Retail news round-up on January 31, 2014: Hobbs’ owner 3i writes down investment value by 40%, John Lewis Partnership plans switch to hybrid salary pension scheme, UK consumer confidence surges in January, Amazon turnover jumps 20% in fourth quarter
Hobbs’ owner 3i writes down investment value by 40% over Christmas ‘trading weakness’
Fashion retailer Hobbs’ private equity owner 3i has written down the value of its investment by 40% following ‘tough trading’ in the final quarter of 2013, The Guardian reported. The latest revaluation by the British investment firm means that the chain is not likely to join the parade of companies looking to join the stock market in spite of being in 3i’s hands since 2004. 3i’s 47% stake in Hobbs was worth £14m less than in September 2013 when it was valued at £35m.
John Lewis Partnership plans switch to hybrid salary pension scheme
The John Lewis Partnership is looking to cut back its gold-plated pension scheme. The organisation is planning to scrap its final salary pension scheme and move to a defined benefit and contribution hybrid scheme. It give JLP staff a ‘reduced accrual rate for future service’ and staff will have to wait five years, instead of three, to join. A collection of final proposals are expected to be put to a vote by the end of the year.
UK consumer confidence surges in January
According to GfK’s UK Consumer Confidence Index, consumer morale in Britain increased in January to -7, its highest level since 2007, from -13 in December. The recovery is largely due to a rebound in the housing and the consumer sector. GfK’s survey showed growths across all of its measures of confidence, including a strong boost in consumer expectations for the economic situation over the next 12 months.
Amazon turnover jumps 20% in fourth quarter
Amazon recorded 20% year-on-year growth in revenues during the fourth quarter of 2013 to $25.59bn. In the final three months of 2013, the world’s biggest online retailer’s net earnings soared to $239m or $0.51 per share from $97m or $0.21 per share in the same period a year ago. However, the company still missed Wall Street estimates, with shares plunging. Amazon forecasts revenue of between $18.2bn and $19.9bn for the current quarter.