Today’s news in brief-5/12/23

Independent luxury retailer Jules B is reportedly contemplating a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) following a ransomware attack that occurred in September. The MD and co-founder, Julian Blades, has sought assistance from KSA Group to navigate through the financial challenges. The retailer aims to focus more on its website, which constitutes 70% of its annual turnover. The impact of the CVA on stores, whether through closures or turnover-based rent, is yet to be decided.

THG has agreed to acquire skincare brand Biossance from US biotechnology group Amyris Inc for a maximum consideration of $20m. Since its inception in 2015, Biossance has generated global revenues of $300m and is stocked in over 1,600 stores worldwide. The acquisition includes assets such as intellectual property, inventory, and debtors. The deal is expected to close in mid-December, with integration completing in Q1 2024.

Womenswear retailer Quiz announced a strategic review after posting a pre-tax loss of £1.5m for the six months ending September 30, 2023. This loss, attributed to inflationary pressures, contrasts with a £1.8m profit in the same period the previous year. The company expects full-year revenues to be 6-8% lower due to reduced demand and lacklustre Black Friday performance. The strategic review, led by independent chairman Peter Cowgill, aims to examine options to maximise shareholder value.

Kantar predicts that take-home grocery sales will surpass £13bn for the first time in December. In the four weeks leading to November 26, 2023, sales grew by 6.3% to reach £11.7bn. Sainsbury’s experienced its strongest growth in market share since March 2013, with a 10.2% increase in sales. Tesco also increased its market share to 27.5%, and Lidl was the fastest-growing grocer, achieving a record high share of 7.8%.


Marks and Spencer has extended its Christmas trading hours, with over 400 stores open from 6 am until 10 pm from December 18-22. Some stores will also open until 10 pm on December 23 and 4 pm on Christmas Eve. However, M&S confirmed the closure of stores, support centres, and distribution centres on Boxing Day. The company is recruiting 10,000 new customer assistants for the festive season, reflecting a 40% increase from the previous year.


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