Retail news round-up on October 30, 2015: Hamleys sold for £100m, Harrods slashes dividend pay-out to Qatari owners and consumer morale dips in October.
C.banner confirms Hamleys’ takeover for £100m
Chinese footwear company C.banner International Holdings has agreed to acquire toy retailer Hamleys from its French owner Ludendo Groupe for £100m in cash.
The funding for the deal will come through internal resources and bank financing, according to a statement. C.Banner has said it will expand the Hamleys brand into other department stores and remains in talks to partner with UK chain House of Fraser.
October retail sales grows at slowest rate in six months
UK retail sales growth decelerated to a six-month low in October.
Sales balance fell to +19 this month from a four-month high of +49 hit in September, the biggest one-month fall in the index since February, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The expected sales balance for November also fell sharply to +24 from the level of +51 which stores had expected for October.
“Growth in sales and orders for high street retailers remains resilient, but there has been a slight slowdown in the pace of that growth following a strong September,” said CBI director of economics Rain Newton-Smith.
Harrods reduces dividend pay to owner Qatar Holding
The Qatari owners of Harrods have been handed a dividend of £103m, a drop on the £150m paid last year, due to a fall in turnover.
According to the financial accounts, the department store reported £146.3m in pre-tax profits for the year to the end of January, compared with £140.4m.
Turnover during the period slumped to £769m from £794m.
British consumer morale falls in October
UK consumer confidence dipped to a four-month low in October, signalling that domestically driven growth is continuing to ease in the last quarter of the year.
The monthly consumer sentiment indicator slipped to +2 this month from +3 in September, according to GfK.
“Good news on the domestic front – with households lifted by wage growth, low interest rates and near-zero inflation – is being tempered by concerns about our ability to shrug off the global downturn,” said GfK analyst Joe Staton.