Kwik Save to spend pounds 18m on consultants

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The Independent Online
Kwik Save, the beleaguered discount-supermarket group, will pay pounds 18m in consultancy fees over the next two years as it conducts a radical overhaul of the ailing business, writes Nigel Cope.

Most of the fees will be paid to Anderson Consulting, which was called in by Kwik Save last year to undertake a strategic review. The firm will be paid pounds 7m this year. "It seems Andersen are running the business," one analyst said.

The costs were revealed as Kwik Save announced a poor set of figures for the first half with flat underlying profits, a sharp fall in sales and declining customer numbers.

The shares fell 17p to 291p, close to their five-year low, as the market took fright at the company's current trading statement. This showed same store sales in the seven weeks are 6 per cent lower than the same period last year.

"It's pretty horrendous," said Frank Davidson, food retail analyst at ABN Amro Hoare Govett. "I think they are in a vicious circle of decline. There are deep structural problems."

Investment column, page 24