Retail news round-up on May 2, 2014: Clarks rolls out iPads for feet measurement; Asda introduces click and collect to 250 stores; The Co-op considers legal action; N Brown plans 25 stores; Card Factory to sell £400m worth of shares.
Clarks rolls out iPad gauge to measure children’s feet
British shoe retailer has developed a new iPad Foot Gauge to measure children’s feet in-store, The Telegraph reported. The devices will be in all stores within the next couple of weeks, after a successful pilot last year. The iPad gauge, featuring animated Clarks’ characters, Jack Nano and Daisy, measures the child’s foot length via a footplate, before a trained fitter uses a digi-tape to measure the width. The results are relayed to the iPad application, which presents an instant shoe size guide to suggest the best fit.
Asda introduces same day Click & Collect in 250 UK outlets
Grocery giant Asda has rolled out same day Click and Collect services in 250 of its stores across Britain. Starting May 1, customers who order their grocery shopping online by 1pm will now be able to collect their order from one of the participating stores after 4pm. The service will be free to all customers for a limited time.
Co-op Bank considers suing JP Morgan Cazenove and KPMG over Britannia deal
The Co-op Bank might sue the investment bank JP Morgan Cazenove and its former auditor KPMG for their role in the lender’s disastrous 2009 merger with the Britannia building society. The Independent reported that the stricken lender has also not ruled out suing the former head of Britannia Neville Richardson and the former Co-op Group boss Peter Marks, who were both instrumental in the merger. “It’s a fiduciary duty [for the board] to pursue these things,” one source close to the bank said.
Sir Christopher Kelly’s landmark report into the debacle noted that KMPG’s analysis of Britannia’s commercial loan portfolio identified “no substantial arrears or impairment” and found the acquired society’s assets to be “high quality”. Sir Christopher also reported that JP Morgan Cazenove had described the commercial logic of the merger as “compelling”. Sources close to the Co-op Bank also said the decision on whether to take action against Marks and Richardson will depend on the costs of legal action and the likely scale of any compensation.
N Brown heads back to UK high street with plans for 25 outlets
Clothing retailer N Brown is returning to the high street with the aim to launch 25 shops across the UK, The Financial Times reported. The website and catalogue specialist has revealed that it will open bricks-and-mortar stores in ‘prime’ retail spots, such as London’s Oxford Street. The company’s chief executive Angela Spindler said the move would not cannibalise its existing online sales, as physical stores appear to encourage web customers to buy more.
Card Factory set to sell around £400m of shares in stock market flotation
UK greeting cards retailer Card Factory is to sell shares worth around £400m in its stock market flotation, Reuters reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter. Card Factory has priced its IPO at 250-300p a share, the sources said, which would garner an equity value of £764-954m after its market debut.
The offer consists of £90m of new shares being sold by the company and £310m being sold by existing shareholders, the sources said. European private equity owner Charterhouse is targeting a minimum of 40% of Card Factory’s shares to be listed, with an option to for up to 50% if there is strong demand.