Retail news round-up on January 13, 2014: Morrisons considering sale of upto 10% of properties; Asos expects 35% sales growth over Christmas; Wal-Mart International’s CFO Cathy Smith to depart; World’s largest music shop shuts down as HMV moves out of 150 Oxford Street
Morrisons considering sale up to 10% of properties
Supermarket chain Morrisons is reported to be looking at divesting up to 10% of its properties to appease shareholders after poor Christmas trading, The Guardian reported. Pressure from shareholders has forced the company to explore hiving off and leasing back some of its £9bn property portfolio. Selling off just a tenth of its freehold assets may raise up to £800m, with a huge chunk potentially returned to shareholders in dividends. Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips will be reporting on plans in March, after carrying out a review.
Meanwhile, the retailer launched a price-cuts campaign on the same day that it delivered its first online grocery orders in Warwickshire. It is hoping that its move to online will help it catch up with rivals. A top 20 investor in Morrisons has urged the retailer to fight back against discounters Aldi and LIdl while a top 10 shareholder in Tesco said the UK’s largest retailer must introduce price-cuts to compete, the Teleggraph reported.
Asos expects 35% sales growth over Christmas
Fashion etailer Asos is tipped for a 35% rise over the golden quarter. The Sunday Times reported. As consumers turned on to festive jumpers and party dresses, turnover is forecast to have increased to £335m between September and December, compared with £249m last time.
Walmart International’s CFO Cathy Smith to depart
Walmart International said that its chief financial officer (CFO) Cathy Smith will depart at the end of the month to take up a ‘leadership position’ at another unnamed company. Smith also heads the international division’s strategy team and has been with the retailer since 2010. Walmart International chief executive and president David Cheesewright said Brett Biggs, currently CFO of Walmart US, is slated to succeed Smith, according to Reuters. Biggs is also executive vice president for Walmart US.
World’s largest music shop shuts down as HMV moves out of 150 Oxford Street
HMV’s flagship store at 150 Oxford Street, the world’s biggest music store, closed its doors on Sunday for the last time after almost 30 years of trading. HMV’s new owner Hilco opted to relocate on the famous shopping strip, to the smaller 363 Oxford Street unit where it opened last year, after buying the business out of administration last April.
Data fraud at Target impacts up to 70 million customers
US retailer Target said that the bank data breach that began on or around November 29 affected up to 70 million customers, thereby compromising the payment card and personal information from the company’s databases, BBC News reported. This figure is 30 million more than that was first thought. According to the retail giant, the thieves stole credit card numbers, names, postal addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses. The firm said customers will have ‘zero liability’ for any fraud losses. Target is providing one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to all its customers in the US.