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Retail Round Up

Holland & Barrett rolls out loyalty card scheme

Health and beauty retailer Holland & Barrett has this week rolled out its loyalty scheme nationwide, which it hopes will increase basket size and customer frequency. The card-based scheme, called Rewards for Life, offers customers four points per £1 and will be promoted in-store and backed by a TV campaign with its celebrity face Gethin Jones.

Tesco rolls out online shopping to Poland and the Czech Republic

Tesco is expanding its online operation to the Czech Republic and Poland, with plans to launch a grocery offer in the two countries by the end of next year. The grocer will work with multichannel supplier IVIS Group to roll out the web sites, with the Czech Republic launching later this year and Poland following in 2012.

Alexon suspends shares as administration looms

Troubled womenswear group Alexon has suspended its shares on the Stock Exchange “pending clarification of the company’s financial position”. Retail Week revealed yesterday that private equity firm Sun European Partners was the front runner to buy the group, while Debenhams is also considering purchasing some of the retailer’s brands, which include Alexon, Ann Harvey, Dash, Kaliko, Eastex and Minuet.

Nestlé names Walmart e-commerce exec as finance chief

The world’s largest food manufacturer has raided the world’s largest retailer for its new finance chief. Nestlé has named Wan Ling Martello as its new chief financial officer, after Jim Singh announced his retirement next year. Martello comes on board from Walmart, where she is currently executive vice president of global e-commerce and emerging markets. She joined the retail giant from Kraft Foods in 2005.

Musgrave gets competition green light for Superquinn swoop

Musgrave Group has been given the all-clear by Irish regulators to complete its purchase of Superquinn. The Competition Authority said the deal would “not substantially lessen competition” in Ireland. A deal thought to be worth €250m (£217.8m) was announced in July, the day after Superquinn slipped into administration. Alongside Musgrave’s SuperValu and Centra brands, the group will have a combined share of the Irish market equal to Tesco.

Morrisons unveils first phase of M Kitchen revolution

Morrisons will next week debut the first products in its eagerly awaited own-brand re-launch. A convenience range dubbed M Kitchen will comprise 150 new lines, including a bistro range and a number of pan-Asian and tapas-style dishes. Five hundred additional products will be improved after what the retailer called “a rigorous benchmarking process”.

The only way is ethics

Ethical consumers tend to be more affluent than average and are more likely to favour brands that they believe share their values, according to research. Innocent Drinks, the Co-operative Bank, Marks & Spencer and other brands that actively promote their ethical credentials tend to fare well in the perceptions of such consumers. Meanwhile, companies such as Tesco, RBS, Argos and Snickers might find reason to worry about their corporate image

Coke to broadcast live TV show during Olympics

The as yet unnamed programme forms part of Coca-Cola’s wider global integrated campaign for the Olympics, dubbed Move to the Beat. An “anthem” to soundtrack the campaign is currently being created by Mark Ronson and Katy B, which uses the sounds of Olympic hopefuls playing sport - such as a table tennis player and an archer releasing a bow from their arrow - as the drum beat and base line for the song.

Interest rate in male beauty brands rises

Brands that invest in grooming products exclusively for the men’s market stand to increase spending levels in this under-developed but fast-growing sector, according to research seen by Marketing Week. In the survey of 1,000 UK men aged between 18 and 64, conducted by SPA Future Thinking, 53% say grooming is expected of them.

Keri Link is a consultant on the Interim Team