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Today’s news in brief-18/3/24

The Saudi PIF, along with Kering, is reportedly eyeing a stake in Selfridges as the store’s co-owner, Central Group, faces financial struggles due to the collapse of its Austrian partner, Signa. The potential deal, valued around £2bn, is complicated by legal proceedings in Austria. Selfridges reported a narrowed loss and increased revenues in the past year, attributing the growth to strong footfall, especially at flagship locations. Central Group and Signa acquired Selfridges for £4bn in 2022.

M&S is in talks with HSBC to establish a new banking and loyalty “superapp,” encompassing payments, financial services, and its Sparks loyalty program. The retailer, entitled to 50% of M&S Bank’s profits under the current agreement, may acquire an ownership position in the future. Fenchurch Advisory Partners is advising M&S on the talks, with a potential public announcement expected soon.

Frasers Group has called in administrators for Kids Cavern and Base Childrenswear after acquiring them from JD Sports in December 2022. Closing down sales have begun in all seven stores, with approximately 50 staff at risk of redundancy. The move follows Frasers Group’s £47.5m deal with JD Sports, which included several brands.

Currys expects its full-year pre-tax profit to be “at least £115m,” up from earlier predictions, due to positive like-for-likes and robust gross margins. The company will finish the year in a net cash position after the closure of its Greek business. Talks with JD.com and Elliot Advisors for a takeover bid collapsed after Currys deemed the proposals undervalued.

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Sainsbury’s CEO apologised to customers after a software glitch disrupted contactless payments, impacting online deliveries. The supermarket will provide affected customers with online vouchers as an apology. Tesco also faced delivery cancellations due to technical issues.

Naked Wines has hired debt advisers to explore refinancing options following a decline in investor confidence. Shares in the company have dropped nearly a third over the past year. Despite a decrease in revenues and widening pre-tax losses, Naked Wines expects cash inflow over the next 18 months from inventory optimization.

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