American Apparel purchased at Auction for approximately $88 million in cash

Canadian apparel maker Gildan Activewear has reportedly won a bankruptcy auction to buy U.S. fashion retailer American Apparel for approximately $88 million in cash. The purchase of the LA-based brand is now subject to approval from a bankruptcy court, which Gildan expects to be issued on Thursday. Under the deal, Gildan will acquire all intellectual property rights related to the American Apparel brand as well as manufacturing equipment – but the purchase does not include any of the brand's 110 retail stores. After the company's turnaround plan failed, American Apparel filed its second Chapter 11 in November, having amassed apporximately $177 million in debt. According to Raymond James analysts, the deal seems promising for the Canadian manufacturer, saying “With Gildan dominating in the basics category of the $4.5 billion print-wear market, the fashion and performance categories represent particularly attractive growth opportunities.”

Sainsbury’s beat forecasts for Christmas trading, Argos shines

Elliott Brown

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com – – Wed, 11 Jan, 2017) London, UK – –

Britain's Sainsbury's (SBRY.L) beat forecasts for Christmas trading in its core supermarket business and was upbeat on prospects for its newly acquired Argos general merchandise division after that also surpassed expectations.

Sainsbury's, Britain's second biggest supermarket chain, joins fourth-ranked Morrisons (MRW.L) in reporting better-than-expected Christmas trading and its shares gained as much as 7 percent on Wednesday.

Industry data has indicated that market leader Tesco (TSCO.L), which gives an update on Thursday, has also fared well, showing shoppers were prepared to splash out on food over the holiday season.

A strong Christmas will come as a relief to the big four players in the industry following several years of turmoil sparked by the rise of German discounters Aldi [ALDIEI.UL] and Lidl [LIDUK.UL].

Those two challengers have also reported robust festive numbers as the overall market grew and reaffirmed their commitment to ultra-low prices.

Some analysts said the going could get tougher for Sainsbury's as price pressures rise in Britain.

“We remain of the view that challenges will be on the increase for both sides of the group, given a combination of sourcing pressures and a more challenged consumer,” said analysts at Jefferies, who have a “hold” stance on the stock.

Sainsbury's CEO Mike Coupe said the grocery market remained intensely competitive with the impact of the devaluation of sterling since last June's Brexit vote still uncertain.

Analysts have also expressed concern about a potential squeeze on consumer spending this year as inflation begins to erode real earnings growth.

Coupe said Sainsbury's was well placed to navigate external pressures because it has invested in areas of the business that are still showing strong growth, namely convenience and online, fresh food, clothing and general merchandise.

“We have reasons to believe…We have confidence in our strategy,” he told reporters.

ARGOS DELIVERS

Sainsbury's shares have increased 8.5 percent over the last year, well below rises of 35 percent and 50 percent for Tesco and Morrisons respectively.

However, while Tesco and Morrisons are both in turnaround mode after going through disastrous periods, Sainsbury's market share has remained broadly stable over the last five years.

Sainsbury's stock is relatively cheap compared to rivals. It has a forward price earnings ratio of around 12.8 times, compared to around 21 for Tesco and Morrisons, the biggest discount in at least a decade.

Enhancing its online logistics and general merchandise range, Sainsbury's last year bought Argos-owner Home Retail for 1.1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion).

Some investors fear the Argos takeover unwisely increases Sainsbury's exposure to higher import costs given sterling's depreciation. However, Coupe said Argos's Christmas trading had vindicated the deal.

“If anything the performance over Christmas has reinforced, if not added, to our confidence in our ability to execute, he said.

Argos' like-for-like sales increased 4.0 percent, well ahead of analysts' consensus of 1.5 percent.
Sainsbury's said sales at its grocery stores open over a year rose 0.1 percent, excluding fuel, in the 15 weeks to Jan. 7, the third quarter of the company's financial year.

Although only a modest increase, that was ahead of analysts' average forecast of a fall of 0.8 percent and a second quarter decline of 1.1 percent.

It was also Sainsbury's first positive like-for-like sales performance since the fourth quarter of its 2015-16 year.

Sainsbury's highlighted strong sales growth from its online groceries and convenience operations over the quarter, up over 9 and 6 percent, while sales of clothing and general merchandise were also up 10 percent and 3 percent.

Sainsbury's plans to introduce around 250 Argos outlets into its supermarkets over three years. It currently has 30, including 10 that have been operating for over a year.

Interim finance chief Ed Barker said he was comfortable with analysts average pretax profit forecast for 2016-17 of 573 million pounds, which would be a third straight year of decline.

