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The weekend newspaper round up: October 31 to November 1 2009

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

Next, Marks & Spencer and Primark

Next and Marks & Spencer are expected to post weaker than expected sales due to warm weather.

Next is expected to report that sales are down 4% when it posts its third quarter update on Wednesday, while Marks & Spencer is expected to announce a pre-tax profit of £285m for the first half of the financial year, compared with £297.8m for the same period last year.

The Sunday Express reported that City analysts expected the retailers to blame the recent spate of unseasonably warm weather for the drop, as shoppers delay buying knitwear and outerwear.

However, Primark is expected to report like-for-like sales up 7% when it releases its full-year figures on Tuesday.

 

Marks & Spencer

M&S staff could receive £60m bonus.

If Marks & Spencer reports better-than-expected results for the full year in March, its 70,000 staff could be in line to share in a £60m bonus, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

City analysts are expecting M&S’s full year profits to be between £575m and £600m, which means staff bonuses would total between £50m and £60m or approximately £850 per staff member.

 

Postal Strikes

Union leaders told the Royal Mail they want an agreement soon to stop disruption to Christmas post.

The Sunday Mirror reported that Union leaders told Royal Mail that they wanted an early agreement in the postal dispute to minimise delays to Christmas deliveries. Two more 24-hour postal strikes are scheduled to take place over the next week and a half.

The two strikes have been organised for Friday, November 6 and Monday, November 9 and are expected to involve all of the Communications Workers Union’s 121,000 postal members, although efforts were continuing this weekend to reach a deal over pay.

 

Baugur

Baugur chief Jon Asgeir Johannesson has been ordered to raise £35m to save the remains of his business empire.

Johannesson is struggling to keep hold of Iceland’s biggest retailer, Hagar, which he bought from Baugur before the investment firm went bust last year. Icelandic bank Kaupthing has demanded he put up more equity against the loan it gave him, according to the Sunday Times. Hagar owns the Nordic franchises for fashion retailers Zara, Karen Millen and All Saints. Baugur previously invested in several UK retailers including House of Fraser and Mosaic Fashions (now Aurora Fashions), which runs Oasis, Warehouse, Coast and Karen Millen.

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