Retail news round-up on April 25, 2014: Boots launches European website, B&M to refinance £585m of loans before IPO, Burberry launches on Alibaba, Scotmid operating profits plunges, Labour eyes cutting ties with Co-op Bank and more.
Boots launches European website aimed at ex-pats
Boots has launched its European website as it aims to take sales from British Boots fans located overseas.
The health and beauty retailer opened its www.international.boots.com transactional website yesterday, selling a range of products aimed specifically at Brits overseas. The website is in English and it uses sterling as its currency.
B&M due to refinance £585m of loans ahead of IPO
UK discount retailer B&M is due to refinance its £585m of debt put in place to support its buyout last year prior to potential stock market flotation, Reuters reported. “The refinancing will pave the way for an IPO,” a banking sources said.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs are likely to lead the refinancing and a lender meeting is due to happen today when more details of the deal will emerge, the source added.
Labour Party eyes severing links with Co-op Bank
The Labour Party is considering breaking its century long link with the struggling Co-operative Bank.
The party has confirmed it is “reviewing its financial arrangements”, insisting it is for commercial reasons.
Labour is looking to move loans worth more than £1m to the trade union-owned Unity Trust Bank, according to reports. The Co-op Bank is in the process of selling its 27% stake in the Unity Trust Bank.
The move could pave the way for Labour to move all its current account facilities to the same bank.
Scotmid operating profits plunge 25% last year
Scotland’s largest independent retail co-operative Scotmid recorded a 25% dip in its operating profits to £4.5m in 2013, blaming the continuing consumer squeeze, Herald Scotland reported. The group’s undisclosed like-for-like sales performance was “ahead of the market”, according to the business, which said it had escaped the brand damage fall-out from the woes of the Cooperative Group.
Burberry opens online store on Alibaba shopping site in China
Burberry has opened a virtual storefront on an Alibaba group shopping site to target Chinese luxury shoppers, the Wall Street Journal reported. Burberry is determined to expand in China, according to people who are familiar with the company’s plans.
Game Retail paid £9m in interest to Capitex Holdings in 2013
Game Retail paid £9m in interest to Capitex Holdings, the vehicle supported by US hedge fund Elliott Advisors, in 2013, The Financial Times reported. This was up from £2.6m the previously. In the year to July 27, 2013, the video game retailer’s sales surged almost five fold. The company moved from an underlying loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £7.9m to EBITDA of £14.9m last year. The loan also gave Capitex a charge over Game’s freehold property and assets. One person close to the situation said the structure reflected the risks associated with the task of turning round Game, when it was acquired out of administration.