What's fresh

Retail Round Up

Strong online sales drive John Lewis growth

John Lewis sales rose 11.4% last week driven by a “cracking” online performance. Johnlewis.com recorded a 47% increase in sales in the week to January 21 with fashion sales up 71%, electrical and home technology up 48% and homewares up 34%.  The website enjoyed a “stunning” performance on beds and Special Buy laptops. John Lewis reported an increase in sales at 16 of its stores including Liverpool which was up 11%.

Waitrose and Boots pare back product partnership

Waitrose and Alliance Boots have scaled back a partnership to sell each other’s goods in their stores. The tie-up, launched in March 2010, was seen at the time as an opportunity for the grocer and the health and beauty giant to bolster their offers and compete more fiercely against the big four supermarkets. However, Waitrose is to stop selling the Boots lines. A Waitrose spokeswoman said: “The Boots health and toiletries trial currently running in 13 Waitrose stores will be phased out from January 2012. The products will be replaced by Waitrose own-label or branded products.

Amazon eyes chilled food offensive

Etail giant Amazon is gearing up to sell chilled foods in a move that would shake up the supermarket industry. Amazon is “extremely well advanced” in launching its offer, according to sources, and is in the process of hiring chilled food buyers. It is also thought to be testing trial delivery routes. Amazon already sells ambient and a limited range of fresh produce items in the UK but a move into chilled would fire a salvo against established online grocery players including Ocado.

Starbucks to invest £8m in London stores in time for 2012 Olympics

Starbucks plans to invest £8m to revamp 70 London stores ahead of the Olympics in a bid to cash in on increased visitor numbers to London. The coffee chain reported a 9% rise in global sales in the three months to 1 January. Total revenue in the three months to 1 January increased 16% to $3.4bn (£2.2bn) while profit jumped 10% to $382.1m (£243.7m).

Tesco faces ad ban for misleading £5 promo

Tesco is facing possible censure for its £5 loyalty voucher promotion, introduced earlier this month in a bid to reverse a decline in sales. The Advertising Standards Authority has received 11 complaints so far that the promotion is misleading and is assessing whether there are grounds to launch an investigation.

Morrisons snaps up Best Buy stores to grow Kiddicare

Morrisons has bought 10 of the 11 former Best Buy stores to drive the expansion of its Kiddicare baby stores. Morrisons will invest £15m to convert the stores to carry the full Kiddicare product range, and integrate it with the existing online offer. Morrisons is asking customers to decide which location to open first through a social media initiative. The first store is expected to open by autumn this year.

Billionaire Buffett buys up £500m more of Tesco

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has beefed up his holding in Tesco by a further £500m.
His Berkshire Hathaway investment vehicle has increased its share in the UK’s largest supermarket from 3.21% to 5.08%.
The move by the investment legend comes as a confidence booster for Tesco, which last week reported a 2.3% fall in like-for-like sales over the key Christmas period. Those results caused its share price to tumble by more than 15%.

Record market share for Colgate-Palmolive

Sales jumped 7.5% to$16.7bn at Colgate-Palmolive last year.
The toothpaste-to-soaps giant said its figures were boosted by a 3.5% increase in global unit volumes, as well as a 1% increase in pricing. The Sanex business, which Colgate-Palmolive acquired last year from Unilever, also boosted full-year sales and volume growth by 1%.
Market share also soared to record highs, with global market share for toothpaste up 0.3 share points to 44.3%. Global market share for manual toothbrushes hit 31.7% - up 0.5 share points versus a year ago.

Unilever signs major chocolate supply deal

Unilever has signed a major new supply deal with chocolate giant Barry Callebaut.
Under the terms of the deal, Unilever will double the volumes of chocolate it takes from Barry Callebaut.
Following the agreement, 70% of the chocolate Unilever uses will come from the company. The duo already co-operate on Unilever’s Magnum ice cream brand.