SecretSales.com, the UK-based private-sales club, has secured an investment of £6.3 million from a syndicate of investors. The investment round was led by Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures, Pentech Ventures and OCP Innovation and included Connect Ventures, Leoni Sceti Group and the management team. Following the deal, cofounders Michael and Silvia Cody step down from their active roles within the company but remain shareholders. Chief executive Nish Kukadia and buying director Sach Kukadia are joined on the board by fellow shareholder Sergio Dias, formerly chief executive of Germany-based Brands4friends.de, as executive chairman.
Confectionery retailer Thorntons saw revenues decline 2.6 percent from £133.5 million to £130 million in the 28 weeks ended 7th January. Pretax profit plunged 63 percent from £8.4 million to £3.1 million during the period. The company blames discounting for the negative impact on revenues and margins. Nevertheless, Thorntons’ chief executive Jonathan Hart, said the company had “made good progress” in implementing its turnaround strategy “while weathering a difficult market”. The store closure programme is “on track” with 20 stores closed during the period.
To further grow the business and return it to profitability, Thorntons is investing in a new ecommerce website for launch this spring.
Catalogue group Freemans Grattan Holdings has awarded its £55 million UK contact centre services contract to Serco. Under the 10-year agreement, Serco will service all of FGH's UK brands, including Grattan, Freemans, Oli, Kaleidoscope, Look Again, Bonprix, Curvissa and Witt International, managing seven million customer contacts every year. The Sheffield-based contact centre will manage customer enquiries, inbound and outbound sales, credit applications, payments, order processing, mail and email handling. The new partnership will see all 400 existing members of staff transfer to Serco, with their terms and conditions protected.
Thanks to “significant growth” in its ecommerce division, Sports Direct is confident of hitting its top EBITDA target of £225 million for the full year. Total group sales for the 13 weeks ending 22nd January at the sportswear retailer were up 9.1 percent to £453.8 million, while gross profit increased 10.2 percent to £184.4 million.
In a bid to become truly multichannel, toy retailer The Entertainer is integrating its stores, supply chain and ecommerce operation. It chose the Retail Suite from retail specialists Itim, alongside Hybris and Neoworks, to build a multichannel ecommerce engine, master product catalogue, real-time stock management, multichannel stock allocation and replenishment, sophisticated order routing and management.The Entertainer will also extend its current click & collect offer, with the possibility of full despatch from store, allowing optimum use of capacity and stock.
The Independent reports that apparel group Aurora Fashions has appointed accountancy firm BDO to help sell its stake in luxury womenswear label Bastyan.
Only one bidder remains in the running for Peacocks, reports the Scotsman.
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