Retail industry

Patisserie Valerie saved in buyout backed by Irish private equity firm | Business – Business Article

The Patisserie Valerie cafe chain has been saved from closure by a management buyout backed by an Irish private equity firm. Almost 100 cafes will be rescued in the deal, backed by Causeway Capital, while another 21 sites under the Philpotts brand have been bought by AF Blakemore & Son, the family owned company which is the largest operator of Spar franchise outlets in the UK. The two deals will save about 2,000 jobs. Patisserie Holdings – the listed parent…

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Debenhams to announce £40m short-term cash injection | Business – Business Article

Debenhams is expected to announce a short-term cash injection of about £40m as it buys more time to arrange a longer-term refinancing and store closure plan. The ailing department store chain, which has 165 outlets and employs 25,000 people, is battling to reach a deal with its banks and bondholders after a difficult Christmas capped off a lacklustre 2018, during which it issued three profit warnings. Lenders have agreed to extend the company’s overdraft limit in an attempt to give…

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Mike Ashley withdraws his surprise bid for Patisserie Valerie | Business – Business Article

Sports Direct has pulled out of the bidding for Patisserie Valerie, just two days after emerging as a surprise suitor for the stricken cake chain. Mike Ashley’s sportswear group walked away from talks on Sunday, ending the prospect that Patisserie Valerie could join House of Fraser, Evans Cycles and Sofa.com in the Sports Direct stable. The approach, made last Friday, was an unexpected twist in the battle to rescue Patisserie Valerie, which fell into administration in January after a £40m…

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Pressure mounts to strip Green of knighthood | Business – Business Article

Pressure was mounting on Saturday for controversial businessman Sir Philip Green to lose his knighthood following allegations that he had sexually and racially abused his staff. “If the allegations are true, then Philip Green should be stripped of his knighthood,” said Ian Lavery MP, Labour party chair. “The public rightly expect high standards from public figures and they’re not getting it. The honours system is clearly flawed and the prime minister should take steps to remove honours from people who…

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Ocado prays warehouse blaze won’t douse its hopes for a hi-tech future | Business – Business Article

Last Tuesday morning Tim Steiner, the boss of Ocado, was brimming with his usual confidence as he told City investors how its robotic warehouses had the potential to revolutionise grocery shopping and transform the way baggage carousels, car parks and even ports operate. However, as Steiner was delivering his presentation in Goldman Sachs’s London office – where he worked as a bond trader in the 1990s – about 70 miles to the west a key element of the Ocado operation…

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Philip Green accused of racial, physical and sexual abuse | Business – Business Article

Philip Green allegedly subjected people working in his business empire to abuse and other inappropriate behaviour that was at times racial, physical and sexual, according to a report. A host of serious allegations were published on Friday evening by the Daily Telegraph after an injunction obtained by the businessman was lifted. The paper said some of the people involved had made complaints about Green but they had been covered up. In some cases, Green is alleged to have paid people…

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Mike Ashley makes surprise bid for Patisserie Valerie | Business – Business Article

The sportswear tycoon Mike Ashley has made a surprise bid to add collapsed cake chain Patisserie Valerie to his high-street empire. On Friday evening the Sports Direct boss confirmed in a brief statement to the stock exchange that the company had made an offer for the stricken cake group, which plunged into administration last month. Patisserie Valerie went into a death spiral after the discovery of a £40m black hole in its finances, which it blamed on “potentially fraudulent” accounting…

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HMV’s new voice is relishing the fight to save all the stores | Business – Business Article

The new owner of HMV is hoping to reopen the chain’s flagship store on Oxford Street, and is in talks with landlords on the rest of the 27 outlets which closed down earlier this week. Doug Putman, the 34-year-old boss of Canada’s Sunrise Records, rescued 100 HMV stores from administration, beating off a bid from Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley. But branches such as Oxford Street, with higher rents, were not included in the deal. Speaking to the Guardian, Putman said…

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Ocado says fire at warehouse will hit sales growth and orders | Business – Business Article

Ocado’s online grocery service is expected to face significant disruption for some weeks after a huge fire at one of its automated warehouses. The company was unable to say when deliveries would resume from the Hampshire facility, as it issued a warning to the stock market that its sales growth would take a hit from the blaze at the warehouse in Andover in Hampshire. Firefighters, who continued to tackle the blaze on Wednesday evening with smoke still billowing from the…

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HMV bought by Canadian music store mogul Doug Putman | Business – Business Article

A Canadian music entrepreneur has rescued HMV from collapse, taking over 100 shops and safeguarding 1,500 jobs. Doug Putman, who runs the Canadian record retailer Sunrise Records, has bought the UK music and film retailer after emerging as the leading contender over the weekend, heading off competition from Mike Ashley, the Sports Direct boss. HMV collapsed into administration just after Christmas, blaming tough conditions on UK high streets and competition from streaming sites such as Netflix and Spotify. Sign up…

