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Jan 27, 2015

Rocker PJ Harvey hopes glass room will reflect history

LONDON (Reuters) – Art rocker PJ Harvey hopes that recording inside a glassed room at Somerset House in central London will help draw on the likes of Elizabeth I, who lived on its grounds before she was queen, and Oliver Cromwell, who lay in state there.

    A select group of visitors lucky enough to get tickets will watch Harvey, one of England’s most original pop artists, chipping away at the coal face of music creation.

Jan 26, 2015

Big brands face struggle to contain own label advance in Europe

BERLIN/LONDON, Jan 26 (Reuters) – An expensive fightback by
top consumer goods brands is likely to provide only temporary
relief as retailers improve the quality of their own products to
attract thrifty European shoppers.

Sales from supermarkets’ own label ranges have surged in
recent years. Cash-strapped shoppers seeking cheaper
alternatives to branded favourites have also flocked to discount
chains that keep prices low by stocking few top names.

Jan 25, 2015

Imperial Tobacco launches caffeinated mouth strips

LONDON (Reuters) – Imperial Tobacco Group, the world’s third largest cigarette maker, is moving into caffeine as more people kick the deadly smoking habit, launching a melt-in-your-mouth strip designed to give an energy boost in seconds.

The product, called Reon, comes in flavors such as “grapefruit & zing” and “black currant & fresh”. For now it is only sold in the English city of Manchester and online.

Jan 21, 2015

Funds line up $1.7 bln bids for drinks bottler Refresco Gerber – sources

LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Dutch soft drinks bottler
Refresco Gerber has attracted bids from three private
equity funds valuing the business at around 1.5 billion euros
($1.74 billion), sources familiar with the process said.

PAI Partners, Pamplona Capital Management and Platinum
Equity have emerged as the only bidders left in the second round
of an auction, with a late February deadline, the sources said.

Jan 20, 2015

Unilever sees no improvement after weak 2014

LONDON, Jan 20 (Reuters) – Consumer goods group Unilever
expects another sluggish year, after a
slowdown in emerging markets and flagging developed economies
curbed demand for everything from soup to soap in 2014.

The maker of Dove soap and Lipton tea posted
lower-than-expected growth in underlying sales for the final
quarter of 2014, the industry’s weakest year in recent memory.
Its Chinese business was particularly hard hit, with quarterly
sales down 20 percent as retailers cut inventories there.

Jan 8, 2015

Tesco banks on simpler prices to woo shoppers and suppliers

LONDON (Reuters) – Tesco (TSCO.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is betting that a more consistent approach to pricing on hundreds of branded products will enable it to compete better with discount supermarkets, improve relationships with suppliers and direct more shoppers to higher-margin items.

As Britain’s No. 1 grocer fights to overcome the biggest crisis in its 95-year-history, it is testing a strategy closer to the everyday low prices offered by discounters such as Aldi who are stealing shoppers from the “big four” supermarket chains.

Dec 5, 2014

Amazon own label underscores strength of online grocery shopping

LONDON (Reuters) –’s launch of its own private label brand of consumer goods, starting with diapers and baby wipes, underscores the website’s maturity as a grocery retailer and the migration of grocery shopping online.

And if successful, the line’s sharp prices could pressure profit margins for other makers of consumer goods, such as Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark.

Dec 4, 2014

Unilever says to form standalone spreads business unit

LONDON (Reuters) – Unilever (ULVR.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) (UNc.AS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) plans to form a standalone business unit for its North American and European spreads as it struggles to turn around a business hit by a fall in bread and margarine consumption, its chief financial officer said on Thursday.

The unit will be called Unilever Baking, Cooking and Spreading and will give the business more focus and more freedom to take necessary decisions, CFO Jean-Marc Huet said during an investor seminar that was simultaneously webcast.

Dec 2, 2014

Europe wins in China baby formula battle after NZ safety scare

SHANGHAI/LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) – Chinese infant formula
giant Beingmate prints Irish clovers on its flagship
product as it seeks to assure Chinese parents of its European
sourcing after a safety scare involving the world’s biggest milk
powder exporter New Zealand.

Until last year, formula sourced from New Zealand was seen
as the gold standard for quality in a country where food
scandals are common and the death of at least six babies from
locally made milk powder in 2008 preys on parents’ minds.

Nov 26, 2014

Price wars make drinks maker Britvic wary on 2015

LONDON, Nov 26 (Reuters) – British soft drinks firm Britvic
said on Wednesday that fierce competition between
retailers at home in the coming year would likely put pressure
on prices and weigh on sales growth.

The Robinsons squash maker, whose main markets are Britain,
Ireland and France, said operating profit should rise next year
from the 158.1 million pounds ($248.4 million) earned in the 12
months to Sept. 28, but cost savings would be the main driver.