Retail news round-up on February 3, 2014: B&M and DFS step up plans to float, Twitter mulls commerce venture, Waterstones’ profits narrow and House of Fraser infringes Jack Wills’ copyright
B&M Bargains steps up plans to float
B&M Retail is gearing up to float on the stock market this year in a public debut that could value the Liverpool-based discount retailer at around £2bn, The Sunday Times reported. Former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy could return to stock market as chairman of B&M. The retailer’s private equity owners CDR has reportedly hired Lazard to advise on the float and is interviewing further banks this week.
Twitter mulls ‘Twitter Commerce’ online retail venture
Twitter is considering a new online retail venture called ‘Twitter Commerce’ that will enable the social networking giant to sell goods directly via the site, according to leaked documents, The Telegraph reported. According to the technology blog Re/code, the transactional service is a partnership with a US e-commerce site called Fancy. Mock-ups of the ecommerce proposal show how Twitter users could buy from seeing a tweet with a picture of a product and a button that says ‘buy with Fancy’.
Waterstones sales down 3% as pre-tax losses narrow
Waterstones trimmed its losses by more than a third for the year to April 27, 2013, as boss James Daunt battled to turn round the retailer, The Sunday Times reported. Pre-tax losses at the UK’s biggest high street book retailer plunged to £23.1m from £37.3m last year. Watersones’ sales fell 2.9% to £398.5m.
DFS appoints UBS to look at options for £1bn IPO
The UK’s second-biggest furniture retailer DFS has tapped bankers to gear up for a £1bn stock market flotation later this year, Sky News reported. Advent International, the private equity firm which owns DFS, has hired UBS to examine options for its investment, the most likely of which involve a return to the London stock market. A flotation looks unlikely until at least the third quarter of this year, with DFS’s financial year ending in July. A source close to the company confirmed that it had started exploring the move.
House of Fraser and Jack Wills battle over trademark logo infringement
Department store retailer House of Fraser has been found to have infringed upmarket clothing brand Jack Wills’ trademark, The Independent reported. Jack Wills took House of Fraser to court after bosses spotted that a pigeon logo used on House of Fraser clothes on its Linea line was similar to its famous pheasant mark.
The judge agreed with Jack Wills that the pigeon logo wearing a waistcoat, top hat and bow tie was too similar to its pheasant wearing a top hat and cane. Justice Arnold told the court that House of Fraser’s use of such a similar logo took unfair advantage of Jack Wills’ trademark in an attempt to enhance its own brand. House of Fraser is looking at an appeal.