By James Davey

 

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn discusses the new Rogue Sport

Carlos Ghosn, chairman, president and chief executive officer at Nissan, discusses the new Rogue Sport, autonomous driving, electric vehicles and changes for the auto industry under the incoming Trump administration. He speaks with David Westin on “Bloomberg Markets” from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.

Just Eat investors slim down their shareholdings as growth slows

Food Wine
aJ Gazmen/Flickr

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Tue, 10 Jan, 2017) London, Uk – –

Just Eat, the takeaway app, failed to meet the City's appetite for growth over Christmas, prompting investors to slim down their shareholdings.

The company said in its annual update ahead of full-year results in March that overall orders across its territories were up 36pc in 2016, on a like-for-like basis. In the UK, the FTSE 250 company's main market, order growth was 31pc.

Analysts were disappointed by the figures, despite Just Eat's statement that it was in a “strong position to deliver full-year results in line with our previous financial guidance”.

Most analysts were expecting Just Eat to beat its guidance, however.

Barclays said the overall growth implied that Just Eat had fallen 400,000 orders short of its its expectations of 137 million. The miss was caused by a bigger than expected dip in takeaway demand over the Christmas period, the analysts claimed, and a further slowdown in the company's rapid expansion.

The non-UK takeaway business caused particular concern, with estimates suggesting orders had not grown sequentially for several quarters and that the end of 2016 was well below expectations.

Just Eat shares were trading down more than 6.5pc on the back of the update. David Buttress, its chief executive, said the board had continuing confidence in the business going into 2017.

Jefferies said that despite the disappointment there were “no real knocks” to the case for investment in Just Eat from the update. It said the company's slowing growth was “just a reality check as the guidance upgrade conveyor belt comes to a stop”.

Competition in the food delivery market has been intensifying, with venture capital-backed rivals to Just Eat – including Deliveroo and Uber – making headway.

Just Eat, which made its stock market debut nearly three years ago at 260p per share and now stands at more than double that, has responded by seeking to buy up smaller players.

Last month it announced a takeover of Hungry House, once its main challenger in the UK, for up to £240m. The deal is yet to face scrutiny from the Competition and Markets Authority.

By Christopher Williams

Scrapping Mexico The Plant Is a Business Decision: Bill Ford

Ford Chairman Bill Ford discusses the Detroit auto industry, Donald Trump’s trade policies, the president-elect’s nomination of Elaine Chao for Transportation secretary and the company’s decision to scrap plans for a new plant in Mexico. He speaks with David Westin on “Bloomberg Markets” from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan

Amazon and Forever 21 considering an acquisition offer of American Apparel LLC

Amazon and Forever 21 are two of the companies considering an acquisition of American Apparel LLC. The Los Angeles-based “Made in the U.S.A.” company is set for a bankruptcy auction that “will determine the future” of the company's manufacturing plant in California. An acquisition offer made by a company would have to top Canadian apparel maker Gildan Activewear Inc, which has already placed a $66 million bid. Gildan would keep some production in California but would probably move some manufacturing to low-cost countries.

Next shares fell more than 10pc after ‘difficult’ Christmas trading

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Wed, 4 Jan, 2017) London, Uk – –

Next shares fell more than 10pc in early trading after it warned that its profits would be at the lower end of its guidance after “difficult” Christmas trading.

The high street retailer added that it expected 2017 to be another challenging year due to a squeeze on consumer spending and the fall in the value of the pound, which will hit its costs.

Next shares immediately tumbled to £42.31 following the gloomy update, in which it reported a further decline in sales in the fourth quarter of 2016. It said a difficult trading session meant its end-of-season sale was down 7pc on the same period in 2015.

The FTSE 100 company had previously said its profit before tax for the year to January would be between £785m and £825m, but this morning revealed a revised central guidance of £792m.

Total sales in the year to December 24, including markdown sales, were up 0.4pc on the previous year. But full-price sales fell 1.1pc on last year.

The group had enjoyed better-than-expected sales in the summer but now anticipates the “cyclical slow-down in spending on clothing and footwear” to continue into 2017.

The prices for garments it sources are set to increase following the devaluation of the pound, Next said, adding: “We may see a further squeeze in general spending as inflation begins to erode real earnings growth.”

Sales for the year to December 24 were down 4.3pc in Next retail but directory sales were up 3.6pc.

“Next is well placed to weather a downturn in consumer demand,” it said. “Our balance sheet remains robust and our net debt is forecast to close the current year at around £850m, this is more than covered by the value of our Directory debtor book, which will be approximately £1bn at the end of January 2017.”

