The Financial Times and The Sunday Times reported that Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has built up a stake of up to 10% in property company Shaftesbury, which owns much of London’s Carnaby Street. It is understood that Ashley, along with property investor Paul Kemsley, have used contracts for difference to build up their holding in the company which has a market capitalisation of more than £700 million.
The Observer said that there is a north-south divide on UK high streets, with declining consumer confidence further north. According to figures from analyst SPSL total shopper numbers rose 0.8% in January. However Scotland and Northern Ireland saw a steep decline of 3.3% in shopper numbers, as concerns about the economy grow. Shoppers in London and the South East were up 4.1% and up 6.7% in Wales and the South West.
The Observer also reported that more than 100 firefighters were needed to contain a fire which destroyed part of Camden Market in London on Saturday night. The blaze tore through shops and wooden stalls at the Camden Canal Market on the north side of the market complex. Nearby houses and flats were evacuated and the police sealed off roads. There were no reports of casualties.
The Sunday Express reported that Zara-owner Inditex will launch its younger chain Pull and Bear in the UK with a flagship in London's Oxford Street.