Retail news round-up: Next and AB Foods boosted by broker upgrades, iCandy falls into administration and Matchless launches first London store.

Next and AB Foods boosted by broker upgrades

Next and Primark-owner Associated British Foods were boosted by broker upgrades, The Financial Times reports.

The fashion retailer's share value increased 1.7% to £44.01 as Investec upgraded its stance to “buy” from “hold”.

An Investec spokesperson said: “Investors have been too preoccupied by Next’s short-term trading and have missed its active estate management.

“The well-invested and flexible store estate should translate to a sustainable profit margin even if retail like-for-like sales continue to fall.”

AB Foods share value increased 2.4% to £28.77 after Citigroup added the Primark owner to its “buy” list.

A Citigroup analyst said: “The downgrade cycle seems to be over and with double-digit earnings growth set to return, Primark will re-establish itself as a resilient retailer with a proven international business and an expansion programme, with room to expand”.

iCandy goes into administration

iCandy has appointed administrators from FRP Advisory, resulting in 22 job losses and four store closures, The Times reports.

The greetings card company’s remaining 10 outlets employing 79 people will continue to trade till a buyer is sought.

Sources close to the company said that founder of iCandy Clinton Lewin was the biggest unsecured creditor with liabilities of around £700,000.

Total unsecured liabilities are expected to be more than £2m.

Mr Lewin was unavailable for comment.

Matchless launches first store in London

Matchless, the motorcycle-inspired clothing brand, has opened its first store in London, Drapers reports.

The store is located in Mayfair and comprises menswear and womenswear with shoes and accessories.

The range includes leather, suede and luxury shearling outerwear, and also features garments made with ballistic nylon, triple-treated cotton, Kevlar and antique finishes.

Matchless managing director Michele Malenotti said: “It was always part of our plan to open in London.

“We are confident this will follow with the same success as the Matchless stores in Los Angeles, Treviso Italy and Sylt in Germany.”