Company News Reporter, London
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Sep 12, 2013

Britain to float Royal Mail within weeks

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain embarked on its largest privatization in decades on Thursday as the government unveiled plans to sell the majority of the near 500-year-old state-owned Royal Mail postal service.

The Department for Business said a stock market flotation would take place in coming weeks, giving the public a chance to buy into the postal network. Ten percent of the shares will be given to Royal Mail (IPO-RMG.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) staff.

Sep 11, 2013

Sports Direct extends winning run as heads for FTSE 100 index

LONDON (Reuters) – Sports Direct, Britain’s biggest sporting goods retailer, posted a big rise in sales on Wednesday, as shoppers snapped up its cut-price deals and helped sustain a strong run for the shares that is set to take them into the FTSE 100 index.

The firm, controlled by billionaire Newcastle United soccer club owner Mike Ashley, said trading in the 13 weeks to July 28 had beaten its expectations, with group sales of everything from footwear to soccer shirts and gym kit jumping 18 percent on the same period last year to 613.3 million pounds.

Sep 11, 2013

Sports Direct posts sales rise as FTSE 100 debut nears

LONDON, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Sports Direct, Britain’s
biggest sporting goods retailer, posted an 18.2 percent rise in
first-quarter sales, sustaining a strong performance that is set
to lift it into the UK’s leading share index.

The company, controlled by billionaire Newcastle United
soccer club owner Mike Ashley, said trading in the 13 weeks to
July 28 had been ahead of its expectations, with group sales
reaching 613.3 million pounds ($964 million) versus 519 million
a year earlier.

Sep 10, 2013

Whitbread’s Premier Inn hotels boosted by London demand

LONDON, Sept 10 (Reuters) – The return of business
travellers and tourists lifted revenues for Britain’s Whitbread
at its Premier Inn London hotels this summer, despite
expectations of a slump after last year’s Olympics, though
conditions outside the capital were tougher.

The UK’s biggest hotel and coffee shop operator, which also
owns Costa Coffee and the Beefeater and Brewers Fayre restaurant
chains, reported on Tuesday underlying sales across the group
rose 2.1 in the 11 weeks to Aug. 15, its fiscal second quarter.

Aug 29, 2013

Serco vows to fix UK government contract problems

LONDON, Aug 29 (Reuters) – Outsourcing group Serco
promised to fix any wrongdoing by its staff which could put at
risk millions of pounds of British government contracts that
make up a large chunk of its earnings.

Serco is facing the threat of exclusion from future work
after the government revealed serious faults with its prisoner
escort services late on Wednesday. All its government work was
put under review in July, following problems with an electronic
tagging contract.

Aug 28, 2013

New G4S boss starts turnaround with $541 million share sale

LONDON (Reuters) – G4S (GFS.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the world’s largest security services firm, raised 348 million pounds ($541 million) through a share sale with more to come from asset disposals as its new boss seeks to cut debt and focus on emerging markets growth.

Chief Executive Ashley Almanza, a former executive at oil and gas firm BG Group (BG.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), was promoted from finance chief in June after a string of blunders by his predecessor Nick Buckles, including a failed takeover bid in 2011, a botched contract to staff the 2012 Olympics and a profit warning in May.

Aug 28, 2013

New G4S boss seeks over $900 mln for turnaround drive

LONDON, Aug 28 (Reuters) – G4S, the world’s largest
security services firm, plans to raise about 600 million pounds
($932 million) by selling shares and assets as its new boss
seeks to restore its battered reputation by cutting debt and
focusing on emerging markets.

Chief Executive Ashley Almanza, a former executive at oil
and gas firm BG Group, was promoted from finance chief in
June after a string of blunders by his predecessor, including a
failed takeover bid in 2011, a botched contract to staff the
2012 Olympic Games and a profit warning in May.

Aug 23, 2013

New boss of security firm G4S to outline revival plan

LONDON (Reuters) – The new boss of G4S (GFS.L: Quote, Profile, Research) faces a major test next week, when interim results give him an opportunity to improve the reputation and finances of the world’s biggest security company following a series of blunders.

Gaffes including last year’s last-minute failure to provide thousands of security guards for the London Olympics have complicated the company’s efforts to win outsourcing contracts, especially in the UK, its home market.

Aug 8, 2013

Tesco bets on big-store revamp to boost UK recovery plan

LONDON, Aug 8 (Reuters) – Tesco, the world’s number
three retailer, is hoping the allure of casual dining, coffees
and even yoga will help tempt Britons back to its retail park
stores as part of a 1 billion pound ($1.55 billion) push to
revitalise business.

Like other retailers, Tesco, which makes about two-thirds of
its revenue in Britain, has seen online shopping, rising petrol
prices and weak consumer spending curb the need for its largest
stores and their big ticket items, with supermarkets now betting
more heavily on online and smaller local convenience stores.

Aug 6, 2013

InterContinental Hotels gets a boost from strong U.S. demand

LONDON, Aug 6 (Reuters) – InterContinental Hotels Group
, the world’s biggest hotelier, posted a big rise in
first-half profits on the back of strong demand in the United
States and said it would return $350 million to shareholders via
a special dividend.

IHG, which operates 4,600 hotels globally and is home to the
Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and InterContinental brands, added to
recent upbeat comments from rivals Starwood and Marriott
International on high U.S. demand, which is helping
offset tougher trading conditions in Europe and Greater China.

    • 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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