News roundup—19th June 2009

News roundup—19th June 2009

Littlewoods Direct will become Very on 5th July.
The core Littlewoods brand, which allows for weekly payments,
will remain the same, however. The site will include
social-networking features and editorial content. And in
addition to mailing a 350-plus-page catalogue twice a year,
Very will send out a monthly magazine to customers. The company
has started notifying customers of the rebranding via direct
mail and email.

Arcandor is renewing its efforts to obtain aid from the
German government, reports Financial Times, “to resolve a
funding crisis at its mail-order unit Primondo that has
thrown the group’s aim of reemerging from creditor protection
into jeopardy”. The Primondo speciality catalogue unit is
one of the Arcandor divisions that has not yet filed for
insolvency. Meanwhile, fellow German multititle mailer Otto
Group has reiterated its interest in acquiring Primondo, as
well as Arcandor’s Karstadt sporting goods stores,
according to The Guardian.

Speaking of Otto, the company reported a
currency-adjusted rise in revenue of 1.9 per cent for the fiscal
year ended 28th February, to €10.11 billion (£8.57
billion). The company’s UK business, Freemans Grattan
Holdings, didn’t fare as well, however: Adjusted for
currency, its sales fell 14.8 per cent, but as Otto noted in its
statement, “restructuring measures are already under way to
remedy the situation”. In addition to shutting its Montage catalogue,
Freemans Grattan is making 1,000 of its 3,800 workers

Postal workers in London and Edinburgh who are members of the
Communication Workers Union (CWU) are striking today, according
to The Guardian, and staff in other parts of
Scotland will strike tomorrow. The CWU and Royal Mail continue
to be in disagreement regarding job cuts and modernisation.

Argos, Marks & Spencer, and French Connection are
among the merchants cited in a Daily Mail article about steep discounting
on the high street.

Thompson & Morgan was rated the best mail order/online
retailer of gardening products by the readers of BBC
Gardeners’ World.
According to Glee 2009, Crocus came in second,
followed by Suttons, J Parker, and Dobbies.

The Times talks to Liz Earle, of the Liz
Early Beauty Co, about her business and personal travels.


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