Today’s news in brief-25/3/24

Former UK Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi is reportedly in discussions with online retailer The Very Group regarding the role of its new chair. While talks are ongoing, Zahawi’s potential appointment could signal a shift in leadership dynamics within the company, following the departure of its previous chair, Dirk Van den Berghe. Zahawi’s involvement in facilitating discussions between investors and the Barclay family further underscores his potential influence in the business sphere.

Kingfisher has seen its profits drop 25% attributed to underperforming international sales, particularly in France and Poland. Despite this setback, the company remains committed to its UK expansion plans, exemplified by its intention to open 40 new Screwfix stores. CEO Thierry Garnier emphasises a focus on customer-centric strategies and cost management amid challenging market conditions.

Ocado faces a potential shareholder revolt over its executive pay structure, with concerns raised over CEO Tim Steiner’s proposed bonus of up to £14.8m. Proxy advisor Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has recommended shareholders vote against the retailer’s new bonus scheme, citing deviations from market norms and investor expectations. The proposed incentive scheme reflects Ocado’s acknowledgment of Steiner’s contributions as a founder but has drawn criticism amid fluctuations in the company’s share price.

Forecasts predict a surge in footfall across UK retail destinations during the Easter period, driven by consumer activity in retail parks and high streets. MRI Software anticipates a 6.6% increase in footfall, with retail parks expected to experience significant rises in activity. The Easter school holidays and payday coincide with the holiday, contributing to heightened consumer spending and foot traffic. Despite recent fluctuations, last week saw a general rebound in footfall across regions and town types, signalling potential market stabilisation.


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