News roundup—14th January 2009

News roundup—14th January 2009

In a bid to help small and midsize businesses and to
encourage banks to start lending again, the government announced
that it will guarantee up to £20 billion in bank loans,
Bloomberg reports.

Sales at Arcandor’s Primondo catalogue group
for the final three months of 2008 were €1.22 billion, up a
scant 0.1 per cent from the previous year. “In December
2008, Primondo saw a significant improvement in sales which more
than compensated for the weaker months of October and
November,” the Germany-based company reported. The company
launched its Madeleine fashion catalogue in the UK during
the quarter; its other UK titles include Peter Hahn and

More drama at Ideal Shopping Direct: Founders Paul
Wright and Val Kaye have asked the company to convene a general
meeting to remove chairman Terry Donovan and directors Susan
Ellis and David Williams and have Wright and Kaye replace them on
the board. Wright and Kaye had resigned from the TV-shopping and
eCommerce company in 2007, though they still hold a significant
number of shares. Ideal has warned that it will post a loss of
roughly £4 million for fiscal 2008 on a 3 per cent decline in

Amid all the to-do about Christmas 2008 being the high
street’s worst in at least 14 years, according to the British
Retail Consortium, one encouraging fact is being overlooked: As reports, December’s web sales
grew 30 per cent. cofounder Sarah Curran submits to
The Times’ “fashionista


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