Today’s news in brief-7/3/24

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) criticised Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget, stating that it lacked initiatives to boost investment and growth in communities, particularly for retail businesses. Despite calls to reduce business rates and reintroduce tax-free shopping for tourists, Hunt’s budget did not address these concerns. The BRC emphasised the potential impact on job losses and the retail industry’s ability to innovate and create better-paying jobs. The absence of measures like reducing business rates will cost the retail industry an additional £470m annually. Additionally, the UK’s lack of a tax-free shopping scheme is seen as a missed opportunity to attract tourism spending, potentially costing the economy £11bn yearly.

Hugo Boss reported an 18% increase in sales to €4.2bn for fiscal year 2023, exceeding its mid-term sales target two years ahead of schedule. The company’s EBITDA also rose by 22% to €410m, primarily driven by strong performance across its brands and strategic initiatives. Hugo Boss plans to expand its store concepts, optimise business operations, and focus on consumer engagement to sustain growth. Sales are expected to increase further in the coming year, with projected growth between 3% to 6%, along with an increase in EBIT.

Asos is reportedly in talks with Reliance Retail to enter the Indian market, aiming to offer its merchandise both offline and online through Reliance’s retail platforms. This partnership could potentially lead to standalone Asos stores in India. The move is expected to increase Asos’s sourcing from India, despite already sourcing from the country for many years. However, no agreement has been finalised yet.

Shein’s UK arm faced criticism for failing to disclose its ultimate ownership, breaching company law. The company listed a Singapore-based entity instead of an individual as its Person with Significant Control (PSC). This issue could impact Shein’s reported plans to list in the UK, as it raises questions about compliance with regulations. Shein has pledged to rectify the error, but it comes amidst previous allegations of labour abuse and scrutiny over its business practices.


M&S co-CEO Katie Bickerstaffe is set to retire from her role after the company’s AGM in July 2024 to pursue her board career. Bickerstaffe played a key role in M&S’s leadership changes and performance improvements. Her departure marks the completion of a transition period for the company, with a focus on strengthening the management team and advancing its transformation.

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