Retail news round-up: BHS plans international expansion, foreign buyers approach French Connection and Britain's retail boom.
Qatari owners of BHS plan major international expansion
BHS new owner Al Mana Group is on the cusp of securing deals with three new franchise partners in Africa, the Middle East and Europe after its UK operations collapsed into administration, The Telegraph reported.
All of the product range will be designed in London but the focus will be to offer region specific tailored products to increase the number of stores abroad.
Managing director of BHS International David Anderson said BHS’s international and online business is profitable and growing.
He also said since the formation of international business in June, BHS had secured contracts with new partners in new regions and was “in discussion with many others”.
Overseas buyers approach struggling French Connection
French Connection has been approached by overseas investors and private equity firms following speculation that its founder may consider a sale, The Telegraph reported.
The fashion chain has been seeking advice from investment advice firm Moelis.
The company has suffered its fifth year of losses and a fall in share price and is under pressure from activist firm Gatemore, which owns an 8% stake in the business.
Gatemore managing director Liad Meidar said: “We can see that any bidder would see value in this brand and if there is a process then we would support it as we have been advocates for a change of management.”
Moelis and French Connection did not comment.
Britain's retail boom as wealthy foreign tourists flocks UK
Foreign tourists are flocking to UK to take advantage of falling pound creating a boon for retailers, Daily Express reported.
According to a report by Deloitte, the falling currency has made London the go-to destination for bargains.
Managing director of Harrods Michael Ward said: “We’re doing disproportionately well. The international shopper is very discerning, and is going towards those bigger brands.”
Burberry reported sales had risen 30% in three months.
Debenhams boss in fix over pension fund woes
Debenhams' new boss, Sergio Bucher, is in the spotlight amid concerns over the company’s pension scheme deficit, The Telegraph reported.
The department store could benefit from closing a number of stores. However, it is stuck owing to long 22-year lease agreements.
The city expects pre-tax profits of £114m and a 1% growth in sales to about £2.9bn.
Morgan Stanley analysts warned investors that Debenhams’ pension deficit could be as much as £250m.
Pension deficits are being highlighted following the collapse of BHS.