Company News Reporter, London
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Apr 17, 2015

Poundland may scrap 99p Stores acquisition after competition questions

LONDON, April 17 (Reuters) – British discount retailer
Poundland warned on Friday it may walk away from its
planned 55 million pounds ($82 million) acquisition of rival 99p
Stores rather than be subject to a lengthy probe by the UK
competition watchdog.

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said last
week the agreed deal could result in a substantial lessening of
competition and would be subject to a further investigation in
the absense of undertakings, such as selling some stores.

Apr 17, 2015

Property writedown to add to Tesco’s turnaround challenge

LONDON (Reuters) – Tesco (TSCO.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will point to recent signs of recovery when Britain’s biggest retailer reports annual results on Wednesday, though an expected big writedown on the value of its stores could highlight the work still needed to mend its finances.

Analysts think asset sales, including perhaps parts of its Asian and mainland European businesses, could be on the cards, and that Tesco may also ask shareholders for cash to help reduce about 7.5 billion pounds ($11 billion) in net debt and a pension deficit that may have ballooned to more than 5 billion pounds.

Apr 16, 2015

Debenhams posts first-half profit surprise rise

LONDON (Reuters) – Debenhams (DEB.L: Quote, Profile, Research), Britain’s No.2 department stores chain, posted a better-than-expected rise in first-half profit as fewer promotions boosted full-price sales, and an improved online offering helped increase demand.

Pretax profit of 88.9 million pounds ($132 million) for the 26 weeks to Feb. 28 was up 4.3 percent on a year earlier. It was also above a company-compiled forecast of 84.5 million pounds

Apr 16, 2015

Debenhams posts H1 profit surprise rise

LONDON, April 16 (Reuters) – Debenhams, Britain’s
No.2 department stores chain, posted a better-than-expected rise
in first-half profit as fewer promotions boosted full-price
sales, and an improved online offering helped increase demand.

Pretax profit of 88.9 million pounds ($132 million) for the
26 weeks to Feb. 28 was up 4.3 percent on a year earlier. It was
also above a company-compiled forecast of 84.5 million pounds

Apr 8, 2015

In British vote too tight to call, gamblers seek the $150 million answer

LONDON, April 8 (Reuters) – If Prime Minister David Cameron
forms Britain’s next government after the tightest election in a
generation, it will not just be the Conservative Party leader
who will be smiling. Scott Moorhead will be laughing all the way
to the bank.

As part of a record 100 million pounds ($148 million)
expected to be gambled on the British election, Moorhead stands
to win 250 pounds on a 500 pound bet that the Conservatives will
win most parliamentary seats in the May 7 election.

Mar 31, 2015

Thomas Cook on track as Europe shows signs of improvement

LONDON, March 31 (Reuters) – British holiday company Thomas
Cook is confident of meeting its full-year expectations,
buoyed by higher winter bookings and improved trading across
Europe ahead of its key summer season, it said on Tuesday.

For the summer, when holiday companies make the bulk of
their profits, Thomas Cook said it had sold 54 percent of its
holidays, 2 percent higher than this time a year ago, with tour
operator bookings and average prices down 1 percent.

Mar 25, 2015

Sports Direct admits some 15,000 employed on zero hour contracts

LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest sporting
goods retailer Sports Direct employs around 75 percent
of its 19,000 UK workers on much criticised zero-hour contracts,
its chairman said on Wednesday.

Answering questions from a British parliamentary committee
over its employment practices and the administration of part of
one of its fashion businesses, Sports Direct Chairman Keith
Hellawell admitted some 15,000 UK staff were on zero hour deals,
which do not specify set working hours or guaranteed income.

Mar 24, 2015

888 hands out special dividend, eyes acquisitions

LONDON (Reuters) – Online gambling firm 888 Holdings (888.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which ended talks on a takeover by larger rival William Hill (WMH.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) last month, said it was looking at acquisitions of its own to bolster growth.

888, which offers casino, poker and bingo games and is expanding its sports betting business, has enjoyed strong growth as gamblers increasingly move online. However, it and rivals expects to see profits clipped by higher taxes in some markets.

Mar 22, 2015

Big hotel chains aim small in Europe to net millennial generation

BERLIN/LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) – Driven by the demands of
a new plugged-in generation seeking “authentic” travel
experiences with a local feel, the world’s biggest hoteliers are
moving into a new sector in Europe – the “lifestyle” boutique
hotel.

After many years focused on baby boomers and business
travellers, brands such as Marriott, Hilton,
Starwood and InterContinental Hotels Group are
paying more attention to the so-called millennials, expected to
be the biggest group of hotel customers by 2020 according to
industry executives.

Mar 20, 2015

Bookmaker Ladbrokes names digital boss Mullen as new CEO

LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) – British bookmaker Ladbrokes
promoted the head of its digital business Jim Mullen to
the chief executive’s job on Friday, reflecting the need to
compete harder in the growing online market.

The firm, Britain’s second-biggest bookmaker, has struggled
to keep pace with market leader William Hill and take
advantage of an increasingly popular online betting sector, with
investment in marketing and products lagging others.

    • About Neil

      "I'm a company news reporter covering the retail and leisure sectors. Based in London I write on everything from the big retailers to fashion chains, hotels, drinks firms, pubs and coffee shops. I've previously covered the outsourcing sector and before that worked on Reuters sport for three years. You can follow me on Twitter @ReutersMaidment"
      Joined Reuters:
      2008
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