UK retail correspondent
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May 20, 2015

M&S profit rises for the first time in four years

LONDON (Reuters) – British retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) raised hopes that it has finally rediscovered a winning formula, reporting a rise in annual profit for the first time in four years and its intention to return excess cash to shareholders.

Britain’s biggest clothing retailer, which also sells homeware and upmarket food, posted a profit before tax and one-off items of 661.2 million pounds ($1 billion) in the year to March 28, up 6 percent year on year and above a consensus analysts’ forecast of 648 million pounds.

May 20, 2015

Marks & Spencer profit rises for the first time in four years

LONDON (Reuters) – British retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L: Quote, Profile, Research) raised hopes that it has finally rediscovered a winning formula, reporting a rise in annual profit for the first time in four years and its intention to return excess cash to shareholders.

Britain’s biggest clothing retailer, which also sells homeware and upmarket food, posted a profit before tax and one-off items of 661.2 million pounds in the year to March 28, up 6 percent year on year and above a consensus analysts’ forecast of 648 million pounds.

May 19, 2015

UK’s Asda suffers worst sales fall in over five years

LONDON (Reuters) – Asda, the British arm of U.S. retailer Wal-Mart (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), reported its worst quarterly sales fall in more than five years on Tuesday, but insisted its long-term strategy was the right one.

Asda, ranked second by annual revenue behind Tesco (TSCO.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) among British supermarkets, has been hit by an industry price war and record food deflation. It warned this year was shaping up to be even tougher than 2014, with the grocery market turbulent and shopping habits continuing to change.

May 19, 2015

Asda sales fall worst in more than five years

LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) – Asda, the British division of
U.S. retailer Wal-Mart, reported its worst quarterly
sales fall in more than five years on Tuesday and warned of more
pain ahead thanks to a price war and record food deflation.

Asda, ranked second by annual revenue behind Tesco,
said sales at stores open more than a year, not counting fuel,
fell 3.9 percent from a year ago in the 15 weeks to April 19,
the British supermarket’s fiscal first quarter.

May 15, 2015

Morrisons’ new boss turns to son of founder to aid recovery

LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) – David Potts, the new chief
executive of Morrisons, has sought the counsel of the
British supermarket’s octogenarian former boss Ken Morrison as
he seeks a formula to turn around the business.

Ken Morrison, 83, the son of the grocer’s founder, ran
Bradford, northern England-based Morrisons for half a century
before stepping down in 2008 with the title of honorary
president. His wider family own about 10 percent of Morrisons’
equity.

May 14, 2015

M&S to reward investors with first annual profit rise in four years

LONDON (Reuters) – British clothing and food retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L: Quote, Profile, Research) is expected to report its first rise in annual profit in four years next week, fuelling hopes that it has finally rediscovered a successful formula.

Shares in M&S, one of Britain’s best known high street shopping chains, have risen by a third over the last nine months, hitting a seven-year high last month ahead of the earnings on May 20.

May 7, 2015

UK grocer Morrisons’ sales fall worsens

LONDON, May 7 (Reuters) – Morrisons, Britain’s
fourth biggest grocer, on Thursday revealed a further
deterioration in its sales performance, highlighting the tough
turnaround job facing new boss David Potts.

Shares in the Bradford, northern England, based group which
trails market leader Tesco, Wal-Mart’s Asda and
Sainsbury’s in annual sales, fell 6.7 percent. This
followed the company’s update which said sales at stores open
over a year, excluding fuel, fell 2.9 percent in the 13 weeks to
May 3, the firm’s fiscal first quarter.

May 6, 2015

Sainsbury’s posts first loss in a decade

LONDON, May 6 (Reuters) – British supermarket Sainsbury’s
posted its first annual loss in a decade, hurt by
property writedowns, deflation and an industry price war, and
warned investors not to expect trading conditions to improve any
time soon.

Chief Executive Mike Coupe said on Wednesday he expected
deflation to persist in the grocery market for the rest of 2015
and possibly into 2016, and did not rule out further investment
in price cuts beyond the 150 million pounds ($227 million)
already committed to.

May 1, 2015

Sainsbury’s to post first annual profit fall in a decade

LONDON (Reuters) – British supermarket Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L: Quote, Profile, Research) is expected to post on Wednesday its first annual profit fall since 2005, hurt by an industry price war that shows no sign of abating.

Sainsbury’s, along with rivals Tesco (TSCO.L: Quote, Profile, Research), Asda (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Morrisons (MRW.L: Quote, Profile, Research), is grappling with food price deflation and an intensifying price war launched to stem the flow of shoppers to discounters Aldi [ALDIEI.UL] and Lidl [LIDUK.UL].

Apr 23, 2015

Tesco counts cost of decline with record 6.4 billion pound loss

LONDON (Reuters) – Tesco (TSCO.L: Quote, Profile, Research) revealed the cost of its spectacular decline on Wednesday with an annual loss of 6.4 billion pounds ($9.5 billion), one of the biggest in British corporate history, and warned investors there could be more pain to come.

The 96-year-old group, which dominated the British retail landscape for decades, wrote down the value of its business by 7 billion pounds, suffering in an industry price war sparked by the challenge from German discount chains Aldi [ALDIEI.UL] and Lidl [LIDUK.UL].

    • 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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