Retail news round-up on March 8, 2016: BHS's pension gap bigger than thought, Mulberry names new financial director and Burberry in search of mystery stakebuilder.
BHS holds talks with several suppliers to reassure them of future
BHS has held two crisis talks with top 200 suppliers to reassure them of the future of the business, Daily Mail reported.
The crunch talks will go some way to appeasing the fears of unpaid bills of those that hold major contracts with the department store.
A spokesman for Retail Acquisitions said the talks were ‘not a crisis meeting’ but more about ‘updating and reassuring suppliers about the CVA and outlining the future strategy’.
Meanwhile, court documents have shown that the department store’s pension scheme liabilities may be bigger than previously thought.
Its pension gap stands at £207m, but it is believed the current working deficit is much higher.
Mystery investor picks up close to 5% stake in Burberry
Burberry is seeking help from its financial advisers after a mystery shareholder built up a stake of about 5% in the luxury label, the Financial Times reported.
The brand is thought to have asked HSBC, which is listed as the custodian for the position, to disclose the name of its client after the board failed to determine the identity.
The fashion firm has called on existing bankers at Robey Warshaw and corporate broker Morgan Stanley to look into the matter.
Mulberry drafts in new financial director
Mulberry has hired a new financial director to replace Roger Mather who is to quit, Reuters reported.
Neil Ritchie will join the luxury fashion label on May 16 from vacuum cleaner maker Dyson, where he presently serves as global commercial financial director.
Mather will depart at the same time but will stay at the brand until June to help the transition.
Retail sales up 0.1% in February
Like-for-like retail sales inched up 0.1% last month, down from 2.6% in January, indicating economic slowdown at the beginning of 2016.
The total retail sales value increased by 1.1% year-on-year in February after shoppers became more reluctant in spending, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
BRC chief executive officer Helen Dickinson said the retail spending slowdown in February was noticeable across the board except for stationery and health and beauty which got a boost from Valentine's Day sales.