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The Weekend Paper Round-Up

Here is a round-up of fashion news headlines from the weekend’s papers.

The most prestigious management team in British private equity faces the humiliation of being ousted unless performance improves in the crucial run-up to Christmas according to The Mail on Sunday. One of Debenhams’ biggest shareholders told the newspaper that unless chief executive Rob Templeman dramatically improved performance investors would force a change management.

The Mail on Sunday also said that Blacks Leisure has approached Adrian Wright, former head of menswear chains Moss Bros and SRG, to be a possible replacement for ousted chief executive Russell Hardy. The outdoor retailer is understood to have contacted Wright, who is also a former director at Blacks chain Millets, but is considering other candidates too. Financial director and chief executive Keith Flemming is also thought to be in the running.

The Financial Times said JJB Sports is to scrap its 165 store-in-store deals with Nike and Adidas and start selling more own-brand sportswear labels in an effort to stem falling profits and sales. Chris Ronnie, the new chief executive, said he wanted JJB to go back to becoming “serious about sport”, arguing that the sports chain had lost its way.

“I think we have been hampered because we don’t know who we want to appeal to,” he said, reflecting on a 38 per cent fall in profits during the first half of its financial year. Ronnie, who worked under Mike Ashley, the founder of rival Sports Direct, said his first steps would be to improve womenswear lines. He has signed a five-year deal with the Champion label, one of the top five brands in the US, and is in talks to land another three own-label lines. He has also opened a training academy and will be putting in a new staff incentive scheme ahead of Christmas.

The Sunday Times said that supermarket giant Tesco will reveal that sales at its non-food website, 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, will become chief executive of Tesco Direct, replacing Steve Robinson who left earlier this month. Tesco will confirm it plans to sell several hundred clothing lines over the web from October.

Meanwhile The Sunday Telegraph said that Tesco is expected to report its slowest quarter of domestic sales growth since 2000 this week when it unveils its half-year results. Analysts fear the slowdown could prompt Tesco’s shares to fall sharply on Tuesday. The lacklustre figures will also prompt questions about whether Tesco’s unrelenting decade-long growth in the UK is finally starting to slow. It also comes amid continuing signs of strain in the consumer economy.

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