Analysts at Jefferies said: “Next's disappointing Christmas trading leads to an even more downbeat outlook for 2017/18.

“Offering negative earnings growth and a lower special dividend, it is difficult to see any near-term upside here.”

By Sam Dean

Ivan Rogers Britain’s EU ambassador quits before Brexit negotiations

(qlmbusinessnews.com via newstalk.com – – Tue, 3 Jan, 2017) London, Uk – –

Brexit Vote
Rareclass/flickr

Britain's EU ambassador has unexpectedly quit just months before the formal Brexit talks are due to get under way.

Ivan Rogers, who was not due to leave his post until October, has announced he would step down from his post early.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she would trigger formal negotiations for leaving the EU by the end of March.

Rogers, who was appointed to his Brussels role by David Cameron in November 2013, is one of Britain's most experienced diplomats on EU affairs.

While his resignation has been welcomed by Eurosceptics in providing a clean break from the previous administration ahead of the crunch talks, his loss of expertise during what are likely to be complex and fraught negotiations has been described by others as “a body blow”.

Rogers sparked controversy at the end of last year after he privately warned the British government a post-Brexit trade deal could take a decade to finalise and even then may fail to get approved by member states.

He faced criticism at the time from prominent Leave campaigners who accused the “scarred” diplomat of “gloomy pessimism”.

But Downing Street had come to his defence arguing he was simply passing on the views of other EU nations and was “doing the job of an ambassador”.

Confirming his departure, a UK government spokesman said: “Sir Ivan Rogers has resigned a few months early as UK Permanent Representative to the European Union.

“Sir Ivan has taken this decision now to enable a successor to be appointed before the UK invokes Article 50 by the end of March. We are grateful for his work and commitment over the last three years.”

Responding to his resignation, Hilary Benn, Labour chair of the cross-party Brexit select committee, said: “This has clearly taken everyone by surprise and it couldn't be a more difficult time, to lose someone of his experience and insight.”

Highlighting the timescale set by Mrs May to trigger the formal Article 50 process for leaving the EU, Mr Been said finding a replacement should be an “urgent priority” for the government.

UKIP donor and Leave.EU chairman Arron Banks said: “This is a man who claimed it could take up to 10 years to agree a Brexit deal.

Rogers was awarded a knighthood last year for services to British, European and international policy.

UK government announced plans on Monday to build 17 new towns and villages

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com – – Mon, 2 Jan , 2017) London, UK – –

Chinese Developers
Gareth Williams/www.flickr.com

 

Britain's government announced plans on Monday to build 17 new towns and villages across the English countryside in a bid to ease a chronic housing shortage.

The new “garden” communities – from Cumbria in the north to Cornwall on England's southern-most tip – would be part of a scheme to build up to 200,000 new homes, housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell said in a statement.

That would still be a fraction of the million houses the government has said it wants to see built from 2015-2020 in an already densely populated nation.

Successive governments have promised to tackle a shortage that has seen house prices spiral in London and other major cities, out of the reach of many buyers.

But developers have complained about a lack of available land and strict planning laws that outlaw development on “greenbelt” land around existing towns and give local councils the power to block construction.

Britain asked local authorities last year to say if they were interested in having new garden developments – based on a 19th century idea of housing growing populations in self-contained towns surrounded by countryside.

Barwell announced the locations for the first time on Monday and said the state would loosen planning restrictions and give 7.4 million pounds ($9.10 million) to help fund the building.

The three newly announced towns, with more than 10,000 homes each, will be built near Aylesbury, Taunton and Harlow, the government said.

The new garden villages, including Bailrigg in Lancaster, Long Marston in Stratford-on-Avon, Welborne in Hampshire and Culm in Devon, would each have 1,500-10,000 properties.

Together with seven other garden towns already announced, the new developments could provide almost 200,000 homes, Barwell said.

by Kylie MacLellan

Investors of RBS asked bank to create investor committee to avoid repeat of crisis-era mistakes

Royal Bank of Scotland
morebyless/flickr.com

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com – – Fri, 30 Dec, 2016) London, UK – –

More than 160 investors in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) have asked the bank to create a committee of shareholders to improve its corporate governance and help avoid a repeat of mistakes that led to its 45 billion pound ($55 billion) bailout.

ShareSoc and UKSA, two shareholder groups, will submit the proposal at the bank's next annual meeting in May, with the aim of improving the lot of long-term investors who have seen RBS shares fall more than 95 percent since their 2007 peak.

