UK retail correspondent
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Nov 28, 2014

Bargains and brawls: ‘Black Friday’ comes to Britain

LONDON (Reuters) – British police officers were called to stores across the country on Friday as the “Black Friday” shopping frenzy imported from the United States brought surging crowds and fights over sharply discounted goods.

For the first time, most British retailers have fully embraced “Black Friday” promotions this year, both in store and online, seeking to follow their cousins across the Atlantic and kickstart trading early in the key Christmas period.

Nov 27, 2014

Analysis: Low food inflation tightens squeeze on Europe’s grocers

BERLIN/LONDON (Reuters) – Subdued food price inflation in Europe is unlikely to pick up any time soon, adding to the pressure on mainstream grocers as they struggle with changing shopping habits and competition from discounters.

Prices paid in Europe for fast-moving consumer goods rose at their slowest pace since 2010 in the third quarter, and fell in Spain, France and Italy, according to consumer data firm Nielsen, weighing on retailers’ revenues and share prices.

Nov 27, 2014

UK’s Poundland strides ahead while bigger rivals flounder

LONDON, Nov 27 (Reuters) – British discount retailer
Poundland posted a jump in profits, paid a maiden
dividend and is expanding aggressively, illustrating the
changing face of a sector that has seen giants Tesco
and Sainsbury’s cut payouts and store plans.

Discounters are growing in popularity in Britain even though
the economy has improved, as habits formed in the downturn
stick. Discount grocers Aldi and Lidl
grew sales by 26 percent and 17 percent over the last three
months, according to data published last week.

Nov 25, 2014

Philip Green says cash gives Arcadia scope for deals

LONDON, Nov 25 (Reuters) – Retail tycoon Philip Green has
the firepower for potential acquisitions as his Arcadia group,
which owns Topshop, has ended its current financial year with
more than 200 million pounds ($314 million) in cash.

Arcadia, which also has BHS department stores and Burton and
Miss Selfridge chains, reported a 3 percent fall in profit for
the year to Aug. 30, partly the result of bigger BHS losses.

Nov 25, 2014

Kingfisher says don’t expect quick French recovery

LONDON, Nov 25 (Reuters) – Kingfisher, Europe’s
biggest home improvement retailer, cautioned investors on
Tuesday against expecting a quick recovery in France, the market
that contributes more than half its profits.

Kingfisher posted an 11.8 percent drop in third-quarter
earnings, saying the weak French market, where the firm trades
as Castorama and Brico Depot, was more than offsetting a
stronger performance at its B&Q and Screwfix chains in Britain.

Nov 21, 2014

UK retailers look to U.S. Black Friday for Christmas lift-off

LONDON, Nov 21 (Reuters) – Next week’s “Black Friday”, a
traditional discount day for U.S. retailers, looks set to be the
biggest ever for British shops as more join in the promotional
event to kickstart Christmas sales.

The Friday following the Thanksgiving Day holiday was named
Black Friday because spending would surge and it would indicate
the point at which American retailers began to turn a profit for
the year, or go “into the black”.

Nov 18, 2014

Grocery market contracts for first time in 20 years – Kantar

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s grocery market has suffered its first three-monthly sales decline in at least 20 years, industry data showed on Tuesday, adding to the pressure on the traditional “big four” players as they gear up for the key Christmas trading season.

The data from market researcher Kantar Worldpanel showed UK grocery sales fell 0.2 percent year-on-year to 24.88 billion pounds in the 12 weeks to Nov. 9, the first decline since Kantar’s records began in 1994.

Nov 18, 2014

B&M in talks with 6 UK retailers to buy stores

(Recasts, adds detail, CEO comments, shares)

By James Davey

LONDON, Nov 18(Reuters) – B&M European Value Retail
, the fast growing British discount store chain that
listed in June, is in talks with at least six major UK retailers
to purchase stores from them, it said on Tuesday.

The firm, chaired by former Tesco boss Terry Leahy,
also posted a 34 percent rise in first-half earnings and said it
was on track to open at least a net 50 stores in its 2014-15
financial year.

Nov 13, 2014

UK’s Asda suffers sales decline in latest supermarket setback

LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Asda, the British arm of U.S.
supermarket group Wal-Mart, said it would not be
distracted by “gimmicks” and “panic tactics” after voucher
offers from rivals contributed to a fall in its quarterly sales.

Britain’s big four grocers have lost customers to German
discounters Aldi and Lidl and are locked
in a bitter battle for market share.

Nov 12, 2014

Sainsbury’s cuts back spending to fund lower prices

LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Sainsbury’s threw down
the gauntlet to larger rival Tesco on Wednesday, taking
a hit on profits and the dividend to fund lower prices for
customers in the latest escalation of the British supermarket
battle.

Sainsbury’s, which had outperformed the sector for years
until a recent slowdown, plans to cut spending hard, rein in its
property expansion and find more efficiencies in the business to
pay for lower prices.

    • 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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