UK retail correspondent
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Apr 23, 2014

Primark targets U.S. with first store openings

LONDON (Reuters) – Primark, the fast-growing clothing chain owned by Associated British Foods (ABF.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), is to enter the United States, it said on Wednesday, becoming the latest British retailer to attempt to crack the American market after success in Europe.

Shares in AB Foods rose 9.1 percent on the back of the U.S. initiative, a small rise in first half profit and reiteration of full-year guidance. The stock was the biggest gainer in the blue-chip FTSE index and notched up its largest one-day gain in 14 years.

Apr 22, 2014

UK’s Card Factory plans estimated 1 billion pounds London listing

LONDON, April 22 (Reuters) – British greeting cards retailer
Card Factory plans a stock market flotation that could value it
at 1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion), joining a spate of store
chains seeking public listings as the outlook for consumer
spending brightens.

UK retailers including discount chain Poundland,
newsagent McColl’s, Pets at Home and online
fashion outlet Boohoo.com have already listed this year
on the back of improving consumer sentiment.

Apr 11, 2014

Tesco’s problems mount as profit set to fall again

LONDON (Reuters) – Tesco (TSCO.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is expected to report a 6 percent fall in annual profit next week, a second straight decline which would pile the pressure on boss Phil Clarke who is struggling to turn around Britain’s biggest retailer.

Having dominated the high street for years, the 95-year-old Tesco stunned the industry in 2012 when it issued its first profit warning in two decades. Despite billions of pounds of investment, it has struggled since then and two months ago Clarke abandoned an industry-leading target for operating margin in the UK.

Apr 10, 2014

Britain’s Marks & Spencer shows signs of improvement as clothing sales rise

LONDON (Reuters) – British retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) posted its best quarterly performance in clothing for three years, indicating its turnaround plan may finally be gaining traction after billions of pounds of investment and several false dawns.

Shares in Britain’s biggest clothing retailer, which also sells homeware and upmarket food, rose up to 3.3 percent in early trading on Thursday after it said clothing sales at stores open over a year increased 0.6 percent in the 13 weeks to March 29.

Apr 10, 2014

M&S shows signs of improvement as clothing sales rise

LONDON (Reuters) – Retailer Marks & Spencer posted its best quarterly performance in clothing for three years, indicating its turnaround plan may finally be gaining traction after billions of pounds of investment and several false dawns.

Shares in Britain’s biggest clothing retailer, which also sells homeware and upmarket food, rose up to 3.3 percent in early trading on Thursday after it said clothing sales at stores open over a year increased 0.6 percent in the 13 weeks to March 29.

Apr 10, 2014

Britain’s M&S shows signs of improvement as clothing sales rise

LONDON, April 10 (Reuters) – British retailer Marks &
Spencer posted its best quarterly performance in
clothing for three years, indicating its turnaround plan may
finally be gaining traction after billions of pounds of
investment and several false dawns.

Shares in Britain’s biggest clothing retailer, which also
sells homeware and upmarket food, rose up to 3.3 percent in
early trading on Thursday after it said clothing sales at stores
open over a year increased 0.6 percent in the 13 weeks to March
29.

Apr 8, 2014

British grocers struggle as German discounters expand

LONDON, April 8 (Reuters) – Britain’s major supermarkets are
cutting prices but will struggle to stop Aldi and Lidl eating
their profits as the German discounters look to double their
share of the 170-billion pound ($282 billion) grocery market in
the next three years.

Market leader Tesco, Wal-Mart owned Asda
and Morrisons have together pledged to make price cuts
worth 2.4 billion pounds though analysts question whether they
can compete on those terms with the discounters, whose no-frills
focus on value won affluent new shoppers in the recession and
look set to win more in the fragile recovery.

Apr 4, 2014

Under-fire McIlwee quits as Tesco finance boss

LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) – Tesco’s finance chief
Laurie McIlwee quit on Friday, delivering a fresh blow to CEO
Philip Clarke who is struggling to turn around the British-based
supermarket operator.

Announcing his decision just days before results that are
expected to show another decline in profits, McIlwee said he
would quit the board and resign after five years as CFO but stay
on long enough to hand over to a successor.

Apr 4, 2014

Another fall in clothing sales to pile pressure on M&S

LONDON (Reuters) – British retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is set to report an eleventh straight quarterly fall in clothing sales, increasing the pressure on its chief executive to explain why heavy investment has not yet delivered an anticipated turnaround.

Britain’s biggest clothing retailer, which also sells homewares and upmarket foods, will publish fourth-quarter sales on Thursday, ahead of results for 2013-14 on May 20 when it is expected to deliver a third straight year of falling profit.

Apr 3, 2014

Kingfisher bids for Mr Bricolage to bolster French presence

LONDON (Reuters) – Kingfisher (KGF.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Europe’s No. 1 home improvement retailer, moved to strengthen its position in France, its most profitable market, with a 275 million euros ($379 million) takeover bid for smaller rival Mr Bricolage (MBRI.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

The owner of B&Q, the market leader in Britain, already trades as Castorama and Brico Depot in France where it is jostling for the top spot with Group Adeo, which owns the Leroy Merlin chain.

    • 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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