The shareholders said their aims were to improve the representation of individual retail investors in how the bank is run and to avoid a repeat of past mistakes.
“A dominant CEO; concealing the true financial position of the company from investors; proceeding with a reckless acquisition; and then publishing a rights prospectus which concealed the problems faced by the company,” Mark Northway, Sharesoc Chairman, said in describing those mistakes.

RBS could not immediately be reached for comment.

For the resolution to pass, it would need at least 75 percent of shareholder votes cast at the meeting. That means the government, which holds 71 percent of shares in the bank, would need to support it or abstain for it to go through.

A spokesman for UKFI, which manages the government stake, declined to comment on how UKFI might vote.

Shareholder committees are largely unheard of in Britain, though are a staple of corporate governance in Sweden, where they nominate who should sit on a company's board.

RBS is still in the throes of a restructuring, which includes asset sales, job cuts and tackling multi-billion dollar charges to settle litigation and pay regulatory fines for past misconduct.

The bank said this month it will pay more than 800 million pounds to settle claims by four investor groups that the bank misled them during a 12 billion pound fundraising at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

RBS along with other banks also faces an investigation by the United States Department of Justice over its sale and pooling of toxic mortgage securities in the run-up to the crisis.

 By Lawrence White

Britain to New York flights set to launch costing less than £60

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.businessinsider.com via standard.co.uk — Thu, 29 Dec, 2016) London, Uk —

Flights between Britain and New York costing less than £60 are set to be introduced in the new year.

Budget airline Norwegian plans to slash the price of flights from Edinburgh to smaller airports in the Big Apple to as little as £56, it was announced last week.

Tickets will be sold on flights to airports other than JFK using six Boeing 737MAX aircraft which burn less fuel than other long-haul planes, the Times reported.

Earlier this month the airline revealed that it would cut US-bound services leaving Gatwick from 34 to 22 flights a week from next year.

British Airways cut flights to the US from the UK earlier this year.

Flights on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft will start at £135.

Fiona Simpson

Billionaire Tilman Fertitta on identifying the next billion-dollar idea

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.finance.yahoo.com — Wed, 28 Dec, 2016) London, Uk —

Imagine coming up with the next Uber, Airbnb, Instagram or Snapchat. How do you know when you have thought of the next billion-dollar idea?

Hospitality mogul and star of CNBC’s “Billion Dollar Buyer” Tilman Fertitta, who meets with entrepreneurs nationwide looking for the most innovative products to add to his portfolio, told Yahoo Finance’s Seana Smith in the video above the key characteristics he looks for when identifying the next big business idea.

“Look at edgy products,” said Landry. “There are so many young millennial entrepreneurs out there right now coming up with different products…. You’re looking for somebody that can scale up, that has a unique product that people want. It can be anything. Being in casinos, restaurants, hotels, aquariums and amusement parks, we buy everything, so we’re just looking for that one unique product.”

Fertitta has a proven track record of success over the last four decades. He’s the sole-owner of dining, entertainment, gaming and hospitality group Landry’s, which is comprised of more than 500 properties including the Rainforest Café, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Chart House and McCormick & Schmick’s. Fertitta’s a self-made billionaire with an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion.

Don’t be fooled though, it takes much more than just a “unique” product to turn a billion-dollar idea into a prosperous business. Fertitta says key traits that separate successful entrepreneurs from those that fail include passion, perseverance and effective management.

“It’s really about knowing all facets of your business,” he said. “Know your numbers and never give up. And when you get kicked down, keep picking yourself up.”

Seana Smith

Boss Rewards 800 Staff with Caribbean Cruise

Employees at an Iowa cabinet company are about to get a sunny reprieve from the winter cold, all thanks to the boss. All of the more than 800 employees of Bertch Cabinets in Waterloo, Iowa will get a free trip to the Caribbean next month. company president Gary Bertch said “We leave January 8, We've got four charter aircraft that will be flying directly to Miami Sunday and staying at a nice five-star hotel. Then on Monday, we'll bus over from the hotel to the port and load up on the ship.” Bertch told his employees the trip was a reward for them after the company meet its goals for the year.

Danny Meyer’s New Union Square Cafe Location

Union Square Cafe is the restaurant that led Danny Meyer to open a slew of hits including Gramercy Tavern, 11 Madison Park and Shake Shack. Meyer opened Union Square Cafe in 1985 and the restaurant thrived until a major rent increase forced him to relocate. Bloomberg Pursuits restaurant editor Kate Krader sat down with Danny Meyer at Union Square Cafe's new Manhattan location as he was putting on the finishing touches before opening night.