Company News Reporter, London
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Oct 14, 2014

Mulberry hit by drop in tourists, strategy shift

LONDON, Oct 14 (Reuters) – British luxury handbag maker
Mulberry cut its profit forecast for the third time this
year, saying a drop in tourist shoppers had compounded the
disruption to its business from a shift back to selling
lower-priced bags.

Mulberry shares dropped as much as 25 percent to a four-year
low on Tuesday, after it said full-year pretax profit would be
significantly below analysts’ expectations.

Oct 10, 2014

Court clears Britain to take tighter control of online gambling

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s plans to bring licensing and taxation of online gambling companies under UK control got the green light on Friday when a court dismissed a legal challenge to the move.

Bookmakers with big British businesses including William Hill and Ladbrokes have based their online operations offshore in places like Gibraltar in order to take advantage of lower local taxes.

Oct 9, 2014

Serco eyes sale of environmental services, leisure arms – source

LONDON, Oct 9 (Reuters) – Struggling British outsourcer
Serco Group Plc is looking to sell off its environmental
services and leisure businesses as part of an overhaul designed
to restore its fortunes, a source close to the situation told
Reuters on Thursday.

Serco’s strategy and businesses are being reviewed by new
boss Rupert Soames as he plots its recovery from a disastrous
spell of contract problems and a UK government work ban that has
sparked profit warnings, a cash call and a restructuring.

Oct 3, 2014

Britain threatens to ignore European Court of Human Rights rulings

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will quit the European Court of Human Rights unless it agrees that the Westminster parliament has the final say over its rulings, according to pre-election plans detailed on Friday by Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party.

Cameron, who is seeking to counter the threat from the anti-European Union UK Independence Party in May’s national election, has said rulings by the European rights court had prevented Britain deporting suspected militants.

Sep 29, 2014

Construction losses force Balfour to warn on profit again

LONDON, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Shares in Balfour Beatty
plunged on Monday after the British construction firm
cut its profit forecast for the third time in less than five
months, blaming increased losses on the mismanagement of a
number of UK contracts.

Balfour, which rejected the merger advances of UK rival
Carillion for the third time last month, said profits
at its UK Construction Services unit would be 75 million pounds
($122 million) less than expected due to writedowns on
engineering contracts in London and costly setbacks on a number
of building projects.

Sep 25, 2014

UK’s Mitchells & Butlers blames rainy August for scant sales growth

LONDON, Sept 25 (Reuters) – British pubs and restaurants
group Mitchells & Butlers blamed a relatively rainy
August and persistently weak consumer sentiment for meagre sales
growth in its final quarter, sending its shares down more than 5

The group said on Thursday underlying sales in the nine
weeks to Sept. 20 grew just 0.1 percent, compared with the 0.7
percent growth recorded in the 42 weeks to July 19, resulting in
annual underlying growth of 0.6 percent.

Sep 23, 2014

UK pub firm Greene King eyes Spirit takeover

LONDON (Reuters) – British pub and breweries group Greene King (GNK.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has approached the board of rival Spirit Pub Co (SPRTC.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) over a potential takeover, reported to be worth more than 700 million pounds ($1.2 billion).

Greene King, whose 1,900-strong estate includes Hungry Horse, Old English Inns and Loch Fyne Restaurants, confirmed the approach on Tuesday without giving any further details.

Sep 23, 2014

Mothercare calls for cash to help fund UK turnaround

LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Baby goods retailer Mothercare
said on Tuesday it would tap shareholders for 100
million pounds ($164 million) to help fund another raft of store
closures and revamps, as it steps up efforts to stem losses at
its core British business by 2017.

While Mothercare’s overseas business is profitable, fierce
competition from supermarkets like Tesco and internet
retailers like Amazon has hit it hard at home, leaving
it with too many stores and not enough customers, and exposing a
need to grow online and improve its product ranges and brands.

Sep 10, 2014

Margin dip takes shine off Sports Direct sales rise

LONDON, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest sporting goods
retailer Sports Direct posted a 12 percent rise in
quarterly sales, with growing demand at its sports stores
tempered by a drop in its profitability and falling sales at its
fashion and brands businesses.

Mark-downs to clear stock in Austria following the
acquisition of Eybl in May 2013, and in the UK, after England’s
poor showing at the soccer World Cup in Brazil, helped take 10
basis points of the group’s gross margin in its first quarter.

Sep 9, 2014

Whitbread sales boosted by buoyant hotel market

LONDON, Sept 9 (Reuters) – Britain’s Whitbread said
buoyant demand at its Premier Inn hotels and stronger growth at
its Costa Coffee arm helped send second-quarter underlying group
sales up 6.8 percent.

Total sales including new sites for the 11 weeks to Aug 14
rose 12.8 percent, Britain’s biggest hotel and coffee chain
operator said on Tuesday, with business at its Premier Inn arm
benefiting from an improving economy and extra trade from the
Farnborough Airshow and Scotland’s Commonwealth Games.

    • 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"
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