News roundup—24th April 2008

News roundup—24th April 2008

PPR’s Redcats Group, which includes
catalogues in continental Europe, the UK and the US reported a
4.4 per cent decline in comparable first-quarter sales, to
€916 million. The decline was “in line with
expectations”, according to a statement, with
“leading brands” such as La Redoute
described as “resilient”. Empire Stores, the
UK “big book” which is being discontinued once its
sale to Littlewoods is finalised, was written off as a
€36 million discontinued operation. Total comparable
first-quarter revenue for the company, which also includes
luxury brands Gucci, Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent, rose
4.1 per cent.

Flying Brands reported a year-on-year sales
decline of 1 per cent for the 16 weeks ended 18th April. Sales
in the gifts division, which consists of Flying Flowers
and Greetings Direct, fell 10 per cent, with Mother’s Day
sales down 16 per cent. Sales within the entertainment division,
which includes Listen2, fell 3 per cent. The garden
division, which includes Gardening Direct and Sarah
Raven’s Kitchen & Garden, was a bright spot, with sales up
4 per cent.

Arcandor, the German conglomerate that includes the
Primondo mail order division, extended CEO Thomas
Middelhoff’s contract another year, through to the end of 2009,
reports Associated Press. Titles within the
Primondo group include Quelle, Elegance and Peter
Hahn. The company also announced that Primondo enjoyed
double-digit percentage sales growth during the fiscal second
quarter ended 31st March, with a “significant”
increase in profit.

If you attend the RHS Chelsea Flower Show next month, keep an
eye out for Avon Bulbs. The mail order nursery is hoping
to win its 20th gold award, owner Chris Ireland-Jones tells
the Chard & Ilminster News.

The Northeast Journal has a brief profile
of Hotel Chocolat, which credits the company’s
rebranding from ChocExpress in 2003 with much of its growth to
a £40 million business.


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