Today’s news in brief-21/3/24

Reports suggest that Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q, is contemplating a bid for Homebase’s stores in the Republic of Ireland, signalling a potential rebranding of the Homebase outlets under the B&Q fascia. Homebase, currently owned by Hilco Capital, operates eight stores in Ireland and has been exploring a sale of its business. Hilco, which acquired Homebase in 2018, is reportedly seeking buyers, with B&M and The Range among those approached. While Kingfisher declined to comment, the potential acquisition marks a significant development in the retail landscape in Ireland.

PDD Holdings, the owner of Temu, reported a substantial increase in revenues, nearly doubling from the previous year to reach £27bn in 2023. This growth was attributed to successful marketing strategies driving increased transactions. Operating profits also surged by 93%, reflecting the company’s strong performance. In the US market, Temu surpassed competitors like Walmart and Target in second-time purchase rates, signalling its growing popularity among consumers.

Next announced a record-high profit before tax of £918m, accompanied by a 6% increase in group sales to £5.84bn. The company attributed this success to improvements in product ranges, online services, and cost management. Shareholders were rewarded with £425m returned through dividends and share buybacks. Looking ahead, Next anticipates profits to reach £960m, driven by increased consumer spending due to rising wages. The company’s positive outlook reflects its confidence in sustained growth and financial stability.

Majestic Wine, owned by Fortress Investment Group, is reportedly in advanced discussions to acquire Vagabond Wines, a London-based chain known for its self-pouring wine machines. The potential deal, expected to include nearly a dozen wine bars and an urban winery, aligns with Majestic’s strategy to expand its portfolio and clientele. Both companies see synergies in combining Vagabond’s offerings with Majestic’s commercial segment. While details of the deal are yet to be finalised, it signifies a strategic move in the wine retail sector.


Aldi anticipates record-breaking sales during the Easter period, with projections indicating significant spikes in various product categories. The supermarket expects high demand for hot cross buns, chocolate eggs, British lamb, and champagne. Notably, sales of certain items like lamb are forecasted to increase by up to 900% compared to the previous week. Aldi’s preparedness to meet this surge in demand underscores its proactive approach to seasonal trends and consumer preferences, positioning it for success during the festive period.

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