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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.

Sep 3, 2014

Interserve says work prospects good but M&A still on the menu

LONDON, Sept 3 (Reuters) – Support services and construction
firm Interserve has a list of work prospects to support
future growth but does not rule out opening its cheque book to
add to recent acquisitions, its chief executive told Reuters.

The British firm, whose work ranges from building airports
and schools to cleaning London’s underground and placing people
in jobs, has spent around 400 million pounds ($659 million) on
buying businesses in the past three years, boosting earnings.

Aug 29, 2014

Tesco slashes profit forecast and dividend as trading slumps

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco (TSCO.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) slashed its interim dividend by 75 percent as tough trading conditions forced it to cut its profit forecast for the second time in two months.

Tesco, which warned on profits in July as it ousted chief executive Phil Clarke, also said his replacement Dave Lewis would start on Monday, one month earlier than expected, and with a remit for a major review of the company.

Aug 27, 2014

ASOS shares jump on report of U.S. bid interest

LONDON (Reuters) – Shares in British online fashion retailer ASOS (ASOS.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which have fallen sharply in recent months after profit warnings and a warehouse fire, jumped on Wednesday on an unconfirmed report of a U.S. bid for a stake in the business.

ASOS shares, a previous market darling that have fallen by almost two thirds this year, surged 13.5 percent to 26.65 pounds, pulling up other online fashion stocks in their wake, including Boohoo (BOOH.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Italy’s Yoox (YOOX.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz). ASOS shares had already risen 7.6 percent on Tuesday on the speculation.

Aug 22, 2014

British pub firm Marston’s plans chain of hotels

LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) – British pubs and brewing company
Marston’s plans to open a chain of hotels alongside its
growing pub-restaurant sites.

Marston’s, which runs Pitcher and Piano pubs and brews ales
such as Pedigree and Hobgoblin, said as many as five of its 25
to 30 annual new pub openings could include a Marston’s lodge.

Aug 13, 2014

G4S overhaul begins to pay off as profits rise

LONDON (Reuters) – G4S, the world’s biggest security company, posted a better-than-expected 6.3 percent rise in first-half profit as new Chief Executive Ashley Almanza’s overhaul began to pay off following a string of high profile fiascos.

The reputation of the British firm, whose operations range from transporting cash to running prisons and protecting ships from pirates, has been battered in recent years due to a failed merger and a number of contract scandals at home and abroad.

Aug 13, 2014

G4S first-half profit rises on emerging markets demand

LONDON, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Britain’s G4S, the
world’s biggest security group, posted a better-than-expected
rise in first-half operating profit on Wednesday, led by strong
demand in emerging markets.

The firm, which is being overhauled to improve operations
across its sprawling business and restore its reputation after a
series of failures, said operating profit for the six months to
June 30 was 185 million pounds ($311 million), ahead of a
consensus forecast of 177 million.

Aug 12, 2014

New Serco boss pledges recovery as first-half profit tumbles

LONDON, Aug 12 (Reuters) – The boss of British outsourcer
Serco said he was confident the sweeping changes he was
making would restore the fortunes of the firm after a disastrous
first half of the year when profits plunged 59 percent.

The company reported lower-then-expected debt and stuck to
its 2014 profit forecast – a rare event after three downgrades -
but warned the guidance depended on it cutting costs, fixing
failing contracts and uncovering no further problems.

Aug 8, 2014

New-look Arsenal have the taste for trophies

LONDON (Reuters) – Having finally treated their long-empty trophy cabinet to some FA Cup silverware last season, Arsenal have splashed the cash ahead of the new Premier League campaign to improve a squad that could now be capable of pushing for loftier titles.

Rapid forward Alexis Sanchez, a 35 million pound signing from Barcelona, leads a band of new recruits that also includes defenders Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers and goalkeeper David Ospina, for a total bill of over 60 million pounds.

    • 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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