing by less than
inflation for much of the period since the financial crisis
whilst shop prices are barely rising.

Mar 3, 2015

UK’s Travis Perkins says demand may waver ahead of election

LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) – Travis Perkins,
Britain’s biggest supplier of building materials, cautioned that
trade could be disrupted ahead of the May 7 general election as
customers hold back on big purchase decisions.

The group, which runs 18 brands including Travis Perkins,
Wickes, City Plumbing, Keyline, Tile Giant and BSS, across 1,900
UK outlets, said that if previous national elections were
anything to go by, the six to eight weeks leading up to the poll
were likely to see more subdued demand.

Feb 25, 2015

UK’s Morrisons names former Tesco man as new boss

LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Britain’s No. 4 supermarket
Morrisons has named former Tesco executive
David Potts as its new chief executive, completing a triumvirate
of ex-Tesco men at the top of the firm.

Potts, 57, who had been the bookmakers’ favourite for the
job, is tasked with returning Morrisons to growth after it
lagged larger rivals, market leader Tesco, Wal-Mart’s
Asda and Sainsbury’s.

Feb 23, 2015

Sales at AB Foods’ Primark helped by lower fuel prices

LONDON, Feb 23 (Reuters) – Sales growth at the Primark
discount fashion chain has accelerated over the last eight weeks
as falling fuel prices boost shoppers’ disposable income,
Associated British Foods said on Monday.

The group reiterated its annual earnings expectations with
growth at Primark and progress at its grocery, ingredients and
agriculture businesses helping to offset continued weakness in
its sugar operation.

Feb 19, 2015

UK’s Asda says rivals’ use of discount vouchers unsustainable

LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Asda, the British arm of U.S.
supermarket group Wal-Mart, blamed a fall in its sales
on the unprecedented use of discount vouchers by its big four
rivals and warned the practise was unsustainable and damaging
profits across the sector.

Of Britain’s big four supermarkets – market leader Tesco
, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons -
Asda’s market share has been the most stable over the last
couple of years.

Feb 18, 2015

Tesco hires turnaround man to steer recovery

LONDON, Feb 18 (Reuters) – John Allan’s credentials as a
turnaround specialist have given the 66-year-old the chance to
make his mark on Britain’s cut-throat grocery industry as
chairman of troubled Tesco, some 35 years after he left
the supermarket sector.

Described by analysts as “a shrewd operator” and “a safe
pair of hands”, Allan joins Britain’s biggest retailer armed
with a CV packed with international experience, giving him the
breadth of expertise outgoing chairman Richard Broadbent was
seen by some to be lacking.

Feb 10, 2015

New Look boss says firm ready for stock market listing

LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) – British fashion retailer New Look
is ready to make another attempt at a stock market
flotation, though any decision to do so rests with its owners,
its chief executive said on Tuesday.

New Look, which pulled a planned listing in 2010 amid
turbulent financial markets, is owned by private equity groups
Apax and Permira as well as founder Tom
Singh. They took the firm private for 800 million pounds ($1
billion) in 2004.

Feb 6, 2015

UK’s Poundland swoops for 99p Stores

LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Europe’s largest single-price
retailer Poundland has snapped up smaller and
struggling British rival 99p Stores, seeking to speed up its
already rapid expansion.

Poundland shares rose up to 10.3 percent on Friday after it
said it had agreed to pay 55 million pounds ($84 million) to 99p
Stores’ owners, the Lalani family.

    • 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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