John Lewis hauls the sign for its new Westfield Stratford store into place. The store overlooks the Olympics site and in June, retailers and Westfield executives were in the final push to get everything ready for the September opening.
The last week in June proved calamitous as no fewer than four high street names fell into administration. On the Thursday, Homeform’s bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens direct businesses were closed down as the retailer went into administration. The only one of the Homeform brands to survive was Sharps Bedrooms, which was sold to an affiliate of Homeform’s owner Sun European Partners. The following day Habitat met a similar fate, when Home Retail Group confirmed it had bought parts of the business for £24.5m from Hilco, but that the rest had entered administration. The owner of Argos and Homebase bought the rights for the exclusive use of the Habitat brand – its design brands and intellectual property in the UK and Ireland – acquired the UK website, three of its London stores and certain brand support functions.
“There is no silver bullet. It’s an inch at a time”
Meanwhile Kantar figures revealed that Asda’s market share dropped 0.4% for the 12 weeks ending June 12 as the discounters stole a larger share of shopper spend. This led to speculation that its focus on quality may have come at the expense of what it should be best known for: its price message. Its main competitors Sainsbury’s, Morrisons’ and Tesco’s market share had remained relatively stable. In the same month, Asda’s chief operating officer Simon King left just six months after joining the business.
Among the positive stories of the month was Iceland, which defied the market to produce record profits. Pre-tax profits soared 14.8% to £155.5m – its sixth consecutive year of growth since founder Malcolm Walker returned to the helm of the 800 store business. Meanwhile Asos continued to outperform the market with its canny international strategy, clever use of mobile and exemplary online marketing tactics all contributing to a 41% rise in full-year profits to £28.6m.
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It was announced that Debenhams chief executive Rob Templeman was to become chairman of the BRC in October, a month after leaving the department store.
- BRC retail sales figures -0.6%