Luxury apparel manufacturer/retailer Aquascutum has collapsed, appointing FRP Advisory as administrator. Approximately 250 jobs are at risk in the UK across Aquascutum’s factory in Corby, three high-street stores, seven outlet stores and 16 concessions. Famed for its iconic trench coat, Aquascutum was founded in 1851. It was acquired by Harold Tillman and Belinda Earl in 2009 and despite efforts to turn the business around, the losses continued to mount. Tillman sold Aquascutum’s sister company Jaeger earlier this week to investment vehicle Better Capital. The Financial Times notes that YGM Trading, the Hong Kong-based owner of the Aquascutum brand in Asia, is in talks to buy the global brand rights.
Tesco has announced plans to invest £1 billion to improve the customer experience for its UK shoppers after posting a 1 percent dip in UK trading profit to £2.5 billion last year. The initiative will see Tesco employ more staff in existing stores, initially in the fresh food departments; stores will be given a revamp to look “warmer”; there will be better promotions with more personalised offers; the Tesco brands will relaunch and product ranges improved; more relevant brand and marketing communications will be put in place and finally, Tesco will focus on multichannel integration, including the rollout of click and collect services. UK sales in the year ended 25th February were up 6.2 percent to £47.4 million.
In related news, Tesco is now allowing third parties to sell through its website. So far the Tesco Direct website lists only Crocus and Maplin on its sellers page, but says there are plans to add more soon.
Following its success in France, private-sales club BrandAlley has announced plans to bring its Outlet offering to a wider UK audience. In contrast to the flash-sales model, the Outlet is a “permanent” online model. A spokeswoman explained, “BrandAlley sales usually last only a day or two--or until they have sold out--but with Outlet there is constant stock available all the time”. The move will not change BrandAlley’s main sales strategy, which will continue to focus on flash sales, but “it is an added extra that customers have asked for,” she added. The Outlet was soft-launched in the UK at the start of the year and has been successful so far. A formal launch is expected soon.
In more secret-sales news, hot on the heels of the Zulily’s UK debut, another mother and baby flash-sales website has launched in the UK. New entrant Casabu has partnered with myfamilyclub.co.uk, a website specialising in money-saving ideas for families, to promote the launch.
The Independent writes that Lord Wolfson, the chief executive of Next, took a 15 percent pay cut last year. He took home £1.49 million.
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