News roundup—6th January 2009

News roundup—6th January 2009

Total year-on-year sales at Next for the 21 weeks to
24th December were down 1.9 per cent from 2007. The fashion and
home good merchant’s Directory catalogue and eCommerce division
offered a glimmer of good news: Its sales were up 1.1 per cent
from the previous year. Total retail sales were down 3 per cent
for the period, however, and like-for-like store sales tumbled by
7 per cent. As for fiscal 2009, “we are again budgeting very
conservatively, with negative like-for-like sales for the full
year, and we believe the first half will be particularly

Ecommerce was also a bright spot for department store chain
Debenhams. Year-on-year online sales to 3rd January were
up 37.4 per cent on a 39.2 per cent rise in website visitors. But
for the 18 weeks ended 3rd January, total sales were down 3.5
per cent from the previous year.

Marks & Spencer will cut more than 1,000 jobs this week,
according to The Times, including several hundred
head-office and support positions. The retailer is expected to
report dismal figures when it issues its third-quarter
financials tomorrow.

Book Club Associates (BCA), which is reportedly the UK’s
largest mail order bookseller, is being acquired by German firm
Aurelius from fellow German business Bertelsmann,
reports the Swindon Business News. BCA’s brands include
Books Direct and Books for Children.

Pandora Books, a direct seller of books to schools, has
acquired competitor Badger Publishing. Pandora was acquired by Key Capital Partners last


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