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Retail Round Up

Waitrose eyes new customers with Discount Card

Waitrose is sending prospective new customers 10% discount shopping cards to encourage people to try shopping at its supermarkets. The “Try Me” cards are being sent to a combination of people who live near a Waitrose but might not shop there normally or lapsed shoppers that haven’t visited recently or shop with Waitrose infrequently. The initiative comes as Waitrose launches its biggest ever value driven ad campaign.

P&G readies Olympic family campaign

P&G is to use the friends and families of British athletes competing at the London Olympics in the latest stage of its 2012 activation campaign. Their stories will feature in ads and content across traditional and digital media in the run up to the Games next year as part of its “Nearest and Dearest” campaign, an extension of the existing “Proud sponsor of Mums” activity.

Apple surprises with launch of iPhone 4S

New Apple CEO Tim Cook surprised tech fans across the world, who were expecting the launch of the iPhone 5, by instead announcing an updated version of the iPhone 4: the 4S. Shares in Apple fell by 5% minutes after the announcement, with analysts saying investors were underwhelmed by the new launch after they had expected a more radical update. The company’s shares managed to regain some losses in the hours after the event and closed at $372.50, still down 0.6%.

House of Fraser revamps men’s formalwear department

House of Fraser has invested £1m into revamping its men’s formalwear department to create a destination for shoppers, featuring new brands, a bar and its first bespoke suiting service. The 6,500 sq ft refurbished department in the Oxford Street store will be unveiled next month. Shoppers will be able to enjoy a coffee or whisky while reading a book from the library or watching a film in the lounge and bar area.

M&S launches click and collect dining

Marks & Spencer has moved into selling food online with the launch a Click and Collect service for a range of 100 “foodhall favourites”. The service was launched last Friday and allows customers to order the products for collection in store in between three and five days. The website promises that customers can “choose from our ever-growing selection of delicious foods, which may not ordinarily be available in your local store”.

Wiggle attracts private equity interest as it gears up for sale or float

Bikes etailer, Wiggle, has attracted several private equity firms and trade buyers as the retailer mulls a sale or float. Rothschild, which is advising Wiggle on its strategic options, is running a dual track process which allows the etailer to consider both a sale or float simultaneously. The etailer is expected to be valued “in excess of £200m” when any deal is done.

More disposals loom as second profits warning signals new low for Premier

Premier Foods has been forced to issue another profit warning as it continues to wrestle with the fall-out from its dispute with Tesco earlier this year. Total sales fell 3.6% to £477m for the three months to 30 September, with Premier admitting that “slower than expected rebuilding of in-store presence following a customer dispute” had hit volumes. Tesco de-listed a quarter of Premier's branded products between 26 March and 24 June, costing the supplier £10m and forcing it to warn investors of the negative impact on profits.

Asda profits take double-digit hit in 2010

Pre-tax profits at Asda fell by almost 14% last year, as the supermarket cut prices, faced increased payments to parent company Walmart and costs relating to stock options. In a busy week for supermarket results, documents filed at Companies House revealed pre-tax profits slid 13.8% from £571.1m in 2009 to £491.8m last year.

Keri Link is a consultant on the Interim team