Retail news round-up: Tesco faces £150m claim from investors, Lakeland profits dip and Dominic Chappell under SFO probe
Tesco investors claim £150m to recoup losses from accounting scandal
Tesco's shareholders are seeking a £150m claim to recoup losses after the accounting irregularities scandal rocked the grocer in 2014, BBC News reported.
Speaking to the BBC, Jeremy Marshall, chief investment officer at Bentham Europe, the firm funding the claim, alleged: "Shareholders were misled by information inaccurately provided to the market with knowledge by management.”
The legal action would be filed by the end of this month, he revealed.
The claim involves 60 large shareholders including pension funds from the UK, Europe and the US as well as general asset managers.
This number is likely to increase once the legal action is filed, Marshall added.
Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell under SFO scanner
Dominic Chappell’s private company is subject to a Serious Fraud Office investigation (SFO) after it did not pay its taxes and VAT bills.
Prem Sikka, commissioned by the Work and Pensions Committee, alerted the SFO and MPs and investigators to check other companies previously owned by Chappell.
Frank Field MP, the committee’s chairman, told The Mail that he had forwarded Sikka’s report to SFO director David Green with a letter raising his own ‘concerns’ about its contents.
Sikka, who examined Chappell’s firm Swiss Rock Ltd accounts, stated in his report: "In the absence of more information, it appears directors made a deliberate decision not to pay VAT and corporation tax liabilities."
Firms in North and Midlands 'to be disappointed by rates overhaul'
Several firms in the North of England and the Midlands, which had been looking to reap immediate benefits from an overhaul of business rates, are to be hit by the transitional scheme's slow progress, according to Colliers International.
Colliers’ head of ratings John Webber said: "The light at the end of the tunnel, which you thought was the revaluation, isn’t quite the light of the train coming in the other direction. But, quite honestly, it may as well be if you’re a business struggling to make ends meet.
"There are a lot of people in the North of England and the Midlands who have been stung and will not be in a great place when they realise this."
Liberty owner to become Jack Wills’ new shareholder
Liberty department store's owner has partnered with Jack Wills’ founder as part of a multi-million-pound acquisition of the preppy fashion chain, The Telegraph reported.
Private equity firm Bluegem and Pete Williams have become the clothing retailer’s new joint shareholders as part of the deal.
The company’s long-standing shareholder Inflexion will bow out after nine years, while Jack Wills’ chairman Mervyn Davies will quit.
Mamas and Papas chairman Derek Lovelock is set to replace Lord Davies, while Williams will continue as the chief executive after returning to the business last year.
Williams said: “The new capital allows us to continue our international expansion and fast-paced revival.”
Lakeland full-year pre-tax profits sink 40%
Lakeland's annual pre-tax profits dived 40% to £3.3m in spite of cookery gadget sales recording a high, The Telegraph reported.
Turnover at the kitchen retailer for 2015 grew slightly to £178.8m compared with £175.6m in 2014.
Cooks have flocked to the company’s stores in recent years, thanks to the demand for new gadgets such as vegetable spiralisers and the success of cookery programmes such as The Great British Bake Off.