Company News Reporter, London
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Feb 5, 2015

The burger-loving Brit: McDonald’s new CEO takes on sales slump

LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) – A decade ago McDonald’s UK
business needed better menus and a fresh image to catch up with
consumer tastes. Now the U.S. firm, facing the same problems but
on a much bigger scale, has turned to the man who fixed it for
them last time.

Briton Steve Easterbrook, a 47-year-old company veteran, was
appointed boss of the world’s biggest burger chain last week,
only the second non-American to take the job. His challenge is
to halt a slide in sales around the world, caused by unpopular
menus with too many options and accusations of poor quality.

Jan 27, 2015

Rangers FC seal funding lifeline with Ashley’s Sports Direct

LONDON, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Scottish soccer club Rangers said on Tuesday it had struck a deal with Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct for a 10 million pound ($15 million) credit facility, giving the stricken former champions time to find permanent investment.

Rangers, which needed funding to survive beyond the end of January, said the 10 million pounds would be used in part to pay off a previous loan from Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct and owner of English Premier League club Newcastle United.

Jan 23, 2015

Mr Kipling maker Premier Foods sees positives in supermarket wars

LONDON, Jan 23 (Reuters) – The owner of Mr Kipling cakes and
Bisto gravy, Premier Foods, could gain shelf space in
the intensifying battle for shoppers among Britain’s ‘big four’
supermarkets, its chief executive said.

Big supermarkets including market leader Tesco have
lost market share to discount chains Aldi and Lidl. But now they
are fighting back with price cuts, improved customer service and
simpler ranges to woo shoppers.

Jan 22, 2015

Royal Mail shares lifted by parcels progress

LONDON, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Britain’s Royal Mail
announced an improved performance at its key parcels business
over a busy Christmas period, helped by price promotions, the
Black Friday retail rush and its own longer business hours in an
increasingly competitive market.

The company’s shares have dropped by about 28 percent from
their post-privatisation peak on concern over a squeeze on
parcel prices caused by rising competition, the emergence of a
rival letter-delivery service and regulatory disputes, but
Thursday’s update suggests that restructuring and improvements
to its parcels service are improving its fortunes.

Jan 21, 2015

Bikes, batteries and bulbs boost Halfords Christmas sales

LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) – British retailer Halfords
, whose boss Matt Davies will leave to take charge of
Tesco’s UK business in June, posted a rise in Christmas
sales thanks to strong demand for car parts, batteries and
children’s bicycles.

Retail sales at stores open for more than a year rose 6.8
percent in the 15 weeks to Jan. 9, the bikes-to-car-parts
retailer said on Wednesday, ahead of an average forecast of 5.9
percent growth according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

Jan 18, 2015

UK supermarkets braced for battle as Tesco comes out fighting

LONDON, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Four months into the job, Tesco
boss Dave Lewis has wasted no time imposing a range of
price cuts and customer service improvements designed to regain
the initiative in a tough market. There are already signs
customers are noticing.

Despite the series of shocks Tesco suffered in the past
year, famously prompting billionaire investor Warren Buffett to
admit buying into the stock was a huge mistake, it remains clear
leader in its home market, lending it the clout to squeeze its
“big four” rivals as well as upstart discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Jan 14, 2015

SuperGroup upbeat after Christmas sales surge

LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) – SuperGroup, the owner of
clothing brand Superdry, said a bout of cold weather following
an unseasonably warm Autumn had boosted demand for coats and
jumpers, helping its underlying sales to rebound over the
Christmas period.

Shares in the firm, which have almost halved in the last
year, were up 10 percent in early trading.

Jan 13, 2015

Christmas comes too late to save Debenhams from sales fall

LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Debenhams, Britain’s No.2
department stores chain, posted an unexpected fall in
first-quarter sales as a strong Christmas failed to undo the
damage from mild autumn weather.

The firm said on Tuesday UK like-for-like sales for the 19
weeks to Jan. 10 fell 0.8 percent, below analyst expectations
for a 1 percent rise, as demand for winter clothing suffered
from the unseasonal weather that hurt much of the industry.

Jan 8, 2015

Tesco kicks off fightback with cost cuts and asset sales

LONDON (Reuters) – Tesco will slash costs and sell assets to fund lower prices and mend its finances, Britain’s biggest retailer said on Thursday, as its new boss set out his plan to fight back from years of market share losses and an accounting scandal.

Dave Lewis, poached from Unilever to rescue Tesco from the biggest crisis in its 96-year history, said on Thursday he would halve capital spending, scrap the dividend, consider the sale of the Dunnhumby data gathering business, consolidate head office locations and shut the final salary pension scheme to save cash.

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.

    • 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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