Company News Reporter, London
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Jan 8, 2015

Halfords man Davies rides to Tesco’s rescue

LONDON (Reuters) – Tesco (TSCO.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Thursday turned to Halfords (HFD.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) CEO Matt Davies as the surprise choice to fix its UK supermarket business, won over by his ability to improve customer service and employee morale.

News of his appointment sent shares in Halfords, where the 43-year-old revitalized a tired car parts to bicycle firm in just over two years, tumbling 8 percent.

Jan 8, 2015

Tesco begins fight back with cost cuts and asset sales

LONDON, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest supermarket
group Tesco plans to cut hundreds of millions of pounds
of costs and sell assets to fund lower prices in response to the
biggest crisis in its 95-year-history.

Seeking to recover from four profit warnings and an
accounting scandal, new Tesco boss Dave Lewis unveiled his
strategy in a statement which also showed a marked improvement
in trading over the key Christmas period.

Jan 7, 2015

Profit warning hammers shares in UK retailer Boohoo.com

LONDON, Jan 7 (Reuters) – Shares in British online fashion
retailer Boohoo.com plunged by almost half on Wednesday
after fierce discounts across the industry hit sales and forced
it to slash full-year profit forecasts.

The company, which listed on the stock market in March,
blamed price cuts by high street rivals looking to shift jumpers
and coats following a warm autumn season for slowing demand in
the run-up to Christmas.

Dec 22, 2014

Tesco masterplan? New boss keeps investors and staff guessing

LONDON, Dec 22 (Reuters) – When Phil Clarke was sacked as
Tesco’s CEO, senior executives hoped his 0700 strategy
meetings would go with him. They did – new boss Dave Lewis
starts his at 0630.

Parachuted in from Unilever in September, Lewis
soon faced the task of making the shock announcement that a 250
million pound ($391 million) hole had been found in Tesco’s
profits, in an accounting scandal that led to the departure of
several senior executives.

Dec 19, 2014

Europe beware! Ashley’s Sports Direct is spoiling for a fight

LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – “If you don’t want to play, we’ll
come to your country and smash you to bits,” Mike Ashley, the
billionaire founder of British retailer Sports Direct
said earlier this year.

That’s not the language you’d expect from a business leader
laying out plans to expand across Europe.

Dec 18, 2014

Hotelier IHG kicks off Chinese-focused Hualuxe roll-out

LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) – InterContinental Hotels Group
will open up to three of its new Hualuxe hotels in China
in 2015, the first of a Chinese-specific brand it hopes to
eventually roll out globally.

IHG, one of the world’s largest hoteliers with brands such
as Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and InterContinental, said the
first Hualuxe hotel will open within weeks and has identified
over 100 Chinese cities for sites in the next 15-20 years.

Dec 15, 2014

Legoland operator Merlin puts blocks in place for growth

LONDON (Reuters) – Destined to form models of the Burj Khalifa and Tokyo Tower, 90 million toy bricks will be used in new Legoland Parks in Dubai, Japan and Korea by 2017, building blocks in British operator Merlin’s (MERL.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) expanding empire.

The theme parks, which each house 30 million Lego bricks and offer youngsters rides and shows, make up 30 percent of Merlin’s 1.2 billion pound ($1.9 billion) revenue and are a big part of its punchy expansion plans for North America and Asia.

Dec 11, 2014

Stakes, acquisitions on Sports Direct’s expansion agenda

LONDON (Reuters) – Sports Direct, Britain’s biggest sporting goods retailer, said it would not rule out taking further stakes in rivals and that potential acquisitions in Europe were constantly being assessed as part of its expansion plans.

The group, majority owned by founder and Newcastle United soccer club owner Mike Ashley, has already taken surprise positions this year in department store group Debenhams, online retailer MySale and Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco, all firms it now has retail deals with.

Dec 9, 2014

Pub firm Wetherspoon ends Heineken drinks deal after row

LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) – British pub group Wetherspoon
said it would no longer sell Heineken drinks
at any of its 926 pubs after a disagreement with the Dutch
brewer over pricing in Ireland.

Wetherspoon, whose cheap drink and food offers have proved
popular in the UK, has been selling pints of Heineken lager and
Murphy’s stout at prices around 40 percent below the competition
at its first Irish pub in Blackrock, Dublin.

Dec 5, 2014

Balfour rejects $1.6 billion John Laing Fund offer for public-private assets

LONDON (Reuters) – British infrastructure group Balfour Beatty (BALF.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has rejected a 1 billion pound ($1.6 billion) offer from John Laing Infrastructure Fund (JLIF) for assets it operates in partnership with government, saying the price was too low.

The offer comes amid troubled times at Balfour, which has issued a string of profit warnings, and been forced to fend off takeover approaches from rival Carillion (CLLN.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

    • 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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