Retail sales at apparel and homewares retailer/cataloguer Next were down 3.9 percent in the first quarter, while its Directory arm saw a growth of 11.8 percent. Thanks to the performance in its ecommerce and mail order division, total Next brand sales were up 1.4 percent in the 13 weeks to 28th April.
At Home Retail Group, the parent company of Argos and Homebase, sales declined 6 percent to £5.49 billion in the last financial year. Benchmark operating profit slumped 61 percent to £98 million and the company confirmed it will not be paying shareholders a final dividend this year. Breaking the figures down further, Argos suffered a 7.7 percent sales decline during the year to £3.87 billion. To develop its multichannel capabilities, Argos has announced it will launch new apps for tablet devices and revamp its ecommerce website in time for Christmas 2012.
Total revenue at cosmetics marketer Avon dipped 2 percent to $2.6 billion in the first quarter of the year, with gross margin down 310 basis points on the same quarter last year. Avon blamed cost pressures, such as the price of commodities and labour, as well as the negative impact from foreign exchange and product mix. New chief executive Sheri McCoy is now leading a restructuring process to reduce costs and improve efficiencies.
Speculation is rife that Julia Reynolds is planning to leave Blacks Leisure Group where she is currently chief executive. The Independent has more on the story.
Data analytics firm Teradata and its subsidiary Aprimo are to acquire Munich-based eCircle, a cloud-based provider of digital marketing services.
Stamp specialist Stanley Gibbons has launched its Gibbons Stamp Monthly magazine as an iPhone and iPad app. A second app, also on the Apple platform, is due to launch later this month, with the aim of providing collectors easier and greater access to the company’s inventory including access to auction and product brochures from Stanley Gibbons companies.
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