Company News Reporter, London
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Jun 26, 2015

Tesco shows signs of UK recovery as turnaround plan takes shape

LONDON (Reuters) – Price cuts and better service helped Tesco (TSCO.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to win back shoppers in the first quarter of its financial year, Britain’s biggest retailer said on Friday, suggesting new boss Dave Lewis’s turnaround plan is starting to bear fruit.

Tesco has had a horrendous 18 months, with competition from fast-growing discounters Aldi and Lidl compounded by an accounting scandal that drove it to a record annual loss.

Jun 26, 2015

Tesco shows signs of recovery in key home market

LONDON, June 26 (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest supermarket
operator Tesco said sales had declined less than
expected in its first quarter, indicating a tentative recovery
in its key home market could be starting to move on to a
stronger footing.

Tesco, which endured a horrendous 18 months marred by profit
warnings, a record statutory loss and an accounting scandal,
said on Friday sales at British stores open for more than a year
fell 1.3 percent over the 13 weeks to May 30, against analyst
forecasts of a decline of between 1.6 percent and 3 percent.

Jun 23, 2015

Ladbrokes shares leap on $5 billion Gala Coral merger talks

By Kate Holton and Neil Maidment

(Reuters) – Shares in British bookmaker Ladbrokes (LAD.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) jumped 20 percent on Tuesday on news of its merger talks with Gala Coral, designed to create a $5 billion giant with the firepower to get ahead in the key online gambling market.

The talks are the first major move by Ladbrokes Chief Executive Jim Mullen, who was appointed in March with a remit to grow digital services at Britain’s second biggest bookmaker and close the gap on market leader William Hill (WMH.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Jun 16, 2015

Britain to review Royal Mail regulation after rival exits market

LONDON, June 16 (Reuters) – A British watchdog said it would
review the regulation of Royal Mail after the withdrawal
of rival Whistl from the direct delivery letter market left the
former state-owned provider with no national competition.

Ofcom said on Tuesday the review would ensure the universal
postal service, which guarantees a single-priced, six day a week
service across the country, was secured.

Jun 16, 2015

Premier Inn and Costa Coffee demand sends Whitbread sales up

LONDON, June 16 (Reuters) – Britain’s Whitbread
posted a 4.3 percent rise in first quarter underlying group
sales on Tuesday, helped by strong demand at its budget hotel
chain Premier Inn and continued growth in its Costa Coffee

The company also announced that Lloyds Banking Group
executive Alison Brittain would join Whitbread as CEO
designate on Sept. 28 and replace outgoing Andy Harrison as its
boss in December, a month earlier than originally planned.

Jun 15, 2015

Could the Glazers lose their public enemy No.1 tag at Manchester United?

LONDON/NEW YORK, June 15 (Reuters) – The Glazers are
unlikely to ever be liked, let alone loved, by fans of
Manchester United. The fiercely private American family that
bought the famous English soccer club 10 years ago has been
widely depicted by the team’s fans and the British media as
seeking to bleed the club dry after leveraging it up with debt.

Yet the Glazers are now assuaging some of their critics as
the club says it will bankroll new player signings and is in a
position to return to Europe’s biggest cup competition after
failing to qualify in 2014 for the first time in 19 years.
Crucially, their transformation of United into a commercial cash
machine may give them an advantage over rivals.

Jun 11, 2015

Mulberry’s return to its roots helps sales after profit plunge

LONDON (Reuters) – British handbag maker Mulberry (MUL.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Thursday a return to more affordable prices had boosted sales in the first few weeks of its new financial year after an ill-fated move upmarket led to a 74 percent fall in full-year profit.

Mulberry has spent the past year reconnecting with its roots in affordable luxury after an attempt to become more exclusive backfired, prompting a string of profit warnings and the departure of Chief Executive Bruno Guillon.

Jun 5, 2015

Halfords’ cycling push pays off as profits rise

LONDON, June 5 (Reuters) – British car parts to bikes
retailer Halfords posted a better than expected rise in
annual profit as its customer service push and improved cycling
ranges helped it hit its 1 billion pound ($1.5 billion) sales
target a year early.

In Halfords’ first update since Jill McDonald joined from
McDonald’s in May to replace Matt Davies as chief executive, the
firm said pretax profit for the year to March 27 rose 11.4
percent to 81.1 million pounds ($124 million), ahead of
analysts’ forecast of 78.9 million, according to Reuters data.

Jun 2, 2015

Online retailer AO World to step up European expansion

LONDON, June 2 (Reuters) – AO World, the British
online retailer of domestic appliances that floated last year,
said it would step-up its European expansion next year after
moving into Germany in 2014.

The firm, which rivals Dixons Carphone and Home Retail’s
Argos selling everything from washing machines and fridges to
vacuum cleaners and ovens, said on Tuesday it would start up in
one or more new territories in the first six months of 2016.

May 27, 2015

Ex-Thomas Cook boss Green to donate part of share payout to charity

LONDON, May 27 (Reuters) – Ex-Thomas Cook boss
Harriet Green is to donate around 3 million pounds from a bumper
share payout to a charity chosen by the parents of two British
children who died during one of the firm’s holidays in Corfu in

The media storm over the deaths was reignited after an
inquest this month returned a verdict of unlawful killing from
carbon monoxide poisoning, with Thomas Cook criticised for
having been slow to apologise to the family.

    • 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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