UK retail correspondent
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Mar 27, 2015

Marks & Spencer expected to show improving trend for non-food sales

LONDON (Reuters) – British retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is expected to report an improving trend for its non-food business as it starts to put its online distribution problems behind it, despite a drop in sales for the 15th quarter in a row.

Marc Bolland, CEO since 2010, has spent billions of pounds addressing decades of under-investment at M&S, overseeing the redesign of products, stores, logistics and its website. But a new clothing team he set up in 2012 has so far failed to deliver a sustained increase in sales.

Mar 24, 2015

U.S. law firm rallies Tesco investors to join lawsuit

LONDON (Reuters) – A U.S. law firm is asking Tesco
shareholders to join a group that wants to bring a lawsuit and
seek billions of pounds in compensation for losses relating to
the British retailer’s overstatement of profit last year.

Tesco said on Sept. 22 it had overstated first-half profit
by 250 million pounds ($374 million). It raised that figure to
263 million pounds when it published first-half results on Oct.
23.

Mar 19, 2015

Next flags weaker collections in cautious outlook

LONDON (Reuters) – British clothing retailer Next (NXT.L: Quote, Profile, Research) cut its sales guidance for 2015-16, highlighting weaker collections after reporting a 12.5 percent rise in annual profit and a dividend increase.

Next, which trades from over 500 stores in Britain and Ireland and almost 200 stores overseas as well as the Directory catalogue and internet business, on Thursday forecast sales growth of 1.5-5.5 percent in the year to end Jan. 2016 compared to previous guidance of 2.5-7.5 percent.

Mar 19, 2015

Britain’s Next flags weaker collections in cautious outlook

LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) – British clothing retailer Next
cut its sales guidance for 2015-16, highlighting weaker
collections after reporting a 12.5 percent rise in annual profit
and a dividend increase.

Next, which trades from over 500 stores in Britain and
Ireland and almost 200 stores overseas as well as the Directory
catalogue and internet business, on Thursday forecast sales
growth of 1.5-5.5 percent in the year to end Jan. 2016 compared
to previous guidance of 2.5-7.5 percent.

Mar 18, 2015

New Morrisons boss tells shoppers “I’m listening”

LONDON, March 18 (Reuters) – David Potts, new boss of
Britain’s fourth-largest supermarket chain Morrisons,
has appealed to customers to tell him what they want as he takes
on the challenge of turning around the struggling firm.

Potts started as chief executive of the Bradford, northern
England-based grocer on Monday and in a video posted on its
Facebook page said he would spend his early weeks in the job
listening to as many customers and staff as possible.

Mar 17, 2015

UK Sainsbury’s says to outperform rivals in tough market

LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) – Britain’s Sainsbury’s
expressed confidence in outperforming its supermarket peers and
played down the threat posed by recovering rival Tesco on
Tuesday, although it said no quick improvement in tough trading
conditions was expected.

Sainsbury’s in common with rivals Tesco, Asda
and Morrisons, is grappling with food price
deflation and an intensifying price war launched to counter
discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Mar 12, 2015

Morrisons signals lower dividend after profit slumps

LONDON (Reuters) – Morrisons (MRW.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported its lowest annual profit in eight years on Thursday, Britain’s fourth biggest supermarket hurt by a fierce industry price war and warning investors it would cut its dividend.

The profit slump, a third straight decline, reflects Morrisons’ decision last year to spend 1 billion pounds ($1.50 billion) on price cuts over three years to stem the loss of shoppers to discounters Aldi [ALDIEI.UL] and Lidl [LIDUK.UL].

Mar 10, 2015

Ocado expects Morrisons to stick with online contract

LONDON, March 10 (Reuters) – British online grocer Ocado
said it believed Morrisons was “pretty happy”
with its 25-year contract to operate the supermarket’s online
delivery service and did not expect its new boss to seek a
re-negotiation.

Former Tesco executive David Potts will start as
Morrisons CEO on March 16 and there has been analyst speculation
he may not see the over 200 million pounds ($301 million)
contract with Ocado as the way forward.

Mar 6, 2015

Morrisons to bear scars of UK’s supermarket price war

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s fourth biggest supermarket Morrisons is expected to report its lowest annual profit in eight years on Thursday, hurt by a fierce industry price war, and is likely to signal lower dividend payouts going forward.

Last week Morrisons, which trails market leader Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s, named former Tesco executive David Potts as its new CEO, succeeding Dalton Philips, who was ousted in January after failing to revive the grocer over his five year watch.

Mar 4, 2015

Insight – M&S breaks with tradition to get more agile on style

LONDON (Reuters) – Shoppers usually blame dowdy clothes and tired stores for the painful decline of Britain’s former retail powerhouse Marks & Spencer (MKS.L: Quote, Profile, Research). But the parts of the business that customers never see could hold the key to its revival.

After hiring new designers, overhauling its online offering and giving a facelift to stores, M&S still needs to push home its most ambitious project: overturning more than a century of retail history by taking full control of its supply 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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