UK retail correspondent
James's Feed
Aug 14, 2014

Britain’s Asda says sales growth shows price cuts are working

LONDON (Reuters) – Asda, the British arm of the world’s biggest retailer Wal-Mart, reported an acceleration in quarterly sales growth and hailed the improvement as proof that its price-cutting strategy is working.

Asda was the first of Britain’s so called big four grocers, which also include market leader Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, to counter the threat posed by discounters Aldi [ALDIEI.UL] and Lidl [LIDUK.UL] by cutting its own prices.

Aug 14, 2014

M&S patches up ‘consumer love affair’ for merrier Christmas

LONDON (Reuters) – British retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is close to having both its food and general merchandise divisions “firing on all cylinders” and expects a better Christmas after poor clothing sales hit last holiday season, according to its food business head.

While the 130-year-old firm’s general merchandise (GM) division – clothing, footwear and homewares – has posted 12 consecutive quarters of declining sales at stores open over a year, its food business has delivered 19 straight quarters of like-for-like sales growth.

Aug 1, 2014

Insight: Tesco’s new boss – the outsider on the inside track

LONDON (Reuters) – When Tesco needed a new chief executive to rebuild the world’s third-biggest retailer it turned to “Drastic Dave” Lewis, a turnaround specialist who is probably as close to being an insider as an outsider can be.

The 49-year-old earned the nickname during his 27 years at Unilever, where he turned around a string of operations including the consumer giant’s British business, cutting costs and energising staff with innovative marketing campaigns.

Aug 1, 2014

Tesco’s new boss – the outsider on the inside track

LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) – When Tesco needed a new
chief executive to rebuild the world’s third-biggest retailer it
turned to “Drastic Dave” Lewis, a turnaround specialist who is
probably as close to being an insider as an outsider can be.

The 49-year-old earned the nickname during his 27 years at
Unilever, where he turned around a string of operations
including the consumer giant’s British business, cutting costs
and energising staff with innovative marketing campaigns.

Jul 29, 2014

Heat on Morrisons CEO as ex-Tesco man named next chairman

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) – Morrisons named Tesco
veteran Andrew Higginson as its next chairman on
Tuesday, turning up the heat on Chief Executive Dalton Philips
as he tries to combat the supermarket’s loss of market share.

Higginson, who spent 15 years as an executive director at
rival Tesco, will replace Morrisons Chairman Ian Gibson when he
retires in 2015. Higginson will join the Morrisons board on Oct.
1 as non-executive deputy chairman and chairman elect.

Jul 29, 2014

Next raises profit forecast and shows up M&S

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) – British clothing retailer Next
on Tuesday raised its guidance for annual sales and
profit for the second time in three months after another strong
quarter in stark contrast to
rival Marks & Spencer’s recent performance.

Marks & Spencer remains Britain’s biggest clothing retailer
by total sales but has reported 12 consecutive quarters of
underlying sales decline in its general merchandise division.

Jul 24, 2014

Retailer Kingfisher perplexed by poor June trading

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) – Kingfisher, Europe’s
largest home improvements retailer, suffered a sharp slowdown in
trading in June, particularly in France and Poland, and said on
Thursday it did not know why.

The firm, which runs the B&Q and Screwfix chains in Britain
and Castorama and Brico Depot in France and other markets, had
forecast a slowdown in its second quarter from the first, which
was boosted by warm weather, and a strong year-ago period.

Jul 21, 2014

Tesco CEO Clarke to leave after profit warning

LONDON (Reuters) – Tesco said Chief Executive Philip Clarke would step down after Britain’s biggest retailer warned it would miss first-half profit forecasts, bringing an end to a disastrous three years in charge.

Clarke, a 40-year Tesco veteran, will be replaced on Oct. 1 by Unilever executive Dave Lewis, whom the firm described as a turnaround specialist.

Jul 17, 2014

New boss says “outdated” Mothercare needs investment

LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) – The new boss of British mother
and baby products retailer Mothercare, the subject of
bid interest from U.S. group Destination Maternity,
said the company operates in an outdated way in its key home
market and requires investment.

Mothercare operates in 60 countries but has been hit hard by
cut-price competition from supermarket groups and online
retailers in its domestic market, where it does not expect to
make a profit until 2016 or 2017.

Jul 16, 2014

Sports Direct’s Ashley quits new bonus scheme after two weeks

LONDON, July 16 (Reuters) – Sports Direct’s founder
Mike Ashley has quit the sportswear retailer’s controversial new
200 million pounds ($343 million) bonus share scheme just two
weeks after it unexpectedly drew the backing of independent
shareholders.

The British company said on Wednesday that after talks with
the board’s remuneration committee, executive deputy chairman
Ashley had informed the board he did not wish to be awarded any
shares under the 2015 scheme.

    • 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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