“Morrisons cuts its losses at M Local” writes The Times (£) this morning, after Morrisons agreed the sale of its M Local convenience estate to Greybull Capital. The Times calls the move “another break from an ill-fated strategy set in motion by Dalton Phillips”, adding that Morrisons had decided M Local would have required significant further investment in new sites, additional capital expenditure and lease commitments to reach profitability. (The Times £)
However, Greybull believes that it can reverse the £36m of operating losses and make the convenience store estate profitable within the first year of doing the deal. “This is not a basket case business”, Nathaniel Meyohas, Greybull partner said. (The Telegraph)
The Guardian’s Nils Pratley says Morrisons “needs to answer questions over convenience store sale”. “It would also be polite to explain how the deal is funded. Is Greybull putting up capital that is at risk? Or is this another example from retail-land of rescuers making themselves secured creditors of the business they are buying?” he writes. “It’s one thing for Potts to thank staff for their “hard work and dedication to M local”. But he could have expressed his gratitude by insisting that those staff who choose to transfer were told how their new employer is funding the deal.” (The Guardian)
Elsewhere, the new boss of embattled mobile payments group Monitise, Elizabeth Buse, has stood down after only six months amid ballooning losses and a tumbling share price. The troubled firm, which was once a technology darling, yesterday reported an annual loss of £227m – more than three times the £63m loss from the year before. (The Daily Mail)
In wider retail, the papers heavily cover the fractious Sports Direct AGM yesterday. “Sports Direct forced to deny it operates Dickensian practices,” writes The Daily Mail, while The Times (£) writes: “Some of the biggest institutional investors in Sports Direct have rounded on Mike Ashley, its founder, and its top management and revolted against the retailer’s pay policy”. A representative from the pressure group ShareAction claimed that workers are “jeopardising their health” for fear of being dismissed, says The Guardian.