Full-year profits slumped 14% at French retailing giant Carrefour. The world’s second-largest retailer said profits dropped to €371m in the year to 31 December 2011, on sales up just 1% at €81.3bn. Its operations in Greece reported a loss, while the company also admitted it was mothballing plans to roll out its Planet hypermarket format in Europe.
“In 2012, we will capitalise on our strengths while exercising strict cost and cash discipline to adjust to the environment in which we are operating,” said Lars Olofsson, chairman and CEO of Carrefour.
Asda is buying GAAT, the largest supplier of clothing for its George fashion label. GAAT is currently part of the Türkmen Group and works with more than 80 manufacturers to manage garment production on behalf of Asda in locations such as Turkey, Sri Lanka and Egypt.
“This is a natural and exciting next step for the business,” said George executive managing director Andrew Moore. We have developed an excellent relationship with GAAT over the last decade. They have built a formidable business that has played an integral role in the growth and success of George.”
Tesco has vowed to create 20,000 new jobs in the UK over the next two years in a bid to improve customer service. The retailer said hundreds of stores would be refreshed, with staff given extra training in areas such as fresh produce, fresh meat and bakery. The revamp would also include improving store layout and the overall shopping experience, as well as opening new stores. Tesco claimed the 20,000 new recruits would be largely made up of local unemployed people, although its figures have been disputed by critics.
Asos is to introduce a click and collect service that will allow customers to arrange delivery of orders to a network of local stores, an expansion of the online retailer’s multichannel operations.
The online fashion retailer has added the delivery facility through the CollectPlus service, which has a network of 4,500 registered local corner shops that act as secure 7 day delivery and pick up points.
Asos has long been rumoured to be mulling physical stores to provide a click and collect service to improve convenience for shoppers that find home deliveries difficult.
Morrisons says “innovative” promotions and its revamped value food range helped boost performance as the supermarket posts a rise in full-year sales and profit.
The chain reported an 8% rise in profit to £947m, up from £874m in the year to 29 January. Total turnover increased 7% to £17.7bn while store sales grew by 3.9% to £13.4bn.
Like-for-like sales increased by 1.8% and sales from stores opened during the year contributed 2.1% of total growth.
Morrisons chairman Sir Ian Gibson adds that the supermarket’s “good progress” in 2011 “demonstrates that Morrisons unique offer is in tune with the needs of consumers in these uncertain times”.
The John Lewis Partnership says increased investment in promotional activity and product and service innovation hit profits in 2011, but claims its focus on multi-channel will ensure its future success.
Operating profit at the group was 8.6% down to £393.3m in the year to 28 January. Sales across the group, however, increased 6.4% to £8.73bn.
Online sales increased 26.3% to £680.8m and account for one fifth of all sales.
During the year, John Lewis says it invested £21.3m in improving operating structures shared by Waitrose and John Lewis, that it says will improve efficiency in the future. It also invested £381m in benefits for staff.
“Our priority is to serve the multi-channel customer better than anyone else - it’s on that, and on innovation, that success in the future depends.
Tea and coffee specialist Whittard of Chelsea is to embark on an expansion drive at home and overseas following a strong Christmas performance. It aims to increase its presence in London as well as South America and Asia. Managing director Sara Halton said performance in 2012 had been “very pleasing”, building on momentum gained over the festive period. Halton, who joined the retailer last June, has a three-to five-year plan to enhance the shopping experience in the UK and increase stores overseas.
Marks and Spencer is launching a new multichannel store format with free Wi-Fi and QR codes featured throughout. The format will launch throughout ten stores and will encourage customers to connect online and discover more about the product range, from reviews to menus, whilst in-store.
Harvey Nichols has launched a box at Manchester City’s football stadium selling products from the luxury department store. The 8ft by 11ft hospitality box at the Etihad Stadium has been transformed into a shopper’s paradise with clothes, handbags and shoes from designers including Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin and Dolce & Gabbana. Guests are able to purchase goods, with a dedicated team on hand to process purchases. The box, which caters for up to 10 people, has a personal shopper to advise visitors on the latest trends and beauty therapists offering makeovers to massages.