Sunday 17 December 2017

Hot drinks are toast of the high street as Spar rolls out coffee deal

SPAR and Eurospar have signed new deals with coffee companies Insomnia and Tim Hortons, meaning in-store coffee offerings will be rolled out to 30 more stores in 2014. This is a €360,000 investment for the chain. Insomnia coffee is already available in 141 outlets and Canadian brand Tim Hortons is available in 184.

Sales of hot drinks at Spar and Eurospar have jumped by a third in the last four years and 8pc in the last year alone. The company predicts this growth will remain strong in the next 12 months, reaching an annual €23m by the end of next year compared to €19m now. The run-up to Christmas is traditionally the busiest time for sales of the product.

"The hot beverage category has proved to be a resilient offering over the last few years, in spite of reduced disposable income and tightening household budgets," said Leo Crawford, group chief executive of parent company BWG. "The growth figures for Spar and Eurospar confirm that what people consider to be small luxury goods, such as premium coffee, not only survive but actually thrive in straitened economic times."

Milk-based coffee, such as cappuccinos and lattes, makes up the majority of the chain's hot drink sales (50pc) followed by black coffee (26pc), tea (15pc) and hot chocolate (9pc).

20,000 SPANISH APPLY FOR JUST 400 IKEA JOBS

RETAIL

A FLOOD of jobseekers crashed Ikea's Spanish servers twice this week after some 20,000 people applied for just 400 positions at the Swedish furniture makers' new store in Valencia.

Applications for positions at the new store, due to open in 2014 in Alfafar, a small town outside the city of Valencia, collapsed the company's servers within hours on Monday prompting Ikea to install a back-up, which also failed.

Almost one-third of all the unemployed in the 17-country eurozone reside in Spain, and while the government said November's registered jobless figures showed an improvement, net job creation is not expected until next year.

"The traffic we saw in the first two days was four times greater than any other job application process previously opened by Ikea in Spain," said Rodrigo Sanchez, spokesman for Ikea. The company has closed the site to new applicants until they find another solution.

Spain has been left with almost six million unemployed after a decade-long property boom crashed in 2008, sending shockwaves through its economy, from construction to retail to banks.

The economy grew for the first time since early 2011 in the third quarter, while a survey looking at the services sector, worth around two-thirds of output, showed its strongest growth in over three years in November.

ABERCROMBIE CHIEF UNDER FIRE FROM INVESTORS

BUYOUTS

ABERCROMBIE & Fitch's chief executive is in the spotlight after a new dissident investor came out against the US company's moves for a buyout.

Investment firm Engaged Capital is now urging the board to replace chief executive Mike Jeffries (69) or consider a sale.

The news drove shares of the company – speculated as a buyout target for years – up the most since May yesterday morning.

Abercrombie investors have lost more than $4bn (€2.9bn) in market value in less than three years as the stock posted the worst performance of any consumer company in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

The company's margins have plunged as its fashions failed to keep up with teens' preferences.

With Mr Jeffries's employment contract expiring February 1, "the board has an important opportunity to set a new direction for the company and reverse the years of disappointment", said Glenn Welling, chief investment officer of Engaged Capital.

"A sale of the company to a private equity buyer may represent the best option for shareholders.

"However, as we have learned through discussions with industry insiders and private equity firms, Mr Jeffries's presence represents a major stumbling block to a transaction," he added.

WALMART PAYS LEGAL BILLS FOR ITS EXECUTIVES IN CORRUPTION CLAIMS

PROBE

MORE than 30 Walmart executives are now being represented by lawyers in a US probe into foreign corruption allegations at the firm, an unusually high number that shows the depth of the investigation.

The US Department of Justice is investigating whether Walmart paid bribes in Mexico to obtain permits to open new stores there, and whether executives covered up an internal inquiry into the payments. The department is also looking into possible misconduct by the world's largest retailer in Brazil, China and India.

The US government has brought in a number of senior Walmart executives for questioning in recent months, including officials from corporate headquarters in Arkansas. Walmart confirmed that it is footing the legal bills for executives touched by the corruption probe. While it is common for companies in bribery investigations to cover executives' legal costs, experts said the large number of attorneys hired by Walmart suggests prosecutors are aggres-sively testing information that the company has turned over, and may be considering cases against multiple individuals.

Irish Independent

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