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Retail Round-Up July 15th 2011

Blacks increases borrowing after sales fall

Outdoor clothing and equipment specialist Blacks Leisure has extended its borrowing facilities and aims to refinance following a sales fall. The retailer reported a 9.7% slide in like-for-like sales, excluding VAT, in the 19 weeks to July 9. Total sales slid to £54.6m from £61.3m in the comparable period last year.

White Company EBITDA rockets as boss prepares to step down

Fashion and homewares retailer White Company has defied the economic gloom to post a better than expected 37% surge in EBITDA to £10.7m in the year to March 27. The news comes as managing director Patricia Alford-Burnett steps down from the retailer to “pursue other business interests”. Founder Chrissie Rucker will work with Alford-Burnett to appoint a replacement and “ensure a smooth handover”.

Wednesday deadline for first-round bids for Comet

Directors and advisers of electricals group Kesa will begin detailed consideration of a sale of the Comet chain on Wednesday, when first-round offers must be submitted. About 10 potential buyers are eyeing Comet and are now deciding whether to go ahead and table indicative offers.

Rebekah Brooks resigns from News International

News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has resigned from her role, following the phone hacking scandal, in a bid to save the company’s now tarnished reputation. News Corp has announced that Sky Italia chief executive Tom Mockridge will replace Brooks with immediate effect.

Tesco’s new social media chief wants digital to “enrich and simplify”

Tesco’s greatest digital marketing challenge is to find ways to use technology to “enrich and simplify” customer’s lives, according to the supermarket’s incoming digital chief. Speaking at a seminar about multi-channel marketing in London, Tesco’s group digital marketing officer designate Matt Atkinson said he will explore digital marketing can “enrich and add value to the customer journey”.

Google registers “record breaking” revenue growth

Google reported a better than expected 32% increase in revenue for the second quarter, with its mood lifted further by the “amazing response” to recently launched social network Google +. The company says that revenue for the three months to 30 June was $9bn (£5.6bn), up from $6.82bn (£4.2bn) in the same period last year.

Kraft’s Clarke chosen for premier top job

Premier Foods has named Kraft Foods European president Mike Clarke as the successor to outgoing chief executive Robert Schofield. Clarke – described by Premier as “one of the most senior executives in the European food industry” – will begin in his new role on 1 September. Prior to joining Kraft in 2009 he was president of Coca-Cola for Northwest Europe, including the UK. Having started his career as a chartered accountant in South Africa with Deloitte, he also worked for sportswear giant Reebok.

Promotions warfare hitting Kingsmill margins, says Associated British Foods

Kingsmill owner Associated British Foods has reported a 6% rise in grocery sales for the past quarter. While sales at its grocery arm were up 7% for the 40 weeks to 25 June, the company warned that “the retail environment remains very competitive, with high promotional activity in the large multiple retailers”.

M&S cashes in on April party mood with improving food sales

NPD and party food helped Marks & Spencer notch up like-for-like food sales growth of 3.3% in the first quarter of the new financial year. Ahead of the retail giant’s AGM today, chief executive Marc Bolland said M&S had been “well placed” to help customers seeking “better value alternatives to eating out”. He also claimed shoppers had turned to M&S for party food over the Royal Wedding. Total food sales rose 5% in the 13 weeks to 2 July.

Keri Link is a consultant on the Interim team