Retail round-up on June 20, 2016: Arcadia warned BHS pensions trustee, Debenhams to unveil flat sales and Tesco's second sales rise.
BHS’s pension trustees were warned in 2009 by Arcadia that the retailer was “being stripped to the bone” and that it did not have sufficient cash to fill an extensive pension scheme deficit.
The disclosure has been exposed in the minutes of meetings between BHS’s pension trustees and Arcadia, although Sir Philip Green’s protestations last week that the pension trustees had been “asleep at the wheel”.
During a long six-hour grilling with regards to the BHS collapse, Green told MPs “if somebody had come to us from the trustees and said 'we want £10m' I think it would have been a five-minute debate. It did not happen. For whatever reason, it did not happen.”
Chris Martin, the head of BHS’s pension trustees, has stated that he believes a feasible proposal will cost the Topshop tycoon more than £110m, based on an earlier offer known as 'Project Thor’.
Sir Philip Green becomes owner of an upgraded £46m private jet
Sir Philip Green is known to have acknowledged a delivery of a new private jet, adding a £46m Gulfstream G650ER to a transport collection that comprises a speedboat, a helicopter and three yachts.
Green – who last week made his presence before MPs to be questioned on his part in the demise of BHS, which has put 11,000 jobs at risk – is now the owner of an upgraded jet that comes with handcrafted seats and divans, widescreen TVs and porcelain dinnerware as standard, the Guardian reported.
Termed as Gulfstream’s “holy grail of private jets”, the original G650 was the largest and quickest of the firm’s business jets. The ER is the updated version, and has costs $66.5m (£46m).
Debenhams to unveil its flat sales after slow trading
Department store chain Debenhams is all set to disclose its stagnant sales when it updates the market this week. The retailer speculates like-for-like sales to remain flat for the third quarter despite pressure from clothes price deflation and sliding footfall at shopping centres.
According to James Collins, analyst of Stifel, the company can even observe a sales fall as it takes a hit from the “fire sales” at stricken retailer BHS.
Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp, will step down from his role on June 24 after five years at the helm. Debenhams, which has 240 stores across 27 countries, posted a solid set of half-year results in April, with a 5.5% rise in group pre-tax profits to £93.8m for the six months to February 27.
Tesco’s chief to announce second sales rise
Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis is anticipated to reveal that sales are rising despite tough competition and food price deflation during the first-quarter results.
According to Shore Capital head of research Clive Black, Tesco’s like-for-like sales will have increased by 0.5% over the three months to the end of May.
It will be the first time Tesco has had back-to-back increases in more than three years.
Black said: “On an underlying level, I expect them to report good progress, albeit offset by price cutting and price deflation. It is a case of them confirming that they are making further steady progress.”