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Retail Round Up

Sainsburys predicts Nectar data will make its convenience stores outperform the market

Speaking at the IGD Convenience Conference Helen Buck, convenience director at Sainsbury’s says that by using Nectar data, Sainsbury’s can understand customers and respond quickly in a way that other convenience retailers can’t. She said: “There is lots of competition going on [and] we are confident that we have some elements in our armoury that the others don’t.”

Kesa sells off loss-making retailer Comet for £2

Kesa Electricals has sold off loss-making electricals chain Comet to an investment firm for just £2 in yet another indication of the turmoil on the UK high street. The retailer, which reported a 19% drop in sales for the first half of the year, has been bought by a group of companies called Hailey, who are being advised by turnaround specialists OpCaptia.

Marks & Spencer named the UK’s top 'family brand'

A study carried out by ad agency Isobel and YouGov found the retailer appears to have shed its ‘parent brand’ status, moving from sixth to first in the study.The improvement was driven by its first standalone children’s clothing ad campaign earlier this year including a partnership with ITV and Britain’s Got Talent to find children to star in ads and a partnership with the X Factor.

MFI to relaunch online despite challenging trading environment

Furniture retailer MFI is to be reborn at the end of the month as an online retailer almost three years to the day after the company collapsed amid the punishing trading conditions of 2008. Sources said there are no plans to open MFI stores, which were a large part of its defunct predecessor’s problems. The stores were viewed as too large and with expensive leases. It is understood that MFI.co.uk will sell bedroom, dining room and bathroom furniture, but not fitted kitchens, for which MFI was famous.

Comet to focus on value under new ownership

The new owners of electricals retailer Comet intend to restore its value credentials as they prepare to fight against the dominance of Dixons in a rapidly changing market. In a defining week for the electricals market, Comet was sold for just £2 to private investment firm OpCapita only two days after Best Buy Europe decided to cut its losses and shut its 11 UK big-box stores. OpCapita managing partner Henry Jackson said Comet must re-establish its reputation for value – its original appeal – among consumers.

Bolland and King highlight changing shopper behaviour

M&S and Sainsbury’s aim to ensure consumer demand for quality and value is effectively met. Cash-conscious consumers are changing their shopping patterns as they seek value, but are still willing to spend on quality, Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland and Sainsbury’s boss Justin King said this week. Bargain-hunting has led to an increase in promotions at M&S while at Sainsbury’s shoppers are typically putting one less item in their basket per week.

Strong sales growth at Morrisons in third quarter

Morrisons continues to deliver strong growth, with like-for-like sales up 2.4% for the 13 weeks to 30 October. Total sales excluding fuel were up 4.6% for the period, and the retailer claimed it had welcomed record numbers of shoppers, delivering growth ahead of the market.

Zetar grows sales despite bid to boost margins

Zetar has reported a 2.2% increase in group sales for the six months to 31 October despite exiting business worth millions of pounds during the period. The snacks and sweets maker grew sales to £61.7m despite having abandoned commodity business in its snacks division worth £10m a year at the start of 2011 to focus on higher-margin branded and licensed goods.

Convenience Sector tipped for growth spurt

Convenience store sales are forecast to grow by more than a quarter over the next five years, according to new research by IGD. The growth would make the convenience sector worth £42.2bn by 2016, giving it a 22.9% share of the food and grocery market – up from 21.4% this year. IGD said higher fuel prices and a growing culture of smaller basket shops were encouraging people to do more of their shopping at convenience stores.