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Today’s news in brief-31/5/24

UK supermarkets experienced a 3.3% sales boost in May, attributed to a brief period of warm weather which saw increased sales in items such as ice cream, cider, pre-mixed alcoholic drinks, and mineral water. Visits to stores increased by 2.8%, adding 14.3m visits compared to the previous year, while online shopping also saw a 4.1% increase in orders, capturing 13.0% of FMCG spend. Ocado led sales growth among retailers with a 12.4% increase, followed by Sainsbury’s and Tesco. Although Asda’s overall sales declined, footfall increased, aided by new convenience stores.

JD Sports reported an 8% dip in profit-before-tax to £912.4m for the year ending January 27, 2024, despite revenue growth of 2.7% to £1.4bn. The retailer saw strong organic sales growth of 9%, driven by the performance of new stores which exceeded sales expectations. The company plans over 200 new stores in FY25 and maintains a positive outlook for the new financial year, aiming to meet profit guidance despite market volatility.

Burberry faced a challenging year with a pre-tax profit drop to £383m from £636m and a 1% decline in comparable store sales. CEO Jonathan Akeroyd, who joined in April 2022, missed out on a bonus due to the company’s performance, resulting in a 70% reduction in his total pay to £1.3m. The luxury brand’s revenue fell to £2.96bn, impacted by a difficult second half of the year. Burberry’s debt more than doubled to £1.1bn. The remuneration committee, led by Danuta Gray, agreed with Akeroyd that a bonus was not appropriate given the business performance and shareholder experience.

Ribble Cycles appointed Sean Hastings as its new CEO, effective July 1, 2024. Hastings brings extensive experience from his previous roles at River Island, Pentland Brands, and B2C Group. Ribble, known for its strong cycling brand, aims to leverage Hastings’ expertise to drive further growth and innovation. Outgoing CEO Andy Smallwood will transition to a senior adviser role, having significantly transformed Ribble over the past seven years.

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Aldi signed a £750m, 20-year deal with Kent-based AC Goatham and Son to supply apples and pears. This partnership includes the creation of the “Aldi Orchard,” a 200-acre plot dedicated to growing Gala and Braeburn apples. The deal supports British farmers by providing stability and growth opportunities. Aldi, recognized as Apple Retailer of the Year and Fresh Produce Retailer of the Year 2023, plans to expand its apple supply, with AC Goatham and Son set to plant an additional 100 acres of apple trees annually. The partnership also aims to extend the growing season and work towards Net Zero.

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