Marks & Spencer is making a return to France with a programme of store openings and an online retail presence. Marks & Spencer’s first transactional international website will launch towards the end of 2011, in French and trading in euros. The retailer will also open a store at the Champs-Elysées in the heart of Paris. It had initially exited the French market in 2011.
Home shopping group FGH (Freemans Grattan Holdings) has launched Curvissa, a new clothing brand selling plus-size women’s apparel. The brand trades online at curvissa.co.uk and targets women aged 30 to 55 years. The launch is supported by PR and social-media activity. The company’s other brands include Kaleidoscope, Grattan and Bon Prix.Greeting-cards etailer Moonpig is believed to have received approaches for the business. The Telegraph writes that it is considering bids from private equity firms as well as trade buyers.
Amazon customers can now use their login credentials to check out at other retail websites. The online behemoth has launched Checkout by Amazon, which appears to be similar to Google Checkout or Paypal. The service allows UK customers to shop through websites offering Checkout by Amazon using their Amazon accounts and preferred delivery address.
Feather & Black, which launched a Kids furniture catalogue in 2010, has further expanded its children’s range with the launch of nightwear.
Fashion retailer Jaeger has opened up its online shop to seven new markets including Norway, Greece, Poland, Lithuania, Hong Kong, Mauritius, and Singapore. The site now delivers to 36 countries and customers can shop using pounds, euros or US dollars.
Total group sales at Laura Ashley rose 6.2 percent to £285 million in the 52 weeks to 29th January 2011. In the UK, retail sales were up 5.3 percent to £256.6 million, with like-for-likes up 5.6 percent during the period. Pretax profit, excluding exceptional gains, almost doubled to £19.3 million, compared with £10.1 million last year. The company’s ecommerce channel now accounts for 12.5 percent of UK retail sales, that’s up from 9 percent last year.
Mothercare’s overseas performance is boosting the company’s
overall sales. In a trading statement for the full year, the company
said UK sales were flat but group sales were up 3.6 percent largely
thanks to a rapid growth in its international business. It now has 894
overseas stores, including 62 in India, and is looking to open “at
least 150 new overseas stores” in the current financial year. The Independent has more on Mothercare’s and Laura Ashley’s international expansion plans.
Electricals retailer Dixons warned that profit for the year would be £85 million—around £20 million lower than expected. The Telegraph writes that following the announcement, shares in the company fell more than 18 percent, and “are now trading below the level of the emergency 14p-a-share cash call carried out in 2009”.
The house where the Party Pieces business was set up by Michael and Carole Middleton is up for auction with a tag of £460,000, reports the Telegraph.
Horticulture Week reports that Peter McDermott, director of Ideal Shopping Direct-owned Lead the Good Life, is leaving the business. The company is due to release its financial results for fiscal 2010 next week.
Tesco has moved into yet another product line—used cars. Andrew Higginson, chief executive of retailing services at Tesco, told the Guardian that by “supplying directly to customers, there is no middle man, no expensive showroom and no salespeople on commission”. The article also says that Tesco will buy the cars from rental firms and corporate fleet suppliers and they will typically have had one previous owner.
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