PRESS DIGEST – British business – Aug 23

The Guardian

SHUTTERS STILL DOWN ON WOOLWORTH STORES

Research by the Local Data Company has revealed two in five
former branches of failed retailer Woolworths still stand empty
two years after the company’s collapse. Pound shops like
Poundstretcher and 99p Stores have taken 22 percent of the
lettings, with supermarkets like Iceland, Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L: )
and Tesco (TSCO.L: ) taking 15 percent. Other new tenants included
fashion retailer New Look and carpet retailer Carpetright
(CATVU.L: ). Only two percent of stores have had more than one
tenant since Woolworths’ demise, which British Property
Federation chief executive Liz Peace said reflected “real
demand” for the new businesses occupying the stores.

COST CUTS SALVAGE 1.6 BILLION POUND SOMERFIELD TAKEOVER

Peter Marks, chief executive of the Co-operative Group, the
world’s largest consumer-owned business, will announce a
significant rise in first-half profits on Thursday, despite
fears over a sharp fall in sales at former Somerfield branches.
Although Marks is set to admit that sales targets set before the
Co-op’s 1.6 billion pound acquisition of the Somerfield grocery
store chain have not been achieved, he is expected to reveal
that cost savings behind the scenes and better terms from
suppliers have contributed to profits well ahead of
expectations.

TESCO TRIALS DRIVE-THROUGH STORE

Tesco (TSCO.L: ) will launch the UK’s first drive-through
supermarket this week. The service, which allows customers to
order groceries online and collect them at the supermarket
without getting out of their car, will be tested at a Tesco
Extra store in Baldock, Hertfordshire. The service is directed
at customers who want the convenience of online shopping but
lack the time to wait at home to receive their groceries. Laura
Wade-Gery, the chief executive of Tesco Direct and Tesco.com,
said the service would appeal to busy parents.
($1=.6431 Pound)

PRESS DIGEST – British business – Aug 23