News roundup—17th September 2009

News roundup—17th September 2009

Gross sales at department store retailer John
Lewis were £1.21 billion for the half-year to 1st
August, down 2.9 per cent from the same period of last year.
Operating profit fell a more significant 49 per cent, to
£20.9 million, but the company said that was
“significantly better than expected” and due in part
to a £3.4 million investment in “change and growth
initiatives”. Sales for the direct division rose 11.6
per cent, to £151.5 million. Online sales at sister company
Waitrose jumped 77 per cent, due largely to the
supermarket’s decision to drop delivery charges beginning in

Tools cataloguer/retailer Screwfix suffered
a 5.8-per cent decline in half-year sales, to £236 million
for the six months to 1st August. Total UK and Ireland half-year
sales for parent company Kingfisher, which also
owns DIY chain B&Q, rose 1.5 per cent, to
£2.4 billion. Retail profit for the division climbed 59.4
per cent, to £148 million, “supported by strong sales,
gross margin benefits, and further cost initiatives,”
according to a statement.

Turnover at fashion retailer French
Connection and its sister brand, cataloguer
Toast, rose 4 per cent for the first half of the
year, to £116.9 million for the six months to 31st July.
Toast, according to a statement, “has had another very
strong season”. Nonetheless, the company’s loss before tax
more than doubled, from £5.4 million a year ago to
£12.8 million, due in part to the weaker pound and increased
discounting, particularly in North America.

The 517 workers at Freeman Grattan Holdings’
Bradford call centre are expected to receive notice that they
will be made redundant effective 24th December, reports the
Telegraph & Argus. The closing of the
centre is part of the former Otto UK’s
previously announced plan to eliminate 1,000 of its 3,800

ASOS has added menswear to its outlet
microsite, The fashion etailer had launched
its discounted womenswear offer last year.

Congratulations, Clogau Gold: The jeweller
won the Wales Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Marketing award.


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