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Today’s news in brief-23/5/24

The Very Group’s pre-tax losses narrowed to £2.1m for the 39-week period ending March 30, down from £11.7m the previous year, despite a slight dip in total revenue by 0.8% to £1.6bn. Very UK, contributing 86% of the group’s sales, saw a revenue increase of 1% to £1.4bn. However, Littlewoods revenue dropped by 11.9% to £174.5 million, and Very Ireland’s revenue fell 5% to £52.1m. While group retail sales declined by 1.8%, key categories such as personal care and toys saw significant growth. Pre-exceptional EBITDA rose by 3.8% to £197.4m.

Temu’s parent company, PDD Holdings, experienced a 131% surge in sales to RMB86.8bn (£9.4bn) in Q1, driven largely by online marketing and transaction services, which saw revenues increase by 56% and 327% respectively.

The John Lewis Partnership aims to hire over 300 care-experienced young people by January 2025 as part of its Building Happier Futures program, which aligns with Foster Care Fortnight. Waitrose chefs conducted a cooking masterclass for foster families, providing them with valuable culinary skills and fostering independence.

Games Workshop has appointed Elizabeth Harrison as its new finance director, pending board approval. Harrison, a qualified chartered accountant, has been with the company since 2000, most recently serving as the group reporting manager. Rachel Tongue, the current CFO, will step down from the board at the 2024 AGM and leave the company in January 2025, ensuring a smooth transition of responsibilities.

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TJX, the owner of TK Maxx, reported a 6% increase in net sales to $12.5bn (£9.8bn) for Q1, driven entirely by a rise in customer transactions. The company’s net income reached $1.1 billion (£87m), with a pre-tax profit margin of 11.1%, surpassing expectations.

Belgian puzzles and games company Smart Toys and Games has acquired Wow Toys, known for its pre-school range of vehicles and figures, enhancing its presence in the UK market. The acquisition builds on Smart’s previous purchases of The Happy Puzzle Company and All Jigsaw Puzzles, further expanding its product portfolio. Founder Nadim Ednan-Laperouse will remain involved, focusing on his work with The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, while Wow Toys will integrate into Smart’s operations, leveraging its international reach to launch new products in 2025.

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