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Britain's Co-operative Group rues worst year in mutual society's 150-year history

LONDON - The Co-operative Group, Britain's largest mutual society, on Thursday posted a 2.5 billion-pound ($3.04 billion) loss for 2013, a year its chief executive called "disastrous." The Co-op is owned by its 7 million members and is active in everything from food to funerals to financial services. But it ran into financial trouble after its banking unit developed a 1.5 billion-pound black hole following its 2009 acquisition of the Britannia Building Society.

Tesco seeks Asia pick-up after fresh profit setback

Supermarket giant Tesco announced a second drop in annual profits in a row on Wednesday, leaving Britain's biggest retailer hoping that recent expansion into India and China can offset weakness in Europe. The world's third-biggest supermarket group said its trading profit dropped 6.0 percent to £3.31 billion ($5.54 billion, 4.0 billion euros) in the year to late February, compared with its performance in 2012/13.

Supermarket Tesco announces annual net profit of £974m

Supermarket group Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, on Wednesday announced a massive jump in annual net profits, but its underlying performance showed a fall. Tesco said profit after tax stood at £974 million ($1.63 billion, 1.18 billion euros) in 2013 compared with £28 million for 2012. But pre-tax profits dropped almost 7.0 percent to £3.05 billion, the company said in a statement. bcp/cc

Supermarket Tesco reports profit setback, focuses on Asia

Supermarket giant Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, announced a second drop running in underlying annual profits on Wednesday as it hopes that recent expansion into India and China can offset weakness in Europe. The copany, the world's third-biggest supermarket group, said its trading profit dropped 6.0 percent to £3.31 billion ($5.54 billion, 4.0 billion euros) in the year to late February, compared with its performance in 2012/13. But annual profit after tax though soared to £974 million from £28 million.

Debenhams to cut back promotions after profit drop

By Neil Maidment LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's No.2 department store operator, Debenhams <DEB.L>, said it would cut back on criticized promotions, improve its online business and boost ranges with retailer tie-ups to try to reverse a slide in profits. The firm has endured a tough 12 months, issuing its second profit warning in less than a year in December and losing its finance chief after a long-held strategy of slashing prices failed to boost its crucial Christmas sales.

Chinese group acquires Britain's House of Fraser

Chinese conglomerate Sanpower has agreed to buy a majority stake in British department store House of Fraser in a deal worth £480 million (578 million euros, $800 million), according to a joint statement. Sanpower, a Nanjing-based conglomerate listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, will acquire an 89 percent stake in the 165-year-old British brand through its Nanjing Cenbest subsidiary. Sanpower's founder and chairman, Yuan Yafei, said the deal was the largest overseas acquisition in the retail sector by a Chinese business, and a "landmark transaction".

Tesco's problems mount as profit set to fall again

By James Davey LONDON (Reuters) - Tesco <TSCO.L> is expected to report a 6 percent fall in annual profit next week, a second straight decline which would pile the pressure on boss Phil Clarke who is struggling to turn around Britain's biggest retailer.

Top executive exit throws Co-op's future into fresh doubt

By Kate Holton and Matt Scuffham LONDON (Reuters) - A former government minister appointed only four months ago to revive Britain's Co-operative Group <42TE.L> quit on Thursday, becoming the second experienced executive to walk away and throwing into fresh doubt the future of the 170-year-old mutual.

Royal Bank of Scotland says will pay government £1.5bn

Britain's state-rescued Royal Bank of Scotland will pay the government £1.5 billion in a complex deal paving the way for the return of shareholder dividends. The bank has agreed to pay the Treasury the equivalent of $2.5 billion or 1.8 billion euros in a move also aimed at aiding its eventual return to the private sector, it said in a statement late on Wednesday. RBS, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, remains 81-percent state-owned after it was rescued with £45.5 billion of taxpayers' cash during the global financial crisis.

RBS ends dividend agreement with British government, clearing way for privatization

The Royal Bank of Scotland said Wednesday that it will pay 1.5 billion pounds ($2.52 billion) to end an agreement with the British government, in a move that will help clear the way for the bank to be privatized. The British government rescued the bank during the financial crisis, leaving it 81 per cent owned by taxpayers. RBS has been working toward becoming privatized by the middle of 2014.
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