Money Briefs: Clothing sales surge for Marks & Spencer

Clothing sales surge for Marks & Spencer

LONDON • Marks & Spencer (M&S) Group reported its best clothing sales in more than five years, delivering a confidence boost to the British retailer after a year marred by management overhauls, store closures and plunging shares.

Same-store sales in its clothing and home division rose 2.3 per cent in the third quarter ended Dec 31, the retailer said yesterday. The timing of Christmas boosted sales in that business unit by 1.5 percentage points, M&S said. The shares rose as much as 5.7 per cent in early London trading.

The better-than-expected clothing sales indicate that M&S chief executive Steve Rowe's price cuts and efforts to improve availability of popular lines are winning shoppers back.


Uniqlo parent posts big quarterly profit

TOKYO • Japan's Fast Retailing, the owner of clothing chain Uniqlo, reported its biggest quarterly operating profit in two years as a cost-cutting drive and gains from a weaker yen helped offset tepid demand at home.

A persistent economic malaise and a lack of wage growth have eaten away at consumer confidence in Japan, prompting retailers to offer better products for less and cut expenses.

Fast Retailing has also opted to expand overseas, including China, South-east Asia and the United States, to ride out the gloom.

Its operating profit for the three months ended Nov 30 was 88.59 billion yen (S$1.11 billion), up 16.7 per cent from a year ago and the highest since the same period in 2014.


New twist to China Vanke power tussle

HONG KONG • Property developer China Vanke, embroiled in a high-profile corporate power tussle for over a year, said yesterday that its No. 2 shareholder China Resources Group is considering a major plan.

The developer said in a statement that it had been informed on Wednesday that China Resources and a unit were "formulating a major plan involving its holdings in Vanke but are still finalising the details". China Resources said that it had nothing further to add at this point.

The announcement marks the latest twist in the battle for control of China's biggest listed developer, more than a year after Baoneng Group emerged as Vanke's largest shareholder.

Vanke shares closed at 20.4 yuan on Wednesday before a trading halt. Vanke's shares were suspended from trade in both Hong Kong and Shenzhen earlier in the day.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2017, with the headline 'Money Briefs'. Subscribe