UK retail correspondent
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Jan 28, 2015

IKEA sees European revenues rising despite economy worries

LONDON/STOCKHOLM Jan 28 (Reuters) – IKEA Group, the world’s
biggest furniture retailer, expects a rise in European revenues
to continue this financial year, with its focus on low prices
helping it to cope in a struggling economy.

The privately-held Swedish company, which makes almost 70
percent of sales in Europe, said on Wednesday demand in
previously crisis-hit countries such as Portugal, Spain and
Italy had picked up in its financial year ending August 2014.

Jan 27, 2015

Britain’s Black Friday genie now out of the bottle

LONDON (Reuters) – Britons literally fell over themselves for “Black Friday” bargains in November, so retailers need to make the discount day imported from across the Atlantic work for the industry.

Black Friday took hold in Britain in a major way for the first time last year, as store groups sought to match the promotions of big U.S. online retailers such as Amazon and use the event to kick-start interest in Christmas shopping.

Jan 21, 2015

Black Friday drives Dixons Carphone’s forecast beating Xmas

LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) – British electricals and mobile
phone retailer Dixons Carphone raised its full-year
profit forecast after Christmas trading beat expectations,
having been given an early boost by Black Friday deals in
November.

While rivals, such as Argos, have complained that
the U.S.-imported Black Friday sales day on Nov. 28 was
unhelpful as it pulled Christmas sales forward and then created
a lull in spending, Dixons Carphone said the pattern of shopping
worked well for it.

Jan 18, 2015

UK supermarkets braced for battle as Tesco comes out fighting

LONDON, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Four months into the job, Tesco
boss Dave Lewis has wasted no time imposing a range of
price cuts and customer service improvements designed to regain
the initiative in a tough market. There are already signs
customers are noticing.

Despite the series of shocks Tesco suffered in the past
year, famously prompting billionaire investor Warren Buffett to
admit buying into the stock was a huge mistake, it remains clear
leader in its home market, lending it the clout to squeeze its
“big four” rivals as well as upstart discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Jan 15, 2015

Primark’s strong Christmas helps to offset ABF’s sugar troubles

LONDON, Jan 15 (Reuters) – Robust Christmas trading at
Primark, the discount fashion chain owned by Associated British
Foods, helped to make up for falls in revenue at the
group’s sugar business in the first quarter, which will weigh on
full-year earnings.

AB Foods said on Thursday it expected a marginal decline in
adjusted earnings per share for its 2014-15 year from the 104.1
pence made in 2013-14. Growth at Primark and progress at its
grocery, ingredients and agriculture businesses would offset
sugar, hurt by a fall in European Union sugar prices and
weakness in the world sugar price.

Jan 13, 2015

Morrisons ditches CEO after Christmas sales fall

LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) – The intense pressure in Britain’s
supermarket sector claimed its first scalp of the year on
Tuesday with the departure of Morrisons chief executive
Dalton Philips following a plunge in Christmas sales from
Britain’s No. 4 grocer.

Bradford, northern England, based Morrisons said it needed a
new leader to return the supermarket to growth after it lagged
larger rivals Tesco, Wal-Mart’s Asda and
Sainsbury’s under Philips’s five-year watch.

Jan 9, 2015

Debt downgrade is new hurdle on Tesco road to recovery

LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) – The downgrading of Tesco’s
debt to “junk” status could limit its bargaining power
on asset sales as well as symbolising the decline in fortunes of
Britain’s biggest retailer.

Ratings agency Moody’s downgraded the company’s debt to
non-investment grade late on Thursday on expectations that
profits will remain challenged by the rapid changes in the
British supermarket sector.

Jan 9, 2015

One step forward, one step back as Tesco’s debt cut to “junk”

LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) – The downgrading of Tesco’s
debt to “junk” status could limit its negotiating power
on potential asset sales as Britain’s biggest retailer embarks
on the long-awaited recovery plan designed to reverse its
sliding fortunes.

On Thursday Tesco’s shares had risen as much as 15 percent
in their biggest one-day gain since 1988 after the grocer
reported much better-than-feared Christmas trading and new boss
Dave Lewis detailed plans to slash costs and sell assets to fund
lower prices and recover lost market share.

Jan 8, 2015

Tesco kicks off fightback with cost cuts and asset sales

LONDON (Reuters) – Tesco will slash costs and sell assets to
fund lower prices and mend its finances, Britain’s biggest
retailer said on Thursday, as its new boss set out his plan to
fight back from years of market share losses and an accounting
scandal.

Dave Lewis, poached from Unilever to rescue Tesco from the
biggest crisis in its 96-year history, said on Thursday he would
halve capital spending, scrap the dividend, consider the sale of
the Dunnhumby data gathering business, consolidate head office
locations and shut the final salary pension scheme to save cash.

Jan 8, 2015

Tesco store closures herald broader property overhaul

LONDON/BERLIN (Reuters) – Tesco’s (TSCO.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) announcement on Thursday that it will close 43 stores and cancel another 49 developments is just the start of a review of a huge property portfolio that is out of tune with modern shopping habits.

The world’s biggest retailers are all struggling to adapt as time-pressed customers buy more groceries locally or online rather than shopping in the out-of-town megastores that flourished in previous decades.

    • 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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