“What we will do, because we’ve got the financial wherewithal, we’ll carry it through to next year,” Bason told Reuters.
Sky News in Britain reports that Primark stores in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will follow later in the month, whenever the go-ahead is granted by the authorities in those nations.
All UK sites were shut in March as the coronavirus lockdown forced high streets to effectively shut down.
Carrefour expands in Taiwan
French retailer Carrefour has agreed to buy food retailer Wellcome Taiwan from Hong Kong’s Dairy Farm, making it the number two player in Taiwan’s convenience stores market.
The transaction, with an enterprise value of €97 million ($158.5 million), covers the purchase of 224 stores, as well as a warehouse and some other property assets and is expected to close by the end of the year, Reuters reported.
Wellcome Taiwan’s turnover last year was approximately €390 million ($637.22 million).
Carrefour, which currently operates 137 stores in Taiwan, including 69 convenience stores under the Market banner, is the country’s fifth largest retailer.
Dairy Farm currently has 199 Wellcome stores with an average sales area of 420sqm – and 25 Jasons, with an average sales area of 820sqm.
The Dairy Farm stores trading under the Wellcome banner will be converted to the Market format, and those trading under the Jason’s brand will be converted to the Carrefour format.
While it expands in Taiwan, Carrefour is retreating from the highly competitive Chinese market where, last year, it sold 80 per cent of its loss-making operations to electronics retailer Suning.com.
H&M shutters 95 US stores
Stockholm-based H&M, the world’s second biggest fast fashion retailer, has temporarily closed 95 of its 600 stores in the US because of the unrest in cities following the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25.
The company joins a growing list of retailers, including Target and CVS, that have temporarily shuttered some stores amid protests, some of which have devolved into violence and looting following clashes with police, USA Today reported.
In a statement, H&M said: “The recent killings of more members of the black community in the US leave us devastated and heartbroken. Their lives, and the lives of all black people taken by violence, mattered.”
The statement, signed by CEO Helena Helmersson, said H&M was committed to taking tangible steps to challenge racism and support colleagues, customers and communities.
H&M also said it would donate US$500,000 to US civil rights and law organisation the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, civil rights advocacy group Color of Change and the American Civil Liberties Union, Reuters reported.
Turmoil puts Tiffany takeover in doubt
The US$16.2 billion Tiffany takeover by luxury goods group LVMH appears in doubt as falling sales, store closures and domestic unrest take their toll.
The New York-listed jeweller’s share price tumbled 9 per cent after Women’s Wear Daily reported that LVMH board members had held a special meeting in Paris to discuss the bid.
LVMH issued a statement saying it would not buy shares on the market, where they are currently trading at less than the price agreed when the offer was accepted last November.
Reuters has reported, however, that LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault is exploring ways to reopen negotiations in an attempt to reduce the price.
“While Arnault now has concerns about overpaying for Tiffany, he still believes in the deal’s strategic rationale,” Reuters reported. “Tiffany will give LVMH a bigger share of the lucrative US market and expand its offerings in jewellery, the fastest growing sector in the luxury goods industry.”
But now, given the parlous state of the US economy, the LVMH board is reportedly questioning whether the jeweller will be able to meet its debt obligations once the takeover is complete.
Amazon sued over worker conditions
A group of Amazon warehouse employees has sued the online retail giant, alleging that an employee at the Staten Island distribution centre, Barbara Chandler, brought the virus home to a family member who died after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, Bloomberg reported.
Chandler is one of three workers filing the lawsuit in New York. The lawsuit claims that employees “were explicitly or implicitly encouraged to continue attending work and prevented from adequately washing their hands or sanitising their workstations”.
The plaintiffs, however, are not seeking damages for illness or death. The lawsuit is instead mainly asking for an injunction requiring the company to adhere to public health guidance.
The suggestion that working conditions at the facility contributed to a specific third party death distinguishes this lawsuit from other coronavirus-related complaints filed in recent months against Amazon, which has seen its sales surge during the lockdown period.