Monday, 1 October 2007

News for the weekend

JJB Sports' chief executive is planning changes to the chain after admitting that his daughters could find "nothing to buy outside footwear" in the company's shops. The company reported a 38% fall in pre-tax profits to £11.2 million on sales of £365.3 million, down 4.3%.

Mr Ronnie, chief executive admitted: "If I go into one of our shops with my daughters, who are 18 and 21, they won't buy anything in our stores, other than footwear. We need to capitalise on the younger consumer. What we are doing at the moment is we are missing trends."

Mr Ronnie wants to increase the proportion of own-brand sales to 25% from around 5%. He admitted that the company had been over-reliant on sales of replica kit and said “I want the company to be in a position to perform regardless of whether England qualifies for the European football championships next year.” Last year's figures were boosted by heavy sales of replica kit in the run-up to and during the World Cup, despite England's performance. (source: Independent)

A fee of £80 million is likely to be paid to advisers on the Barclays €67.5 billion (£47 billion) bid for ABN Amro. The biggest losers, if ABN does reject Barclays, as most analysts expect, will be the six investment banks advising on the deal. Banking sources believe that the advisers stand to lose at least £400 million and possibly as much as £800 million in fees. These banks are BarCap, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Cazenove, Deutsche Bank and Lazards. If the deal fails, these investment banks will also lose out in the City’s all-important mergers and acquisitions league tables for this year.

ABN shareholders will decide on Thursday whether to accept the Barclays bid or the €71.1 billion offer from the RBS consortium. ABN and Barclays entered into exclusive negotiations in March but a month later RBS contacted the Dutch bank to indicate its own interest. (source: Timesonline)

Tesco, the supermarket giant will reveal that sales at Tesco Direct, have soared by 25% compared with the same period last year, since the launch of a 1,000-page catalogue earlier this month. The group, which reports interim results this week, is also expected to announce that Laura Wade-Gery, chief executive of its online grocery division Tesco. com, will become chief executive of Tesco Direct as well, replacing Steve Robinson who left earlier this month.

Tesco is also expected to confirm that it will roll out Tesco Direct internet kiosks in 10 new nonfood Homeplus stores planned for the UK. The retailer believes that placing Tesco Direct online kiosks within stores will prove a winning combination. (source: Timesonline)

A new feature is set to be introduced on the highly successful Facebook in order for users to group their friends and control the information they see, in a move that puts it in competition with some of the start-ups that have been developing applications for the wildly-popular social networking site.

In May this year, Facebook opened up its site for developers to create applications that work within it. Companies that build applications get immediate access to a potential user base of the site's 43m active users. The most popular of these applications is Slide's Top Friends, which allows users to access their best friends more easily. It could be rendered useless by the new feature.

Michael Arrington notes on technology blog TechCrunch: "This will shut down at least one 'start-up' we've been tracking that was creating this exact feature as an application." More than 40,000 developers have requested data from Facebook to create applications. Almost 5,000 applications have launched.

Facebook has created a $10m (£5m) fbFund to pay software developers to build new applications, raised by the site's primary backers Accel Capital and The Founders Fund. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is thought to be negotiating the sale of a minority stake in the company to Microsoft for $500m (£245m), valuing Facebook at $10bn. Google is also said to be interested in the site. (source: Telegraph)

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