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Canadian music store mogul Doug Putman joins battle for HMV | Business – Business Article

A Canadian music store mogul has emerged as a leading contender to take over HMV, which is also being circled by Mike Ashley. Doug Putman, who runs the Canadian record retailer Sunrise Records and uses Fleetwood Mac albums to explain his business model, has entered the race to buy the UK music and film retailer, which collapsed into administration just after Christmas. Sunrise Records previously took over about 70 HMV store sites in Canada after the chain went bust there…

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‘Flawed genius’ Mike Ashley adds Sofa.com to his empire | Business – Business Article

The Sports Direct founder, Mike Ashley, has added the online retailer Sofa.com to his rapidly expanding high street empire, which now encompasses sportswear, department stores and furniture. Ashley saw off competition from the stock market-listed furniture specialist ScS Group to win control of the sofa brand which is already sold through eight House of Fraser stores. Mike Ashley The billionaire, who owns 61.5% of Sports Direct, has been on a buying spree over the past year, snapping up struggling chains…

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Off-licence chain Oddbins calls in administrators | Business – Business Article

The owner of Oddbins has appointed administrators to its retail businesses, putting about 550 jobs at risk. European Food Brokers has appointed Duff & Phelps as administrator to its retail operation, made up of 45 Oddbins stores, 56 Wine Cellar Trading and Whittalls Wine Merchants and two convenience stores. The parent group and its drinks distribution business has not entered administration and will continue to trade. Oddbins was founded in 1963 by the entrepreneur Ahmed Pochee, who began by delivering…

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Staffline begins inquiry over concerns about invoicing and payroll | Business – Business Article

Recruitment and training firm Staffline has launched an internal investigation after concerns were raised over “invoicing and payroll practices” within its recruitment division. The firm, which supplies staff to major UK companies including Tesco and Marks & Spencer, said in a stock market announcement that the issues were brought to the board’s attention on Wednesday morning, and confirmed that it was delaying the planned publication of its full-year earnings as a result. A spokesperson for the company said an internal…

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Mike Ashley sets sights on struggling furniture retailer Sofa.com | UK news – Business Article

Mike Ashley could be about to make the leap from sportswear to sofa retailing with yet another takeover deal, this time of the online furniture specialist Sofa.com. The Sports Direct founder has been on a buying spree over the past year, snapping up struggling retail chains including House of Fraser and the bike specialist Evans Cycles amid a high street crisis. He is also currently in the running to acquire the collapsed entertainment chain HMV. The tycoon’s latest target is…

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Insects worm their way into Selfridges food hall in ‘bug bars’ | Environment – Business Article

Pasta, protein bars and granola bars made from insect flour are to go on sale in Selfridges to highlight alternative proteins for inclusion in mainstream diets. Amid growing awareness of the environmental impact of livestock farming – and the benefits of reducing meat consumption – the British department store is the latest retailer to tap into the rising recognition of the benefits of eating insects on both nutritional and environmental grounds. Basil fusilli pasta and raspberry and pumpkin seed granola…

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Philip Green ends ‘gagging order’ action against Telegraph | Business – Business Article

It promised to be one of the highest profile court cases of the year, pitting the billionaire owner of TopShop against a national newspaper over its right to report claims of sexual and racial harassment. Instead, Sir Philip Green chose to duck a head-on fight with the Daily Telegraph at the last minute, avoiding a high court trial and leaving the businessman with a hefty legal bill and a battered reputation. The decision by Green and his business empire, Arcadia,…

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No-deal Brexit: UK firms ‘praying’ for article 50 extension, says KPMG | Business – Business Article

British firms are “praying for an extension to article 50” rather than face a no-deal Brexit as it emerged that foreign investment has fallen steeply and the outlook for growth has slumped to a six-year low. The Confederation of British Industry said that firms’ reported growth prospects were at their weakest for almost six years, while other research shows the number of acquisitions of UK companies by foreign buyers is falling 11% year on year. The warnings emerged after the…

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Ocado’s secret talks with M&S could spell the end for Waitrose tie-up | Business – Business Article

Ocado has held secret talks with Marks & Spencer over the launch of a food delivery service that could signal the end of its long running tie-up with Waitrose. The Ocado name has been intertwined with Waitrose for the past 20 years but the current supply deal between the companies ends in September 2020. City analysts expect the businesses, which have always had a stormy relationship, to part ways. John Lewis Partnership, which controls Waitrose, no longer has any ownership…

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Thousands of Tesco jobs at risk as bosses look to axe fresh food counters | Business – Business Article

Tesco is embarking on a fresh round of aggressive cost-cutting in its UK supermarket business that could eliminate thousands of jobs and its in-store deli counters. The latest plan reportedly involves the closure of meat, fish and delicatessen counters as well as downgrading in-store bakeries. Staff canteens are also to be replaced with vending machines, according to the Mail on Sunday, with suggestions of up to 15,000 jobs at risk. The cuts are part of a plan to slash £1.5bn…

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