A quick tour around the retail week so far provides some interesting stories. Here are some, with some rapid response views. The CMA finally tells us what we already knew – it will spend ages and lots of our taxes in looking at the Tesco Booker deal. I’m clear – it should not be allowed because it will give Tesco too much power. Who actually owns Booker’s C-stores is far less important than who supplies them. The whole point of being part of a buying group is to “benefit” from concentrated sourcing. The CMA should do its job, protect the consumer, and red card the deal.
Days Department Store may be a store with departments, but that does not make it a department store. Arcadia’s Outfit stores incorporate Philip Green’s brands but that too isn’t a department store. I can’t see the traditional Jaeger customer shopping next to a Peacocks shopper, or a traditional Jane Norman shopper. The various brands will converge, otherwise putting them side by side will not work.
The newly appointed M&S Strategy Director seems to have no actual retail experience. The newly appointed head of Marks’ clothing has no apparel experience. This is a market where even those with loads of experience are struggling. And before you say “well, sometimes you need an outsider”, that never applies to surgeons or pilots. However, it does seem to apply to Presidents of the USA so maybe these appointments will be a raging success!
Finally, the process to sell Body Shop is nearly at an end. I have always thought this business would be worth more as a brand (with freedom to supply any stores) than as a retailer. So far this year it has been on sale in all but 3 weeks, materially more than the same period last year. Trading is clearly tough, but this also reflects maximising cash to ratchet up the price. How much that will compensate for all those expensive leases remains to be seen.
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