THE long-standing boss of Sainbury’s has been forced to deny he is quitting amid reports the supermarket has lined up headhunters to seek his replacement.
Reports yesterday claimed that the UK’s third-biggest grocer has asked headhunter firm Egon Zehnder to sound out possible candidates to eventually replace its chief executive Justin King, as part of its succession planning.
But King, who has spearheaded the retailer’s growth through the middle of the consumer spending squeeze, said: “I am not planning on going anywhere.”
Debt–cut New Look turns to China
Fashion chain New Look is targeting China’s burgeoning consumer economy after agreeing a deal to cut some of its debt.
The group is reportedly raising £800 million and will use half to pay down some of the most onerous parts of its £1.1 billion debt pile.
That will leave plenty of money for investment, including plans to open a 20-strong string of outlets in China starting next year.
The group is also expected to close about a sixth of its 600 UK stores as leases expire, and refurbish others.
Insurers brace for abuse claims hits
Insurers Aviva and RSA are bracing themselves for a multi-million pound hit from sexual abuse claims against the BBC relating to the late presenter Jimmy Savile.
The broadcaster is said to have taken out policies underwritten by the two British blue chips to insure itself against legal claims during the years in which Savile carried out his attacks.
Police have already recorded about 450 complaints against Savile, and insurance trade magazine Post estimated the abuse claims could total £30 million.
Pret’s parent plans £100m Côte buy
Bridgepoint, the private equity owner of upmarket sandwich-bar chain Pret a Manger, is set to snap up the Côte restaurant brand for £100 million.
It is said to be the frontrunner in acquisition talks with Côte’s owner, Richard Caring, after he hired advisers last year to facilitate a sale of the 40-strong bistro chain.
Bridgepoint owns a number of well-known consumer brands, including high street retailers Fat Face and Hobbycraft, while multi-millionaire Caring owns the Ivy in London.