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Today’s news in brief-28/2/24

Shein is reportedly contemplating shifting its Initial Public Offering (IPO) from New York to London amidst anticipated regulatory hurdles in the US due to its Chinese affiliations. The move would mark one of London’s largest IPOs ever. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has engaged in talks with Shein’s chairman, Donald Tang, urging the company to opt for London. If pursued, Shein’s IPO could potentially become the second-largest in the history of the London Stock Exchange, following Glencore International’s debut in 2011.

Halfords has revised its full-year profit before tax (PBT) forecast downward to £35-40m citing weakened core markets. Both cycling and retail motoring sectors have experienced declines in like-for-like revenue growth, attributed to factors such as adverse weather conditions and subdued customer confidence. Looking ahead, Halfords remains cautious about market recovery in the short-term, aiming for marginal growth in core markets in the fiscal year 2025.

A study by national law firm Irwin Mitchell revealed that while UK’s major retailers are increasingly focused on environmental sustainability, they are losing sight of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives. References to ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) in annual reports have risen, with notable increases in terms related to climate change and decarbonisation. However, mentions of DE&I have declined by 7%, raising concerns about the sector’s commitment to fostering an inclusive business environment.

The Very Group has announced a £125m funding package from investment firms Carlyle and IMI to support its growth strategy, following a reported half-year pre-tax loss of £2m. Despite the loss, Very UK revenue saw a modest increase, and the company anticipates long-term support and expertise from Carlyle and IMI as they join its board.

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Alibaba.com’s B2B Sentiment Survey indicated that 68% of UK SMEs feel more positive about business growth opportunities compared to the previous year. However, inflationary pressures, supply chain issues, and marketing challenges remain significant concerns. Building trust with new suppliers emerges as a key challenge, emphasising the importance of seamless sourcing solutions for SMEs.

N Brown Group has received approval from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for its near-term targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The company aims to cut emissions by 46% by 2030, as part of its broader sustainability strategy. N Brown emphasised its commitment to sustainability and outlines goals to achieve net zero emissions by 2040.

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