News roundup—17th July 2008

News roundup—17th July 2008

Germany-based media giant Bertelsmann is selling some
of its DirectGroup book clubs including UK operation BCA.
When new chief executive Hartmut Ostrowski took office in
December, reports Thomson, he said that only units that post
organic growth will remain in the company, while other options
will be found for loss-making businesses. Bertelsmann divested its North American operations
earlier this month.

A strong performance in its international and Direct
businesses helped maternity and nursery products retailer
Mothercare reports a 21 per cent sales rise in the
first-quarter. Direct in Home sales surged 78 per cent, while
international franchise sales were up 50 per cent, or up 9
per cent on a like-for-like basis, reports Reuters.

Confectioner Thorntons says it wants to rely less on
Christmas and Easter and will start selling more ice-cream to
even out its seasonal peaks and troughs. It also said it wants to
attract “younger and more affluent customers”, writes

BusinessZone profiles Britain’s original
domestic goddess Jane Asher who launched her business in
1989 and asks her advice on surviving a recession. Asher now
sells her cakes throughout the UK via mail order, which has
also helped promote her other business, Sugarcraft, a
kitchenware and cake-making utensils business.

RichFX, a provider of rich-media web applications has
been acquired by eCommerce software provider
ChannelAdvisor. According to BizJournals, ChannelAdvisor paid $3 million
(£1.5 million) for the bankrupt New York-based RichFX.


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