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Darty to close loss-making Spanish operations Thursday, 4th April 2013
European electrical retailer Darty is set to close its loss-making operations in Spain as part of an on-going turnaround plan.
As part of a strategy designed to help the group focus on the profitable businesses in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, Darty on Thursday said it will close its 43 stores in Spain by June at a cost of £30 million.
The group, which faces intense competition from internet retailers and a tough consumer trading environment in Europe, said it had concluded that increasing the scale of its Spanish business would take too long and was too tricky.
Darty’s Spanish stores were expected to record a retail loss of EUR 16 million to the year to 30 April 2013, on revenue of about EUR 120 million, according to reports by the company.
Coach handbag creator Lillian Cahn dies at 89 Friday, 8th March 2013
Photo Credit: WestportWiki
Lillian Cahn, the creator of the Coach handbag, has died at the age of 89.
Having founded the Coach Leatherware Company in 1961, Lillian, along with her husband, Miles, were long associated with the American accessories retailer, creating a number of iconic handbags and tote shoppers for the label.
From its beginnings in a Manhattan loft, Coach Inc. now employs more than 12,000 members of staff, trading over 730 stores worldwide today.
Austerity chic: Ikea reports record profits thanks to value-driven designs Wednesday, 23rd January 2013
Photo credit: Ikea
Ikea posted record net profits for the year on Wednesday, as shoppers continued to flock to the low-cost furniture retailer.
Net profit rose 8 per cent to EUR 3.2 billion in the 12 months to last August, as Ikea remained relatively resilient to the economic downturns felt across the globe.
"Customers are getting more and more value conscious, which makes Ikea a better choice," the retailer said in an annual summary.
The world’s largest furniture retailer was not, however, totally immune to the tempestuous economic backdrop, as operating profit fell by 3 per cent. Ikea said it had stuck to a strategy of absorbing rising costs of raw materials and higher inventories instead of passing these on to customers.
Revenue rose 9.5 per cent to a record EUR 27 billion for the privately held company, while stores open a year or more accounted for a 4.6 per cent increase in local currencies.
Chief executive Mikael Ohlsson said he predicted group comparable sales of around 5 per cent in the next few years; "We have been on that level the past three to four years. In this economic climate it seems that the customers' value consciousness, in combination with our lowering prices, allows us to do about 5 per cent."
Ikea is set to open six new stores in existing markets for the current fiscal year, after unveiling plans in 2011 to boost expansion to 25 new stores a year by 2015.
Hilco reportedly backed by major music labels to buy HMV Monday, 21st January 2013
Photo credit: My Retail Media
One week after HMV fell into administration it has been reported that multiple major music companies are now backing Hilco to buy the stricken retail chain.
HMV, once Britain’s most iconic retailer of music and film, found itself falling into administration at the beginning of January after final attempts at securing funding failed. The collapse of the company had been expected for some time, as sales of physical music media had continuously declined over the last few years in favour of digital distribution.
It’s thought Deloitte has already been approached by dozens of companies interested in purchasing the retail chain but, having apparently gained the support of several major music labels, Hilco has emerged as one of the favourites, having already purchased the Canadian branch of HMV in 2011.
With HMV being the last remaining major high street retailer of physical music media, it is not surprising that record labels are keen to preserve whatever they can of the company. Among the major music labels reported to be supporting Hilco are Universal Music, Warner Music and Sony.
HMV’s administrator, Deloitte hopes to preserve at least 50 and perhaps as many as 100 of HMV’s 223 current stores nationwide.
EBay enjoys 18% sales increase for Christmas 2012 Thursday, 17th January 2013
eBay's Christmas boutique. Photo credit: eBay Inc.
Leading online marketplace eBay has announced that it had a particularly successful Christmas period, reporting that sales increased by 18 per cent to reach a total of USD 3.99 billion.
The online retailer's marketplace division saw its earnings for the period increase by 16% compared to the previous year, to reach a total of USD 2.05 billion. However, it was the company’s PayPal division which saw the greatest increase. The division reported that its fourth quarter earnings had increased by 24 per cent to reach a total of USD 1.54 billion.
Ebay’s success during the Christmas period is symptomatic of the rapidly increasing dominance of online retail in general. The Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) issued a press release revealing that “It was a very strong finish to the year for the online retail sector, with the Index recording growth of 14 per cent for 2012 as a whole”. It has been forecasted that sales figures and revenue for online retail will continue to increase in 2013.
Immediately following the announcement of eBay’s Christmas period earnings, the company’s shares rose to USD 53.33, an increase of 1.2 per cent.
