Apple profit soars on iPhone sales
Apple has reported record profit as better than expected sales of iPhones and iPads in the lead up to Christmas boosted revenue. The tech company reported a 71% rise in revenue to $26.74bn (£16.7bn) for the three months to 25 December, compared with $15.68bn (£9.79bn) in the previous year. Apple also posted record profit of $6bn (£3.7bn), compared to $3.38bn (£2.1bn) in the same period last year. The Californian-based company says international sales accounted for 62% of revenue during the quarter.
Co-op appoints Gill Barr as group marketing director
The Co-operative Group has appointed former John Lewis marketer Gill Barr as group marketing director. Barr joins from MasterCard, less than one year after joining as head of marketing for the UK and Ireland. Prior to this she was marketing director at John Lewis until March last year when the role was axed. Barr will be responsible for marketing across The Co-op including its food, banking, pharmacy, travel and funeralcare businesses.
Primark sales up but owner “cautious” about this year’s growth
Primark-owner Associated British Foods has reported a 10% rise in first-quarter sales but says January’s VAT rise and high commodity costs mean further growth this year could be limited. First-quarter results for the 16 weeks to January 8 saw Primark sales up 12% on last year which it attributes to new store openings and “good” like-for-like sales growth. The group, which also markets Silver Spoon sugar, Twinings tea and Ovaltine, says its 214 Primark stores traded well despite adverse weather in December, with revenue at the clothing stores up 12%.
EBay reports strong Christmas, led by fashion
Etail giant eBay has reported a strong fourth quarter in the UK. Sales rose 170%, led by fashion as sales of clothes, shoes and accessories outperformed. Across the entire UK site, eBay sold 25% more items and the value sales rose 19%. Last year eBay launched its Fashion Outlet in the UK. It has since grown to include 30 retailers and more than 180 brands including Superdry and Firetrap. Although historically an auction site, 60% of all items sold on eBay are now via the ‘buy it now’ option.
Leading record companies lend backing to HMV
The chiefs of seven leading record companies have come out in support of HMV, saying that they are continuing to supply the retailer as normal and praising the unique role it plays in supporting the music industry in the UK. The heads of the record companies, including the UK bosses of Universal Music, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music, wrote to the The Times to say it was business as usual with HMV despite the company having had its credit insurance scaled back, following fears it would break its banking covenants and difficult trading over Christmas.
Laura Ashley profits to beat expectations
Strong trading over Christmas means fashion and homeware business Laura Ashley now expects full year pre-tax profit to be “significantly higher” than previously expected. The retailer said business had been better than expected since it last updated in mid-September, when there was already growing confidence in the full-year outlook.
Tesco opens beauty salons
Tesco has revealed plans to open 70 in-store beauty salons by the end of 2011. The beauty market in the UK is estimated to be worth in the region of £5bn a year. “The beauty market is a huge opportunity. We are testing customer responses to beauty services such as threading and nail treatments,” said a Tesco spokesperson. The concept has been trialled at three stores, and two new larger salons in the Chesterfield and Leicester stores will open by the end of this month. If they prove to be successful then Tesco could roll out the salons to 70 stores nationwide.
Boots hails ‘robust’ retail performance
Alliance Boots has reported a rise in like-for-like sales of 2.8% across its UK retail business in the past quarter. In an internal memo to staff, group chief executive Andy Hornby said the high street chemist had grown overall sales by 14.3% over the period to 31 December. Hornby said the figures represent an “extremely robust performance”. “Overall the group performed strongly despite the challenging trading conditions we continue to see across Europe,” he told staff.
Keri Link is a consultant on the Interim team at FreshMinds