Today’s news in brief-13/12/23

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), the US-based parent company of Boots, is reportedly exploring an initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange, reviving plans to divest the pharmacy chain. Walgreens had abandoned a £5bn sale of Boots last year, citing challenges in global financial markets. The potential IPO is being considered as part of early talks about Boots’ future, with the business valued at approximately £7bn. WBA recently reached a £4.8bn deal to offload the Boots pension scheme to L&G. The move aims to simplify a possible divestiture of the business. A London IPO could boost the stock market, offering an alternative to delisting or debuting in other markets.

Revolution Beauty has settled a legal dispute with its former executive chairman and co-founder, Tom Allsworth. The company has agreed to pay Allsworth an ex gratia payment of £270,000 net, or £490,000 when grossed up for taxes, in connection with legal fees related to the investigation of matters associated with Medichem SPA. Concurrently, Elizabeth Lake, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), has decided to step down from the board with immediate effect, although she will continue in her role until December 31, 2023. Neil Catto, a non-executive director, will take over as CFO starting January 1, 2024. The company also welcomed Erin Brookes to the board as an independent non-executive director.

Inditex, the owner of Zara, has revealed a robust financial performance for the first nine months of 2023, with a sales increase of 11.1% to €25.6bn and gross profits up 12.3% to €15.2bn. The company attributed this success to the creativity of its teams and the execution of its fully integrated business model. Both online and in-store sales showed significant growth, rising 14.9% in constant currency across all geographical areas and concepts. The Autumn/Winter collection received positive customer feedback, contributing to a 14% increase in sales between November 1 and December 11 compared to the previous year. Inditex also expanded its store presence in 36 markets during the nine-month period and anticipates a gross margin 75 bps higher than in the previous fiscal year.

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Fashion retailer Sosandar experienced a pre-tax loss of £1.3m in its half-year results, down from a £0.1m profit the previous year. Despite the loss, the company maintained its full-year outlook following strong autumn trading. Revenues for the six months ended September 30 increased by 6% to £22.2m, with October and November revenues reaching £10m, a 16% YoY increase. Sosandar highlighted strong performance across all channels, with increased gross margin and positive pre-tax profit. The company made progress toward opening its first own stores and launched fashion concept stores in Sainsbury’s. Co-CEOs Ali Hall and Julie Lavington expressed optimism about the future, emphasising the brand’s growth and strategic goals.


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