Company News Reporter, London
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Jan 21, 2014

British soapmaker Cussons spooks investors with currency hit

LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) – British soap and shampoo maker PZ
Cussons said its first-half performance was hurt by weak
emerging market currencies that showed no signs of improving,
prompting a fall in its shares as some analysts cut their
full-year forecasts.

Cussons, the maker of Imperial Leather soaps, nevertheless
posted a 7.9 percent rise in pretax profit to 47.6 million
pounds ($78.16 million) for the six months to Nov. 30 – in line
with expectations – on sales up 4.1 percent to 431.8 million.

Jan 16, 2014

Online demand, tablets and cheap fashion lift UK retail

LONDON, Jan 16 (Reuters) – British retailers who were able
to tap consumers’ growing love of online shopping and demand for
must-have tablet computers, gadgets and cheap fashion enjoyed
robust trading in an otherwise tough Christmas for the industry.

A raft of trading updates on Thursday showed companies
including Dixons Retail, Europe’s No. 2 electricals
retailer by revenue, Home Retail, Britain’s biggest
household goods group, and online-only grocer Ocado
reported strong sales growth over the key festive period.

Jan 13, 2014

Sports Direct seeks Debenhams links after stock swoop

LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Britain’s Sports Direct
has bought close to a 5 percent stake in Debenhams,
raising the possibility of the troubled department store group
selling some of the value retailer’s brands in its stores.

Debenhams shares, which hit a 22-month low of 71 pence after
a New Year’s Eve profit warning, climbed as much as 6.5 percent
on Monday after Sports Direct said it had bought a 4.63 percent
stake and wants to explore how the groups can work together at
an operational level.

Jan 9, 2014

Poor Christmas at M&S and Tesco ratchets up pressure on CEOs

LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Tesco and Marks & Spencer
, the biggest names in British retail, posted heavy falls
in sales in the run up to Christmas, showing no sign of their
much vaunted turnarounds and ratcheting up pressure on their
chief executives.

The 130-year-old M&S reported its 10th consecutive quarter
of falling clothing sales and cut its margin guidance after
fierce discounting by rivals forced Britain’s biggest clothing
retailer to slash prices in the week before Christmas.

Jan 8, 2014

Mothercare shares plunge after warning of profit shortfall

LONDON, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Mother and baby products retailer
Mothercare has warned that full-year profit would reach
only half of what analysts had expected, after record Christmas
discounting and a drop in visitors to its stores hit sales and
margins.

The surprise statement sent Mothercare shares down 30
percent, wiping 112 million pounds ($183 million) off its stock
market value and adding pressure on Chief Executive Simon
Calver, who is trying to restore the UK division to profit in
the face of fierce competition from online rivals and
supermarkets.

Jan 8, 2014

Domino’s Pizza shares firm after sales surge tops forecasts

LONDON (Reuters) – Domino’s Pizza (DOM.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Britain’s biggest pizza delivery company, has posted a surge in fourth-quarter sales, steadying its shares which had been rattled by executive exits and a costly plan to expand in Germany.

Domino’s shares had dropped 20 percent in six months after its German operations suffered higher than anticipated losses and the company surprised investors last month by saying its chief Lance Batchelor would quit in April to join travel and insurance group Saga.

Jan 8, 2014

Domino’s Pizza settles investor nerves with sales surge

LONDON, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Domino’s Pizza, Britain’s
biggest pizza delivery firm, has posted a surge in
fourth-quarter sales, steadying the nerves of some investors
rattled by management exits and expansion concerns.

Domino’s shares have slipped 20 percent in six months after
its expansion into Germany suffered higher than anticipated
losses and the firm surprised investors last month by saying its
boss Lance Batchelor would quit in April to join travel and
insurance group Saga.

Jan 7, 2014

British housing recovery boosts Topps Tiles sales

LONDON, Jan 7 (Reuters) – Topps Tiles, Britain’s
largest specialist tile retailer, said an improving economy and
housing market had spurred a better-than-expected start to its
fiscal year.

The company’s profits have fallen by almost two-thirds since
2007 as low consumer confidence and a constricted housing market
weighed on sales, but it said on Tuesday the landscape was
improving.

Jan 2, 2014

Debenhams finance chief quits as rivals triumph in Christmas battle

LONDON, Jan 2 (Reuters) – The finance chief of Debenhams Plc
quit on Thursday after trading updates showed just how
far the 200-year-old British retailer had fallen behind rivals
John Lewis and House of Fraser over the crucial
Christmas period.

The departure of Simon Herrick from Britain’s second-largest
department stores group follows a profit warning on Tuesday, its
second in less than a year, after the company admitted its
margins had been squeezed by heavy discounts that nonetheless
failed to spark a late surge in festive shopping.

Jan 2, 2014

UK’s John Lewis enjoys record Christmas as rivals languish

LONDON, Jan 2 (Reuters) – British department stores group
John Lewis scored a 7.2 percent rise in Christmas
sales, as strong demand for items from tablet PCs to coffee
machines helped it become one of this year’s likely winners in
the UK retail sector.

The improvement comes despite unusually stormy British
weather in the run-up to Christmas and a still-cautious approach
by many consumers, sparking speculation that many retailers
would struggle during the key holiday period.

    • 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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