Retail news round-up on January 21, 2015: Ashley reduces stake in Sports Direct; Amazon’s Sunday deliveries quadruple; Scottish retail sales down; and more.
Mike Ashley reduces stake in Sports Direct
Billionaire tycoon Mike Ashley is reducing his stake in sports retailer Sports Direct, The Telegraph reported. Goldman Sachs said it was placing up to 15.4m ordinary shares in the company on behalf of Ashley, which would be worth £117m. This move will see his stake in the firm fall from 57.7% to 55%, worth around £2.5bn. The shares are to be sold to institutional investors via an accelerated book-build, starting immediately.
Amazon’s Sunday deliveries quadruple
Amazon’s Sunday deliveries in Britain have quadrupled over the last year, thanks to the boom in online shopping. Jamie Stephenson, UK director for Amazon Logistics, said: “We’re excited that so many customers are taking advantage of Sunday delivery and that so many local and regional delivery companies continue to join the Amazon Logistics platform.
Scottish retail sales down in December
Retail sales value in Scotland last month fell 1.8% on a year earlier, according to industry figures. The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) described the decline as ‘unfortunate’, and declared 2014 had been a ‘testing’ year for many retailers also cited the ‘continuing fragility’ of the economic recovery. Scottish food sales in December slumped 1.9% year on year, while non-food sales were weaker overall.
Dairy Crest secures extension of Morrisons’ milk contract
Dairy Crest has won a further three-year deal to supply fresh milk to Morrisons’ supermarkets, The Times reported. However, it said that volumes would be cut by a third, or about 70 million litres, from March. The UK’s number four grocer would continue to get other products, including cheese, flavoured milk, butter and spreads from the company.
Staples may reject merger call with Office Depot
Staples is likely to reject a call by activist investor Starboard Value to merge with Office Depot as it fears that the deal would be blocked by regulators, The Financial Times reported. The company is concerned that the Federal Trade Commission would block a merger on the grounds that it would hurt competition in the lucrative business of supplying stationery to large corporate clients.
‘Punish’ supermarkets if dairy farmers are pressurised
MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee have urged supermarkets should be punished if they are found to have pressured farmers to drop milk prices. They also have warned that dairy farmers are being driven out of business every week and said more must be done to help them survive. They have called on the ministers to push for clear country-of-origin labelling so consumers know they are buying British.