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Weekend newspaper round-up: May 9-10

The best of the fashion business-related headlines from the weekend’s newspapers…


Debenhams is planning to raise up to £500 million in a rights issue in the next few weeks to cut its debt, according to The Financial Times.

The newspaper said that Debenhams wanted to raise between £300m and £500m, after unveiling better than expected interim profits. Debenhams has £927m of debt.

Debenhams declined to comment to the newspaper but the company appointed advisors at the beginning of the year to look at restructuring its debts. Debenhams is looking into the possibility of waived covenants and extended debt repayment schedules, as well as the rights issue.

The Times wrote that Credit Suisse analyst Tony Shiret downgraded his rating of the department store business from “neutral” to “underperform”.

Shiret questioned the market’s positive stance on Debenhams which has seen its share price rise over the last few weeks.

Shiret said that much of Debenhams’ moves to cut its debt announced two weeks ago, came from a one-off £50 million payment for sub-letting a big lease, delaying its pension fund reivew and halting a store-opening programme.

He said: “The company is acting as though under severe financial pressure but is being valued as if all is set fair for a sustained profit recovery. We think this is wrong.”

Marks & Spencer

The Daily Telegraph reported the employment tribunal of the Marks & Spencer employee who was sacked for gross misconduct after talking to the media about plans to cut redundancy pay for thousands of staff.

Customer loyalty manager Tony Goode leaked an internal memo about the changes to force the company to change its mind, the tribunal was told. Goode says that the memo was not marked as confidential and he did not intend to embarrass or damage M&S. M&S said that Goode knew he was going against its code of ethics.

Dawson International

The Scotsman reported that two directors were ousted from textile company Dawson International by shareholders on Friday. Dawson International chairman Mike Hartley was removed and a resolution to re-elect senior independent non-executive director Steven Russell was defeated.

The changes leave the company under the control of investor Peter Gyllenhammar, who used his interest in Leeds Group, which is Dawson’s biggest shareholder, to force the move. Non-executive director David Bolton, who represents Leeds Group on the Dawson board, was elected interim chairman.

Vittorio Radice

The Observer had an interview with Vittorio Radice, chief executive of Italian department store business Rinascente, in which he also talked about his time Marks & Spencer.Click here to read the full interview.

Trevor Bish-Jones

The Daily Telegraph carried an interview with former Woolworths chief executive Trevor Bish-Jones about his new venture, recruitment website



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