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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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Read more Specialty Retailer Mails New Catalog & Pays Tribute to Moms Everywhere

Category : Stocks, World News

STILLWATER, MN–(Marketwired – May 7, 2013) – In a tribute to moms everywhere, specialty gift retailer Buyer at Large is mailing its first ever print catalog just in time for Mother’s Day. The catalog is being sent to select recipients and is full of unique and meaningful gifts for women. In addition to the catalog, Buyer at Large has also created a mother’s day gift guide to help shoppers choose the perfect gift for mom.

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VIDEO: Meat scandal fuels consumer concerns

Category : Business, World News

The news that horsemeat was used as a substitute for beef in some products sold in the UK has made many shoppers reconsider where they buy their meat products from.

Continued here: VIDEO: Meat scandal fuels consumer concerns

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Shopper numbers ‘fell last month’

Category : World News

The number of shoppers on UK High Streets fell last month, according to latest footfall figures from the British Retail Consortium.

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Horse meat burgers shock consumers – video

Category : Business

Shoppers express their disgust at the news that some beef products sold in Tesco contain horse DNA

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Marks & Spencer chief faces a less than happy new year after Christmas turkey

Category : Business

Chief executive Marc Bolland could be under threat inside head office as he tackles problems on the shelves

They say 13 is lucky for some. After a miserable Christmas, Marc Bolland, the embattled chief executive of Marks & Spencer, will need more than luck to get through 2013 with his job intact.

The Dutchman’s fate is likely to rest on his performance over the next 12 months when he must bounce back from a miserable Christmas in clothing while trying to drag the UK’s favourite knicker seller into the 21st century.

Things did not get off to a good start last week when leaked news of M&S’s poor festive clothing sales forced him to rush out a financial statement late on Wednesday evening. The incident added fuel to rumours that Bolland is facing rebels within his own head office, as well as issues with knitwear and pants.

A string of management changes and restructurings appear to indicate an unhappy ship, with rumours that Bolland tends to micromanage his staff.

What’s more, the 128-year-old retailer posted an unexpectedly bad 3.8% fall in underlying sales of clothing and homewares, the main factor in a 1.8% fall in overall underlying sales for the group in the three months to 29

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VIDEO: Why zombies are good for business

Category : Business

High Streets and town centres have faced tough times with shoppers moving out of town and online, but could special events tempt people back?

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John Lewis reports best ever Christmas sales

Category : Business

Department store chain took £157.8m last week – 26.5% up on the same week a year ago

John Lewis has shrugged off industry reports of a lacklustre holiday season for retailers as it reported its best ever Christmas sales and the start of the Boxing Day sales drew record crowds.

Andy Street, managing director of the department store chain, said a series of bumper sales weeks totted up to a Christmas that was the “best in its history” as shoppers flocked to its stores to buy gifts such as iPads, coffee machines and handbags. Street said the sales picture had been “marginally better” than last year when the country was still in recession but confidently added: “December was a little stronger for everybody but I would predict that nobody will be near our numbers.”

Last week sales at the almost 150-year-old retailer smashed through £150m for the first time with takings at its 39 stores and website hitting £157.8m, a 26.5% increase on the same week a year ago. The employee-owned retailer’s sales have exceeded £570m over the last month, which included three record weeks.

“This is a story of John Lewis outperforming the high street,” said Street. “2012 has been very encouraging for us.” It had been a “tablet Christmas”, he said, with strong sales of gadgets such as the iPad and Kurio but also a late run on traditional gifts such as perfume, candles, purses and cufflinks.

With many store groups banking the bulk of their profits at Christmas, retail experts fear the tough economic environment continues to weigh on consumer confidence and hold back spending.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said that despite John Lewis’s strong figures it “hasn’t been a boom time for UK retailers” with many Britons spending the same amount as last year: “There are big variations in individual retail performances but, when the final sums are done, total spending is likely to be up modestly on last year though only broadly in line with shop price inflation. Sales were hard-fought and often driven by discounts.”

Dickinson said the Christmas rush had come even later than usual as hard-pressed customers held out for bargains. The frugal mindset helped explain the huge Boxing Day crowds with some prospective shoppers setting out in the middle of the night to beat the rush.

At the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, the first bargain hunters arrived at 1am to secure pole position for the Next sale. The fashion giant does not discount outside its official end-of-season sales, so attracts crowds with more than 2,000 customers waiting by 6am, when the retailer opened for business.

At Meadowhall in Sheffield, which attracted an estimated 150,000 visitors over the day, lines started forming at 2.30am as shoppers vied to be first through the door when stores such as Debenhams, House of Fraser and Marks & Spencer opened.

The crowds were even bigger in the West End of London, where an estimated 800,000 shoppers – buoyed by an influx of high-spending Chinese shoppers – joined the hunt for bargains in famous stores such as Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty. More than 2,500 people queued round the block to be first into Selfridges on Oxford Street, which was offering discounts of up to 75% on designer labels such as Alexander McQueen, Prada, Céline and Yves Saint Laurent. In the first hour of trading, sales had reached £1.5m, putting Selfridges on course for record takings at its four UK stores. The New West End Company, which represents retailers in the major shopping district, predicted £50m would be taken over the course of the day.

