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Retail Round-Up February 4th 2011

Marketing Week

O2 edges closer to NFC payment

The telecoms company is putting in an application to the Financial Services Authority to enable O2 to act as an independent financial services provider, without the need to partner with a bank. This will allow O2 to “hold” money on behalf of customers in a virtual “wallet” to enable them to make purchases through their mobiles or use their device to send money to other people.

M&S bolsters blogger links

Marks & Spencer wants to strengthen its relationship with bloggers and online influencers as part of a strategy to develop its online business. M&S aims to boost its search profile with external sites by combining online PR and technical search. M&S has appointed search agency Propellernet to drive “authentic search” for its clothing and homeware products as part of the retailer’s strategy to increase its multi-channel business from £800m-worth of revenue to £1bn.

P&G restructures global business units

Procter & Gamble is to restructure its three global business units into two. The existing oral care and feminine care businesses will become part of P&G’s beauty and grooming business unit. The personal health care, pet care and snacks businesses will become part of P&G’s household care business.

Retail Week

Buyers size up HMV

Potential buyers including private equity groups and former entertainment retail executives are circling entertainment group HMV and considering bids for all or part of the business. Sources claim potential buyers include; private equity giant, Permira, founder of bookseller Ottakar’s, James Heneage and former HMV and Waterstone’s product director and Borders’ chief executive, David Roche.

SuperGroup buys European franchisee to push international growth

SuperGroup has acquired the leading global franchisee of its Superdry brand CNC Collections BVBA (CNC) to push international expansion. The €40m (£33.8m) acquisition of its French and Benelux distribution partner, which manages 29 franchised stores, will allow the retailer to capture greater margins on growing sales in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and France and accelerate its international franchise roll out.

H&M relaunches websites to make them easier to use

Fashion giant H&M is to relaunch its global websites in a bid to make them more consumer friendly. The UK site, which only became transactional last September, will be revamped this spring. The new website will direct customers straight through to the shopping site instead of the existing homepage, which requires shoppers to click through to shop. H&M will also launch a transactional site in the US in early 2012.

The Grocer

Unilever defies rising costs to boost annual profits

Unilever has shrugged off intense competition, weak consumer confidence and rising commodity costs to post an 18% rise in full-year profits. Pre-tax earnings for the consumer goods giant rose surged to £5.2bn, up from £4.2bn, with emerging markets cited as the “engine of growth”. Trading conditions in Western Europe had been “difficult” with full-year turnover slipping 0.5% to £10.2bn. But the company had gained ground in the UK and France, it said.

Heineken is official lager of London Olympics

Heineken has been unveiled as the official lager of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The deal hands Heineken UK exclusive rights to serve its beer and cider brands at all venues for the sporting jamboree, as well as sponsorship rights for Team GB. The deal also includes rights to the accompanying Paralympics.

SAB Miller shares up as City touts mega-merger potential

Shares in SAB Miller were on the up today amid talk that the brewing giant could be the subject of a shock takeover bid by an arch rival. Analysts at Credit Suisse suggested SAB Miller could be poised for an unlikely combination with Stella Artois brewer AB InBev. However, a combination would be likely to require a raft of disposals to avoid falling foul of the competition authorities.

Keri Link is a consultant on the Interim team at FreshMinds