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The Weekend Round-Up

The best of the business news from the weekends papers.

A host of leading private equity firms are interested in buying handbag brand Radley & Co, which is expected to fetch £150 million according to the Mail on Sunday . Phoenix Equity Partners, which bought the firm for £45 million last year, has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to seek buyers and opening bids are expected within weeks. The interested parties include Barclays Private Equity, Change Capital Partners, Lion Capital, HgCapital and Exponent.

After making an abortive foray into international markets a decade ago, Marks and Spencer is gearing up to expand abroad again under the charge of chief executive Stuart Rose, The Telegraph reported on Saturday. The retailer unveils half year results tomorrow and Rose is expected to announce plans to rebuild its presence in Europe, China and India.

Bonham Industries, the private investment vehicle of Laura Ashley's chairman K.P.Khoo, has raised its stake in the company to 24.92 per cent, or 183.42 million shares, after buying 100.000 shares at an average price of 25 and a quarter pence The Times reported.

The Independent on Sunday said that Marks and Spencer will warn of slowing consumer spending amid fears that a UK slowdown could lead to a full blown recession at its half year results tomorrow. Chief executive Stuart Rose will say he is 'cautious' about M&S's prospects for the rest of the year and will support calls for an interest rate cut when the Bank of England Monetary Committee meet on Thursday.

The Observer reported that its child labour exposé on American retailer Gap has prompted the store group to draw up plans to label its products 'Sweatshop Free'. The ambitious pledge comes in response to The Observer's investigation which last week exposed one of the firm's Indian suppliers employing children as young as 10 to make garments for GapKids.

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