News roundup—12th January 2009

News roundup—12th January 2009

Some good news from a major cataloguer: For the six weeks to
2nd January, sales at Shop Direct Group were up 9 per cent
from the previous year. Web sales for the company, whose flagship
brand is Littlewoods Direct, soared 44 per cent during the
same period. The company credits its late deadline for Christmas
delivery 4pm on 23rd December-for much of its success.

A company not expected to report good financial news this
week is electricals reseller DSG International, whose
brands include retailer/cataloguer PC World, retail chain
Currys, and etailer Dixons. The Times speaks with chief exec John

A Parliamentary committee will be reviewing so-called prepack
administrations, in which a buyer is lined up for a company even
before it goes into administration. According to The Independent, some observers contend
that businesses use prepacks to avoid paying off their debts.
Whittards of Chelsea and USC are among the
retailers that were recently rescued via a prepack

“The number of companies releasing profit warnings rose
by 17 per cent to 449 last year, the highest yearly figure since
2001,” The Independent reports.

A co-founder of the Crocus nursery catalogue is one of
six gardening experts interviewed by The Times about their gardening mistakes
and plans for the coming year.

Meanwhile, a gardening writer for The Times sings the praises of cataloguers
Seeds of Italy and The Organic Gardening

Scotland on Sunday reports on a niche
online marketer that’s doing well in the current economy:
Approved Foods, which sells groceries that are past
their “best by” date. is cited by The Times as an example of a small retailer
that is managing to thrive online.


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