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The weekend newspaper round up: January 8 to 9, 2010

A round up of the best fashion business stories from the weekend’s newspapers.

  • The snow could have cost Marks and Spencer up to £70m in sales, analysts at Deutsche Bank have estimated, according to the Financial Times. Other analysts suggested that the hit could be about £50m. Deutsche Bank has also lowered its forecasts for 2010-11 pre-tax profit by 2%, from £720m to £705m, with the impact of the snow offset by a lower staff bonus.
  • However data from BDO found that the arctic weather that swept the UK in December barely dented high street sales raising serious questions over retail chiefs’ claims that the snow was to blame for lacklustre performances, the Sunday Telegraph reported. Experts believe that bad performances could be more to do with deeper-rooted structural issues at some of the chains rather than the weather. Figures from BDO showed that year-on-year sales of all products, excluding food, dropped by just 0.5% over the 5 weeks to January 2.
  • Major retailers are expected to embark on a round of job cuts in the coming months to combat rising costs and the threat of commodity price increases, the Mail on Sunday reported. Tesco is expected to embark on a review of head office costs around its year-end next month after a management reshuffle. Marks & Spencer’s new finance director, Alan Stewart, who gained a reputation for cost-cutting during his time at WH Smith, is expected to launch an operational review as soon as this month.
  • Tracey Samuel, owner of babywear brand Bonnie Baby, told The Guardian she has been unable to pin suppliers to quotes without placing an order. She said: “The prices [suppliers] are quoting are making me fall over. They are 30%-40% higher than last year… We have been unable to confirm the [garment’s] price until the day we put our order in. Suppliers say: ‘this is today’s price’.”

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