German cataloguer Neckermann said it will file for insolvency after its private-equity owner refused to provide further financing to fund its turnaround plans. In April, Neckermann announced plans to shed some 1,380 jobs in a restructure to focus on ecommerce sales. However, last week Neckermann said it did not have the funds to pay staff the compensation they were seeking for the redundancies. According to reports, Sun Capital said it had been willing to provide €25 million in financing, but that the plan presented by the management would have needed €60 million and it decided to withdraw investment.
At another German retailer Karstadt, some 2,000 jobs are on the line as the company announces its restructuring. The cuts are to be made primarily through early retirements, letting temporary contracts end and voluntary exits, but still see the company shed almost 10 percent of its workforce by 2014. Karstadt says challenging market conditions and the euro crisis have forced it to simplify its structures and processes, in order for it to be efficient in the long term. Karstadt was rescued from bankruptcy in 2010.
David Wild, Halfords' chief executive officer, is leaving the business after the board deemed a change of leadership was needed to enable to “maximise the opportunities that lie ahead”. The news comes as the auto accessories retailer posted a weak first quarter, like-for-like retail sales were down 7.5 percent during the 13 weeks to 29th June. A search for a new chief exec has begun.
Group revenue at sporting goods retailer Sports Direct was up 13 percent to £1.81 billion in the 52 weeks to 29th April. Online sales were particularly strong in the period, up 82 percent, and now represent 11.6 percent of total sports retail sales. Pretax earnings (EBITDA) including the recently acquired “premium lifestyle” division comprising USC, Cruise and Flannels, was £236 million—up 12 percent on last year. To further accommodate its growing online division, Sports Direct is constructing an additional 1 million square-feet of warehousing at its Shirebrook headquarters.
Kingfisher, the parent company of B&Q and Screwfix saw total sales in UK & Ireland rise 5 percent in the 10 weeks to 7th July. B&Q total sales were up 4.9 percent, while Screwfix grew by 7.2 percent, driven by new ranges and the continued roll out of new outlets.
At nursery and maternity products retailer Mothercare, total group sales declined 4.4 percent in the first quarter, with direct sales down 7.1 percent. Mothercare hopes that a recent upgrade to a new web platform will lead to an increase in online sales.
Ethel Austin, the discount fashion retailer, has collapsed into administration for the fourth time, putting 500 jobs in jeopardy, writes the Independent.
Whittard of Chelsea, the tea, coffee and hot chocolate retailer, has signed a two-year agreement with the Royal Albert Hall. The partnership sees Whittard of Chelsea create a selection of exclusive blends for the Royal Albert Hall, which will be available to purchase in Whittard stores and online as well as at the venue’s bar, café and retail outlet.
Another partnership, this time between Laura Ashley and Uniqlo, has helped the former’s profits rocket to £18.8 million, notes the Guardian.
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