The US private equity owner of Poundworld has put the chain up for sale — the latest indication of trouble in the discount retail sector. TPG has hired accountancy firm Deloitte to find a buyer by the end of the month. Potential buyers were contacted about the process on Friday, according to a possible bidder. (Sky News, The Times £)
Thousands of British high street jobs may be under threat now that Poundworld’s US owner has ditched a rescue plan to bring the loss making discount chain back from the brink, opting to sell up instead (The Telegraph). The chain had been looking at closing about 100 of its 355 stores as part of a restructuring plan, as it battled a tough retail environment (The BBC).
Walmart shifts global strategy to battle Amazon, writes the FT. The US retail giant looks to invest in other companies, rather than operate stores overseas. Judith McKenna, who was promoted to chief executive of Walmart’s international unit in February, has been engineering Walmart’s flurry of foreign activity. “The question is whether Walmart can afford to test investor patience, and for how long,” writes the paper. (The Financial Times £).
Maggie Pagano in The Daily Mail looks at the threat to UK retail from Amazon. She writes: “Sainsbury’s and Asda are right to argue the dynamics of the industry have been turned upside-down, and that the old ways of measuring competition need rethinking not only because of online retailing but also shifting fashions in how we eat”. (The Daily Mail)
An equity analyst at RBC Capital Markets, has cited Asos and Zalando, the online fashion retailers, and Ocado, the grocery delivery group, as among “the most likely take-out candidates” for online retail giant Amazon. (The Times £).
Waitrose has axed more than 700 store managers’ roles in the past two years as part of a controversial restructuring designed to cut costs and improve efficiency. The John Lewis Partnership’s supermarket business has removed about 15% of senior positions from its stores. (The Times £).
Did Chubby Grocer Mark Price let his appetite run riot at Waitrose, asked The Times (£)? The upmarket grocery chain owned by the John Lewis Partnership has been through a controversial restructuring that has resulted in some managerial jobs being cut and its programme of new openings being reined in.
An investment group launching this week aims to nurture “disruptive challengers toppling lumbering giants” by pumping $300m of private capital into the growth and development of upstart consumer goods companies. The Craftory is co-founded by Elio Leoni-Sceti, a brand specialist and former chief executive of Iglo, the frozen foods group. (The Financial Times £)
Consumers remained “in belt-tightening mode” last month, with spending on the high street dropping by the sharpest amount in six years (The Times £). UK consumer spending is still declining despite the recent pick-up in wage growth, according to an analysis of credit and debit card payments that suggests the arrival of spring weather has not brought much let-up for Britain’s battered retail sector (The Financial Times £).
Poor weather and a squeeze on spending caused a slide in the number of people visiting shops last month (The BBC). The number of customer visits to shops has fallen by the greatest amount on record for March and April (The Times £).
Prices at fish and chip shops across the UK will have to increase to cover a rise in the cost of cod if Britain crashes out of the EU with no free trade deal, according to a new report. (Sky News)
A fledgling UK network of community or “honesty” fridges, which offer free food to those with limited means, is set to double in size in six months, thanks to funding from a major supermarket. The Community Fridge Network, run by environmental charity Hubbub, is to receive £45,000 from, it will be announced this week, allowing it to increase the total of 31 fridges to 58 by November. (The Guardian)
Holland & Barrett boss Peter Aldis tells The Telegraph: “It fills me with dread when I see good retail names going to the wall”. (The Telegraph £)
Mothercare, the children’s goods retailer, is set to tap investors for fresh funds and reshape its store portfolio as part of a restructuring plan to be unveiled at its full-year results this week. (The Financial Times £)