Company News Reporter, London
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Feb 28, 2014

Scandal-hit Serco names Rupert Soames as CEO

LONDON (Reuters) – British outsourcer Serco named Rupert Soames, a grandson of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, as chief executive on Friday to restore profits and its reputation following high-profile government contract failures.

Serco shares have lost 40 percent since July when it, along with G4S, was shown to have charged for tagging criminals who were not being monitored, in prison or dead. The government imposed a ban on new work the same month.

Feb 28, 2014

UK outsourcer Serco appoints Rupert Soames as chief executive

LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Embattled British outsourcer
Serco named Rupert Soames as its new group chief
executive on Friday as it focuses on rebuilding a business
rocked by high-profile government contract failures and profit
warnings.

Soames, the grandson of former British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill, is joining Serco from British temporary power
provider Aggreko where he served as CEO for 11 years.

Feb 27, 2014

Madame Tussauds heads to Beijing as Merlin expands

LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Madame Tussauds waxworks is
coming to Beijing while Dubai will get a Legoland theme park
under an international expansion drive by Britain’s Merlin
Entertainments, which announced its maiden results as a
listed company on Thursday.

Merlin, the world’s second-biggest operator of visitor
attractions behind Walt Disney, currently makes over 60
percent of its revenue in Britain and continental Europe.

Feb 27, 2014

UK’s Domino’s has strong start to 2014, Germany troubles persist

LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Domino’s Pizza said a
spike in orders from customers staying in to escape Britain’s
wet weather was behind a 14.6 percent jump in sales in 2014,
although the strong start was tempered by setbacks to its
expansion into Germany.

Domino’s, the UK’s biggest pizza delivery firm with nearly
800 stores, has grown rapidly via promotions and online sales
and has expanded into Ireland, Switzerland and Germany. But in
Germany, where it has 23 stores, roll-out plans have been hit by
weak trading and higher-than-expected labour costs.

Feb 25, 2014

Tesco pins UK turnaround on price cuts and store revamps

LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Britain’s Tesco, the
world’s third-largest retailer, is to focus on cheaper pricing
as it relaxes its view on operating margins and steps up its
store revamp programme and investment in online and convenience
channels.

Outlining his plans at an investor and analyst seminar on
Tuesday, Chief Executive Philip Clarke said the measures
accelerate a turnaround plan aimed at countering increased
competition in the British retail market, but which has so far
failed to boost its languishing sales.

Feb 12, 2014

Manchester United prepare for signing spree

LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) – English soccer champions
Manchester United will ramp up spending on new players
to improve their ailing squad and boost the team’s chances of
winning the trophies that have been key to their financial
success.

United, slumped in 7th place in the Premier League in a
tough debut campaign for new manager David Moyes, on Wednesday
posted an 11.6 percent rise in second-quarter revenue showing
their on-pitch difficulties had not yet effected business.

Jan 30, 2014

Embattled UK outsourcer Serco warns on profits again

LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Britain’s Serco said 2014
profit could be as much as 20 percent below forecasts, a sign
that the cost of rebuilding the outsourcing group from
high-profile government contract failures is continuing to take
its toll.

The warning came minutes after Serco’s biggest client, the
British government, said it had decided to allow the firm to
once again win new work, ending a six-month hiatus after Serco,
along with rival G4S, charged for tagging criminals who
were not being monitored, in prison or dead.

Jan 29, 2014

Mulberry shares plunge as UK discounts hit profits

LONDON (Reuters) – Shares in Mulberry (MUL.L: Quote, Profile, Research) plunged by over a quarter on Wednesday as the British luxury fashion company warned annual profit would be well below forecasts due to heavy Christmas discounting in the UK and weak demand in South Korea.

The warning is a blow to Mulberry boss Bruno Guillon, who has hiked prices to take its brand more upmarket from a traditional position of “affordable luxury”, and embarked on a drive to increase the company’s profile overseas, targeting affluent Asian shoppers with new stores in key tourist spots.

Jan 29, 2014

Mulberry shares plunge on major profit warning

LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) – British luxury fashion group
Mulberry warned its annual profit would be substantially
below forecasts due to heavy Christmas discounting in Britain
and weak demand in South Korea, wiping more than a quarter off
its shares.

The Bayswater and Alexa handbags maker said on Wednesday
total retail sales for the 17 weeks to Jan. 25 were down 3
percent on a year ago, which included a 7 percent decline for
the crucial 8 weeks to Jan. 25 Christmas period.

Jan 28, 2014

Carpetright warns on profit again as Netherlands woes deepen

LONDON, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest floor coverings
retailer Carpetright Plc has warned on its yearly
profit for the second time in almost four months, as
deteriorating trade in the Netherlands offset an improving
performance in the UK.

The company, whose boss Darren Shapland quit after October’s
profit warning, said on Tuesday an expected loss at its Dutch
business meant it now anticipated full-year underlying pretax
profit to be between 7 million pounds ($11.6 million) and 8
million.

    • 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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