Friday, 5 October 2007

Topshop will go at it alone

He is desperately trying to break into the US market with his Topshop chain, but it appears as if Sir Philip Green will have go at it alone after being unable to find a suitable partner. The billionaire entrepreneur (wealth of £8 billion) has been looking for sites in New York for his flagship fashion chain for several years. Sir Philip said “I had yet to sign up locations for stores but would definitely work directly without a franchise or licensee after a series of discussions with potential partners.” The latest detail on Sir Philip’s widely trailed ambitions for America, a notoriously difficult market to crack, comes as the entrepreneur revealed plans to open at least six Bhs stores abroad over the next year and ten standalone Tammy stores – the teen label he bought from the French company Etam. The expansion will include Bhs’s first store in India, which is due to open in Bombay in December, as well as stores in the Middle East and Romania. All 75 of Bhs’s international stores are run via franchisees.

Bhs revealed that underlying sales were down 1.5% in the year to March 31 and remained level with the previous year over the summer. Last year Bhs bounced back from an horrendous 2005 to lift operating profits by 3% in the year to March 2007. Total sales rose 1.4% and operating margins rose 0.1 percentage points. In the previous year Bhs had been forced to cut prices in an attempt to stabilise the business after operating profits dived 54% to £52.4 million, and underlying sales slumped by 7.1%.

Since the end of March Sir Philip has spent more than £20 million on refurbishing 13 stores. A further six will be completed by the end of this month and a further 20 to 25 by the end of March. Sales at refurbished stores have increased by 12% ahead of the rest of the chain. (source: Timesonline)

For Disney resort fans, a big surprise is coming especially if you have seen enough of other resorts and want to explore the world some more. Disney plans to build a family resort in Hawaii, but it will not be a Pacific island Disneyland. The company is planning to turn 21 acres of oceanfront property on the island of Oahu into an 800-room luxury hotel complex.

Disney has several resorts near its theme parks in Florida and California but has never built a resort that will stand on its own. Disney spent $144 million (£72 million) to buy the land and the resort is expected to open in 2011. Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts said "this resort hotel will give our guests another way to visit an exciting part of the world with a brand they trust,”

Disney Resorts operates 38 resort hotels with more than 35,000 hotel rooms worldwide. (source: BBC News)

Today Barclays will accept defeat in the battle to buy ABN Amro. After battling for six months to complete the world's biggest banking takeover, it is finally over for them.

The bank has since May been locked in combat with a consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland to buy the Dutch bank, but Barclays' share-based offer has lagged RBS's largely cash bid all summer and stands about 10 billion euro short of the consortium's 71 billion euro (£49bn) offer. It is understood Barclays will therefore formally concede today.

Barclays' bid lapsed yesterday and the consortium's will end today. With the offers closed, it is up to the banks to tot up the number of acceptances from ABN's shareholders. RBS is unlikely to put out a full statement until Monday at the earliest. (source: Independent)

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