Company News Reporter, London
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Dec 31, 2013

UK’s Debenhams warns on profit after poor Christmas

LONDON, Dec 31 (Reuters) – Debenhams warned of a
sharp fall in profit on Tuesday after big discounts failed to
spur a surge in last-minute Christmas shopping, sending a shiver
through weaker British retailers.

In an ominous sign for rival Marks & Spencer,
Britain’s second-largest department store group said it would
now miss analysts’ first-half profit forecasts and would have to
cut prices even further to clear stock.

Dec 17, 2013

Costa aims for offices with new Express coffee machines

LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Not content with an expanding
number of stores at home and abroad, Britain’s Costa Coffee is
hoping a new self-service machine crafted by Ferrari designers
and Harry Potter website techies will help it grow in offices
and similar locations.

Britain’s largest coffee chain, part of Whitbread Plc
, has grown rapidly on the back of rising demand for
affordable coffee treats and aims to double sales to 2 billion
pounds ($3.3 billion) by 2018, through expansion at home and
abroad in places such as China.

Dec 12, 2013

Online demand helps boost Sports Direct profit

LONDON, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest sporting goods
retailer Sports Direct said growing online demand for
its discount offerings helped boost first-half profit, putting
it in a strong position to find further expansion opportunities
across Europe.

The group, which has over 600 sports stores in Europe,
including 400 in the UK, said on Thursday core earnings for the
six months to Oct. 27 was 183.3 million pounds, up 12.3 percent
on a year ago and broadly in line with analysts’ forecasts.

Dec 10, 2013

Whitbread boosted by growing Premier Inn, Costa demand

LONDON, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Whitbread said it was on
track to meet full-year expectations as growing demand at its
Premier Inn hotels and Costa Coffee chains helped deliver a
strong rise in third quarter sales.

Britain’s biggest hotel and coffee shop operator, which also
runs pub restaurants such as Brewers Fayre, on Tuesday said
group like-for-like sales rose 4.3 percent in the 13 weeks to
Nov. 28, up from a 2.8 percent rise in the first half.

Dec 6, 2013

UK’s Domino’s Pizza CEO Batchelor quits

LONDON, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Domino’s Pizza said on
Friday its Chief Executive Lance Batchelor would stand down next
year, dealing a second managerial blow to Britain’s biggest
pizza delivery firm this year and hitting its shares sharply.

Batchelor, who has led the firm’s expansion into Switzerland
and Germany, will join the group’s Chief Financial Officer, Lee
Ginsberg, in leaving the firm after he announced his departure
in July this year.

Dec 5, 2013

Mulberry says upmarket, global push starting to pay off

LONDON, Dec 5 (Reuters) – The boss of British luxury fashion
group Mulberry said shoppers’ willingness to spend more
on expensive handbags and rising international sales showed the
company’s push for a more upmarket and global position was
starting to pay off.

The Bayswater and Alexa handbags maker generates over 60
percent of sales in the UK, and is now trying to increase its
profile overseas, targeting affluent Asian shoppers in key
tourist spots and hiking prices to take its brand more upmarket
from a traditional position of “affordable luxury”.

Nov 27, 2013

UK says last-minute price hike would have risked Royal Mail sale

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s sale of the Royal Mail (RMG.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) postal service, its biggest privatization in decades, would have been put at “considerable risk” if it had tried to raise the price at the last minute, ministers said on Wednesday.

Last month’s Royal Mail selloff has grabbed headlines, with unions and opposition lawmakers criticizing the government for potentially short-changing the taxpayer after shares in the firm rocketed by as much as 80 percent after flotation.

Nov 26, 2013

Britvic expands Fruit Shoot brand as profit rises

LONDON, Nov 26 (Reuters) – British soft drinks group Britvic
said it would ramp up expansion of its Fruit Shoot
brand in the United States in 2014, as it posted a 19 percent
rise in full-year profit.

The group, which also makes drinks such as Robinsons squash
and Tango, as well PepsiCo brands Pepsi and 7UP in
Britain and Ireland, said on Tuesday it had signed a 15-year
deal with PepsiCo Americas Beverages to expand Fruit Shoot.

Nov 20, 2013

Royal Mail bankers reject claims sale price was too low

LONDON (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and UBS (UBSN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) bankers said Britain could not have sold the Royal Mail (RMG.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) postal service at its current higher price, rejecting accusations that one of the biggest privatizations in years had short-changed taxpayers.

The two banks, which led Royal Mail’s London stock market listing, were summoned before a parliamentary committee on Wednesday to explain why they had priced the near 500-year old firm so far below its current market value.

Nov 20, 2013

Royal Mail advisers defend sale price

LONDON (Reuters) – Advisers on the British government’s privatisation of Royal Mail said the postal service could not have been sold at its current price, rejecting accusations that one of the biggest state sell-offs in years was done on the cheap.

On Wednesday banks including UBS and Goldman Sachs, which managed Royal Mail’s sale on the stock market, were summoned before a parliamentary committee to explain how they priced the near 500-year old company.

    • 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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