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Weekend Roundup: January 17-18, 2009

The top fashion stories from the weekend’s newspapers…

The Observer reported that JJB Sports will hold talks tomorrow about the future of its lifestyle division, which includes the Original Shoe Company and Qube chains.

Executive chairman Sir David Jones told the newspaper that “all options” were a possibility, including closure or sale of the chains.

Marks & Spencer’s managing director in China, Richard Sweet, has left the company just three months after the retailer launched a flagship store in Shanghai, the The Sunday Times and the The Sunday Telegraph reported.

An M&S spokesman told The Sunday Times that the exit was not related to the performance of the retailer’s recently opened store in Shanghai, despite reports that shoppers had been disappointed by the shop.

The newspaper also reported that JJB chief executive Chris Ronnie risked increasing investor anger because he is trying to float a business on the Plus Market, while trying the save the troubled sportswear business.

Ronnie is a director of Marlwood, a company which wants to raise £300,000 from a share placing to invest in companies specialising in licensed products.

The newspaper says that move will anger shareholders, coming at a time when the retailer is fighting to turn itself around and repay loans to banks.

The Mail on Sunday reported that Ronnie is expected to step down as chief executive of JJB Sports after an investigation into his activities.

The newspaper says that Barclays ordered lawyers to carry out the investigation, spearheaded by executive chairman Sir David Jones. The investigation came after it emerged that Ronnie’s 27.5% stake in the company had been seized by the UK arm of Icelandic bank Kaupthing, after breaching the terms of a loan, to buy the stake in 2007.

It also reported that the supermodels used by M&S to front its advertising campaigns will disappear from promotions, as the retailer uses less glamorous images in a more frugal shopping environment.

Lizzie Jagger will not feature in future campaigns, and although a Myleene Klass representative insisted her contract had not finished, the newspaper says that M&S wants to put the models on short term contracts.

Selfridges chief executive Paul Kelly told the The Sunday Times that profits for the year to January 31 at the department store business, would be “millions of pounds” ahead of last year’s £84m, following a strong Christmas performance.

The Financial Times also reported that JJB Sports chief executive Chris Ronnie’s future was in doubt, following troubled times at the sportswear business.

The Times on Saturday reported that Primark has acknowledged that one of its suppliers used illegal immigrants and paid salaries below the minimum wage, while Peacocks is also investigating its use of the supplier.

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