POUNDLAND’S owner has admitted it “lost focus” and is now having to rapidly scale back its ambitions overseas following a second profit warning.
Pepco yesterday ousted a second top executive in as many weeks, blaming management errors for its recent sales slump of more than 10 per cent.
Managing director Anand Patel was shown the door just a week after chief executive Trevor Masters’ abrupt exit. It left chairman Andy Bond to rue the retailer “trying to do too many things at once”.
Poland’s Pepco, which owns Poundland in the UK and has stores across Europe and Ireland, was listed on the Warsaw stock exchange in 2021 with a £5billion valuation.
After losing a whopping 20 per cent yesterday, its value has halved.
The low-cost retailer should be thriving during tough economic times as more shoppers hunt for bargains. In Poland, the situation is even harder than in the UK, with the first real wage dip in living memory.
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But former Asda boss Mr Bond, who rejoined Pepco as chairman earlier this year after a break due to ill health, told The Sun: “Because people are struggling to buy essentials, their ability to buy the bits we sell is extremely constrained.
“But we were too slow to react. We tried to do too many things at once. A retailer needs to make sure its core store business is healthy and the heartbeat of any business — and we were doing too many things that were not the core business.”
Poundland boss Barry Williams steps up into Mr Patel’s job.
Mr Bond said he would now review Pepco’s ambitions to open 550 new shops and all company spending. He said: “We will still open shops, but we will be more focused, which is a euphemism for doing more with less.”
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Poundland recently bought 71 shops from bust trader WILKO and plans to reopen ten this weekend.
Mr Bond said he had no regrets about buying the stores and said Poundland was still growing sales.
He said: “It is of course disappointing to downgrade our forecasts, but we are still growing and cash rich.”
Zuck's A.I spec-tacular
MARK Zuckerberg is out to put Meta’s rivals in the shade as he tries on the firm’s Ray Ban sunglasses that have built-in artificial intelligence.
The tech billionaire showed they can instantly translate foreign languages, so someone looking at a restaurant menu in French could read it in English.
Meta is not the only firm looking to develop new technology with AI.
Open AI, the company behind ChatGPT, is working with Sir Jony Ive on a range of gadgets.
Brit Sir Jony is best known as the guru behind Apple’s iPhone design.
The company revealed that ChatGPT could now trawl the internet to help someone with a range of tasks, such as booking a holiday or buying a bike.
Winter chill at Ryanair
RYANAIR has dashed hopes of cheap winter holidays — after it said it will have to cancel flights due to plane shortages.
The low-cost airline had been relying on US aircraft maker Boeing to deliver 27 new planes following a boom in bookings — but now expects to receive only 14 in time.
Ryanair said yesterday that cancellations from the end of October would affect routes from the East Midlands, Dublin, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and Germany. The airline will tell passengers by email over the coming days and offer alternative flights or full refunds.
Boss Michael O’Leary said: “It is deeply regrettable that production problems in Wichita, and in Seattle, have yet again delayed Boeing’s contracted deliveries to Ryanair this winter.”
Ryanair purchased 300 737-Max 10 aircraft in a bumper $32billion deal in May. The airline is still targeting passenger numbers of 300million by 2037.
Fears of China dip
FEARS about the health of the Chinese economy were stoked yesterday after the chair of Evergrande was arrested.
The property developer’s shares were suspended earlier this week amid reports of a regulatory investigation into Hui Ka Yan — formerly Asia’s richest person.
His arrest will complicate the company’s rescue efforts to refinance its debts of more than £250billion. China’s real estate sector accounts for almost a third of its economy.
888 losing run
BACKING the favourite is paying off for punters after bookie firm 888 issued a profits warning.
The William Hill owner said “customer friendly” sports results had hit its takings.
Man City’s recent six wins in a row was highlighted as one example. It comes just days after Ladbrokes owner Entain also blamed punter success for a recent sales dip.
Shares in 888 slumped by almost 15 per cent yesterday, after the firm admitted that sales would be ten per cent below expectations.
UK mergers and takeovers have hit a 14-year low, figures show. The value of deals has tumbled by 45 per cent to £144billion so far this year, compared to last. The biggest has been the £5billion takeover of Dechra Pharmaceuticals.
THE owner of the All Bar One and O’Neill's bar chains has toasted a rise in sales.
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Mitchell's & Butler, which also owns Harvester pubs, said trading had risen 10 per cent after a strong summer. In further good news, it also reported inflationary pressures were easing and costs would be at the bottom of expectations.
The boost comes as a report found that UK pubs support 936,000 jobs. They also deliver £15billion in taxes and add £28billion to the wider economy, said think tank Localis.
- BARCLAYS up 0.96 to 159.08
- BP up 2.60 to 541.10
- CENTRICA down 3.10 to 154.65
- HSBC up 5.00 to 644.90
- LLOYDS down 0.31 to 44.26
- MARKS & SPENCER down 1.60 to 235.30
- NATWEST down 2.80 to 234.40
- ROYAL MAIL down 5.30 to 258.10
- SAINSBURY’S down 2.30 to 250.30
- SHELL up 31.00 to 2,660.50
- TESCO down 0.70 to 264.40
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