HMV names administrators with more than 4000 jobs at risk Tuesday, 15th January 2013
Photo credit: My-Retail Media
Music and entertainment retailer HMV last night confirmed it was calling in administrators after talks to secure funding came to an end.
Accounting firm Deloitte had been named as the administrator and said it will continue to keep the business running while it seeks a potential buyer, although reports emerged on Tuesday that HMV was no longer accepting or issuing gift cards or vouchers.
With 239 stores in the UK and Ireland and 4,350 members of staff, the announcement comes after HMV warned in December that it could breach its banking agreement in January.
In a statement to press, HMV said: "The board regrets to announce that it has been unable to reach a position where it feels able to continue to trade outside of insolvency protection, and in the circumstances therefore intends to file notice to appoint administrators to the company," HMV said.
Considered a high street stalwart, fans of the retailer took to Twitter on Tuesday morning using the hashtag #HMVmemories to recount their memorable experiences with the business.
HMV shares closed down 8.3 per cent to just above a penny a share on Monday, valuing the retailer at around £5 million.
PayPal adds more retailers to expansion Monday, 14th January 2013
PayPal’s move into retail outlets is proving successful after the company has exceeded its aim to sign-up 20 national retailers by the close of last year.
The bid to add 20 retailers since May 2012 has been topped, with 23 US retailers now accepting payment through PayPal at their check-outs. The system works by allowing customers to insert an “Access” card, mobile number or PIN into the payment terminal.
Don Kingsborough, vice president of retail services at PayPal, said that the system is “just technology that works and gets the most from your money.”
Having rejected rival Google’s approach with the NFC-based mobile wallet, Pay Pal have championed the mobile phone as the key to simplifying shopping.
Kingsborough stated "Some of the competition has stumbled with alternative technology offerings that don't address true customer pain points…we just want you to pay how you want; simple, fast and secure - with any method you want."
The 23 retailers represent 18,000 US stores nationwide, making Pay Pal’s move from being a solely internet-based method of payment a hit.
Virgin Megastore France prepares to declare itself insolvent Friday, 4th January 2013
Photo credit: Virgin Megastore France
Virgin Megastore’s French operation will next week declare itself insolvent as it becomes the latest casualty in a string of high street entertainment retailers that have fallen prey to the rise of online sales and downloads.
Virgin France’s books and music division employs around 1,000 people with 26 stores across the country. The company will next week unveil a plan to file for payments suspension at a meeting on 7 January, the first step towards a court-ordered company restructuring in France.
The chain, which was sold by Richard Branson to Lagardere in 2001 and later to Butler Capital Partners in 2007, is thought to have an estimate debt of EUR 22 million, according to a report by Reuters.
There was speculation that HMV could face a similar fate earlier this week after it emerged lenders had blocked a potential bid from US investment company Apollo Global Management, with hopes the retailer could survive without a takeover.
In recent years increased pricing competition online and a rise in illegal downloads has left music, books and entertainment retailers struggling to stay afloat on the high street. Both Borders and Virgin Media’s UK arm of high street Megastores, Zavvi Entertainment Group failed to keep up with online giants such as Amazon.
Strong support for HMV as it emerges suppliers could be liable for £150m Thursday, 27th December 2012
HMV has received strong support after it emerged that key suppliers could face a potential liability of £150 million if the troubled retailer collapses in the new year.
HMV's key supplier Universal is understood to have provided around £40 million of financial support for the company, as it battles to keep its place on the high street.
According to The Telegraph, Universal is liable for the rent on approximately 40 HMV stores after buying the retailer’s former owner EMI earlier this year. The company is now trying to support the retailer with a number of initiatives to ensure it does not fall into administration in the coming months.
The music and entertainment retailer warned at the start of December that it was likely to breach its banking covenant in January, and was involved in talks with banks over its future.
Details of Comet collapse to be laid bare Monday, 17th December 2012
The details around exactly what went wrong at Comet are expected to be laid bare for the first time on Monday.
Comet’s administrators Deloitte are thought to unveil the true context of the troubled electrical retailer’s finances after it collapsed with almost £200 million of losses in November this year.
According to the Sunday Telegraph, the report is set to show the backers of Comet’s parent company Hailey Acquisitions Limited (HAL) will receive payments of £49.7 million as a result of secured loans.
The paper went on to report that 85 per cent of trade suppliers who had goods on credit with Comet at the time of administration have claimed retention of title, leading to an estimated £40 million of payments to suppliers, while unsecured creditors, including HM Revenue & Customs, which is owed £26.1 million, will receive nothing.