With its “never knowingly undersold” policy, John Lewis is forced to cut prices to match deals in competitors’ stores, but Street suggested there had been less discounting before Christmas: “Never knowingly undersold always costs us but I can say categorically it has not cost us more this year. Our discounting is in response to others so I think there was less.”

With the internet casting a bigger and bigger shadow over the high street, retailers are reporting huge increases in online sales this year as widespread ownership of tablets and smartphones changes the way Britons shop. John Lewis said that in the weeks before Christmas a third of its sales were logged via its website while on Christmas Day the number of visitors increased 24%.

Jeremy Fennell, the head of e-commerce at Currys and PC World, also reported a huge spike in traffic, with a 50% increase in visitors to its websites on Christmas Day (although shopping peaked between 7pm and 8pm suggesting Britons logged off to enjoy the EastEnders and Downton Abbey Christmas specials). “We are seeing more customers hitting our sites to take advantage of the top sale offers. However, we still expect high footfall in stores from Boxing Day onwards,” said Fennell.

VIDEO: Shoppers hunt for Boxing Day bargains

Category : Business

Millions of shoppers have flocked to stores across Britain for record-breaking Boxing Day sales.

Excerpt from: VIDEO: Shoppers hunt for Boxing Day bargains

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Sale shoppers ‘set to spend £3bn’

Category : World News

British shoppers are expected to spend almost £3bn in the Boxing Day sales, experts predict.

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Retailers kickstart Boxing Day sales … on Christmas Eve

Category : Business

Sales shoppers meet last-minute panic buyers as UK shops kick-off traditional discounts two days earlier

Forget Boxing Day, the sales are on now. Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Currys/PC World have forgone tradition and will start their sales on Monday.

M&S began its online sale at noon on Christmas Eve, John Lewis kicked off its sale at 5pm and Currys/PC World at 7pm. M&S has even bought the “Christmas Eve sales” search terms on Google in an attempt to attract shoppers.

The dash for bargains will continue on Christmas Day, with online retailers predicting a record 82m visits, a 32% increase on last year, according to Experian. Amazon will begin its sale a day earlier than normal on Christmas Day at 9am.

The last-minute dash to the high street is also expected to be much busier than in previous years. Many consumers were unable to finish all their shopping on 23 December – normally the busiest Christmas shopping day – because of Sunday trading laws limiting shops to just six hours trading.

To get round the ban M&S reopened more than 60 of its stores to allow customers to buy up essentials before Monday’s crush of last-minute panic buyers.

The high street will be at the busiest it has been all year at around lunchtime and early afternoon on Monday, according to experts at Ipsos Retail Performance (IPR), which measures shoppers footfall.

“This December we have seen unusual patterns of shopping activity and buyer behaviour which is now culminating in a mad dash to the shops by many consumers – and very possibly men – who have left some if not all of their gift buying for family and friends until the last minute,” said Peter Luff, president of IPR.

“Over the past week, shoppers were out in their numbers across the UK, but the extra day ahead of Christmas will mean that many consumers will be out shopping for last-minute gifts and other items associated with the holiday season, such as food and drink.”

Luff said high street shopping activity for the past week is up 17% on the previous week, but is still 2.2% down on 2011.

The British Retail Consortium said spending in the run-up to Christmas had been “acceptable but not exceptional”. The retail industry trade association said spending over the final weekend before Christmas is expected to ring in at £5bn.

Waitrose said on Sunday it was its busiest ever Sunday shop, with twice as many customers flocking through the aisles as the previous Sunday. “But [there's] still more shopping to do [on Monday], with many people unable to make it to the supermarket during shorter Sunday trading period – Waitrose expects Monday’s sales to beat those of last Christmas Eve, despite last year’s Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday.”

The supermarket said Waitrose lorries have delivered 1.4m cases of stock each day on the last weekend.

Sainsbury’s reported its busiest-ever hour in terms of customers served from midday to 1pm on Sunday, while 35 branches opened at midnight and will trade until 6pm on Monday.

A million visitors were expected in London’s West End during the three-day period from Saturday to Monday, during which more than £100m was expected to be spent.

The Bluewater shopping centre in Kent was also anticipating a surge in sales on Monday as Saturday’s footfall was up 14% from the previous week.

However, almost 140 firms are facing the threat of closure, according to restructuring firm Begbies Traynor.

Richard Dodd, of the BRC, said there would “undoubtedly” be more high street chains that fail to cling on after Christmas.

The creeping forward of Christmas sales to Christmas Day and before has alarmed Church leaders. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said: “Christmas Day is a time to be together with the family, to focus on the children and to have a great time together. This day is precious. We are now in danger of the gadgets taking over our lives and we are not in control of them.”

Steve Jenkins, a spokesman for the Church of England, urged people to make time to go to church and have a family lunch on Christmas Day.

“What really matters is that people make time to go to church, to have a family Christmas lunch, to open presents with their families – and maybe spend a bit of time online spending their new Christmas vouchers,” he said.