News roundup—27th November 2008

News roundup—27th November 2008

Deloitte was appointed administrators for Woolworths
as the retailer continues to search for a buyer. And as
The Telegraph reports, Deloitte has hired
restructuring specialist Hilco, which had made a bid for
Woolies, to help run the stores, which will remain open at
least through Christmas.

Also in administration: furniture retailer MFI, which
as The Guardian reports, “was one of the
pioneers of the mail order phenomenon”. The company had
been sold in a management buyout just last month in order to
stave off bankruptcy.

Kingfisher, the parent company of DIY retailer
B&Q and tools cataloguer/retailer Screwfix is
closing its third UK business, Trade Depot, incurring an
estimated £20 million in costs. Trade Depot had nine
stores as well as a direct business. The company also announced
its financials for the 13 weeks to 1st November: In the UK,
sales fell 6.1 per cent from the comparable period of last year,
to £1.02 billion; retail profit dropped 19.8 per cent, to
£36 million. Screwfix sales for the period rose 8.1
per cent, to £126 million, “driven by the continued
rollout of trade counters”.

Half-year sales at Findel rose 1 per cent, to
£294.7 million. But benchmark profit before tax fell 17.6
per cent, to £7.0 million. Within the home shopping division,
sales fell 1 per cent, to £171.3 million, though
Kitbag was singled out for a strong performance. Findel’s
other home shopping brands include I Want One of Those, The
Cotswold Co and Studio. Sales within the educational
division fell 1 percent as well, to £92.7 million. The
healthcare division performed well, however, with sales up 14
percent, to £30.6 million.

Like-for-like UK and Ireland sales at DSG
International for the 24 weeks ended 18th October fell 8
per cent, to £1.83 billion. Sales within the eCommerce
division, which consists of UK brand Dixons pan-European
brand Pixmania, increased 9 per cent, to £275.6
million. Overall the company posted a £29.8 million pretax
loss for the period, compared with £52.4 million profit last
year. DSG’s other brands include cataloguer/retailer PC
World and retailer Currys.

UK and European like-for-like sales at fashion retailer
French Connection were up 1 per cent for the 16 weeks
through October, “driven by a strong performance in
womenswear and at mail order business Toast,”
reports the Daily Mail.

John Lewis and Tesco are among the retailers
who plan to begin passing on the vat reduction to consumers
tomorrow, several days ahead of the 1st December
implementation date, The Times reports. Discount apparel
cataloguer M and M Direct began reducing its prices
accordingly last night, and online tyre retailer
Etyres has started applying the new vat rates as well.


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