News

Online fashion retailer Asos has turned to Marks & Spencer for again by hiring former finance director Ian Dyson.

Punch tackles debt with £375m fundraising

Punch Taverns, the debt-laden pub operator, has ended months of speculation by unveiling a £375m fundraising to reduce its debt mountain and meet a critical bond repayment next year, but it warned of continuing tough trading in the sector.

Call for pub industry competition inquiry

MPs called today for an urgent competition investigation into the pub industry amid fears that ties between pub firms and licensees were forcing up prices for drinkers.

Tie between pub companies and landlords should be loosened, says committee

MPs are expected to start a shake-up of the UK's struggling pub sector when the influential Business and Enterprise Committee publishes its report Pub Company Power on Wednesday.

Your big day doesn't have to mean a big bill

Weddings are pricier than ever, but Chiara Cavaglieri shows how to save money without sacrificing on style

The Week Ahead: Competition for Whitbread's budget hotels

Performance at the Premier Inn budget hotel chain is likely to be in focus when Whitbread, the FTSE 100- listed hospitality group, posts its preliminary results tomorrow. Until recently, demand for cheaper hotel rooms has kept Premier safe from the sharp economic headwinds that are blowing across these isles. But the picture showed signs of unravelling in March, when a trading statement revealed that lower occupancy rates at the budget business had begun to drag on group like-for-like sales.

Geronimo expands its pub chain with Punch purchases

Pubs chain Geronimo Inns has secured £10m in funding from its private equity and banking backers to buy six London pubs from Punch Taverns.

Derek Pain: Hargreaves continues to fire on all fronts

No Pain, No Gain

Investment Column: Punters need more faith in public transport

Punch Taverns; Interserve

Yule Catto latest to scrap its dividend to save cash

Yule Catto, the chemical group, is the latest UK company to scrap its dividend in the face of economic uncertainty and the need to conserve cash.

Market Report: Retail sector hit by pre-Christmas discounts

Home Retail Group, the owner of the Homebase home improvement chain, slumped to the bottom of the Footsie last night as the retail sector turned lower amid growing concern about the impact of the flood of discounts on the high street.

Market Report: Morgan Stanley calls time on Punch Taverns

Punch Taverns closed down more than 15 per cent after it was suggested that a sharp fall in profits and the resulting covenant breaches might trigger a major restructuring that could leave the stock, worth 106.25p last night, trading at 10p.

No Pain, No Gain: Don't be fooled - dividends are risky business

In these bleak, uncertain times, some of the traditional rules that govern investment decisions should be unceremoniously tossed out of the window. What were once regarded as invaluable guidelines, such as dividend yields and price earnings ratios, are now often completely useless.

Woolworths shakes up its management

The pick 'n' mix retailer Woolworths has shaken up its management structure with a string of senior departures and new hiring, in an attempt to turn around its ailing retail operation under its newly appointed chief executive.

Short-sellers turn on pubs and retailers

Short-sellers barred from betting against financial services companies have instead stepped up their targeting of the UK's biggest pub companies and retailers as they try to cash in on the deteriorating consumer outlook.

Punch scraps its dividend but claims fall in sales is slowing

Punch Taverns scrapped its final dividend yesterday "to conserve cash" in the face of ongoing economic uncertainty, putting stocks across the sector on the skids.

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