The Sunday Telegraph reported that Debenhams chairman John Lovering was mulling stepping down from his role at the department store business. The newspaper said that he was likely to step down with the next year. The pre-close trading statement due tomorrow is expected to show that the chain is performing reasonably well, according to the newspaper.
The Financial Times reported that Icelandic prosecutors are considering new fraud charges against investment vehicle Baugur, which owns UK retailers including House of Fraser. It says that a file has been sent by Icelandic police's economic crime department alleging tax fraud between 1998 and 2002.
According to The Sunday Express, 30 senior executives have been axed at Marks & Spencer as part of the shake which saw chief executive Sir Stuart Rose appointed to the combined role of chairman and chief executive. The newspaper said that that the cuts were a result of the merger of four head office teams responsible for property, marketing, merchandising and store design, into two groups.
The Independent on Sunday said that Marks & Spencer chairman Lord Burns will launch a charm offensive on investors riled at Stuart Rose's appointment as executive chairman. The newspaper said that investors have complained that the new position goes against the Combined Code on Corporate Governance. Lord Burns said he had briefed most of M&S's shareholders before the statement last Monday.
The Observer reported that angry investors are demanding meetings with Marks & Spencer following the management reshuffle. It reported that fund manager Threadneedle said it was seeking a meeting with the company, and that other investors including Royal London Asset Management and Co-operative Investment were concerned about the changes. The newspaper quoted former Next chairman David Jones saying he did not think it was generally correct to merge roles of chairman and chief executive.
The Sunday Times said that M&S risks aggravating discontent shareholders by giving chairman Lord Burns a £450,000 pay-out when he steps down from his role as non-executive chairman. The payment, which will be finalised in the next few weeks, along with a small pay rise for chief executive Stuart Rose when he steps into the new role, is expected to anger shareholders already annoyed by not being consulted on the management changes, according to the newspaper.
The Mail on Sunday said that Next was expected to warn of a tough year ahead as it announces an increase in pre-tax profits by 3% to £495m this week.