UK retail correspondent
James's Feed
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New boss says “outdated” Mothercare needs investment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said the company operates in an outdated way in its key home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

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.

Jul 16, 2014

Primark: Next stop USA

LONDON/MADRID (Reuters) – Discount fashion chain Primark has made its mark in Europe by offering fast-changing fashion at rock-bottom prices. The secret of its success: placing huge orders for top-selling items like socks, tops and jeans and passing on the savings to shoppers.

That is the formula it hopes will help it crack the $200 billion U.S. market next year. With an initial capital investment of under 200 million pounds ($340 million) Primark plans to open a store in downtown Boston toward the end of 2015, have 10 stores in the north east of the country by Easter 2016 and build out from there.

Jul 8, 2014

M&S hails womenswear progress as new website holds back sales

LONDON (Reuters) – British retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported a small rise in sales of its flagship womenswear on Tuesday, saying it was a sign years of investment were starting to pay off despite a 12th consecutive quarterly drop in overall general merchandise sales.

The country’s biggest clothing retailer, which also sells upmarket food, said first-quarter sales were held back by its transition to a new website, as previously flagged, and kept its full-year profit guidance.

Jul 7, 2014

SABMiller selling stake in South Africa’s Tsogo Sun to free cash for beer business

LONDON/JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – SABMiller (SAB.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) (SABJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will sell its $1 billion stake in South Africa’s top gaming and hotel group Tsogo Sun (TSHJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the brewer said on Monday, giving it cash to beef up its African beer business.

The maker of Peroni and Miller Lite beers has been reviewing its 39.6 percent stake in Tsogo Sun as it concentrates on building its beer business in emerging markets, such as Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Jul 4, 2014

M&S to blame bedding in of new website for latest sales fall

LONDON (Reuters) – British retailer Marks & Spencer is expected to blame its transition to a new web platform for a 12th straight quarterly fall in underlying general merchandise sales when it gives a trading update on Tuesday.

Britain’s biggest clothing retailer, which also sells homewares and upmarket foods, will publish its first-quarter sales figures ahead of its annual shareholders’ meeting on the same day.

    • 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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