What the Sunday papers said about the retail sector, including reports on Baugur, Asda, Carphone Warehouse, Debenhams, Ghost, DSGi, Home Retail, Sainsbury's, Game, JJB Sports, Woolworths and Tesco.
Troubled retail investor Baugur could be bailed out by the Icelandic government, which now controls the country’s banking system, according to the Mail on Sunday. It is considering maintaining ownership of the group’s£2 billion debt, as opposed to selling it to a foreign business.
The Mail on Sunday also reported that Asda fears the Competition Commission’s plan to set up a retail ombudsman would hamper the relationship it has with its suppliers, while Carphone Warehouse is considering giving away free plasma screen TVs in return for signing up to cable or satellite TV packages.
Debenhams senior executives will not be collecting bonuses for the second year running, as it prepares to slash its payout to shareholders by a third, the Observer wrote. It also reported that fashion label Ghost has warned it could go into administration after the collapse of the Icelandic banking system, and that Tesco discounts are failing to halt the rise of Aldi.
Retailers fear the worst Christmas for a generation, the Independent on Sunday reported. The paper highlighted that shares in DSGi, which is due to issue a trading update on Thursday, plummeted to a two-decade low on Friday, to 27p.
Sainsbury’s attempts to boost sales by selling games consoles Wii and Xbox 360 backfired after Game store managers bought up nearly 1,000 of the 2,000 consoles, the Sunday Telegraph reported. The consoles were then sold in Game stores.
Home Retail Group is to slash the book value of Homebase from£1 billion to between£300 million and£400 million, the Sunday Telegraph also reported.
JJB is considering selling its fitness clubs, estimated to be worth up to£100 million, according to The Sunday Times. It also reported that Tesco is locked in a battle with suppliers after allegedly demanding one-off cash payments and better terms to help fund its price war with Asda, Aldi and Lidl.
Woolworths has been criticised by toy industry sources after frantically cancelling Christmas toy orders as fears grow that it will be left with costly excess stock after the holiday period, according to the Sunday Express.
Retailers are braced for exceptionally fierce competition in the run-up to Christmas after the latest wave of price cuts failed to boost spending on the high street, the FT Weekend reported. It also reported that retail parks are coming under pressure as vacancies rise due to the number of retailers halting expansion plans or hitting the buffers.