Langton House – 07-08-2019 – PREMIUM – EasyHotel, Pernod Ricard, Naked Wines, Other:
EasyHotel, Pernod Ricard, Naked Wines, Other:
PREMIUM EMAIL – PLEASE DO NOT FORWARD:
A DAY IN THE LIFE:
We’ve made it to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia with the made-up name, and very pleasant it is too.
That’s after you get stopped at the border and obliged to buy a €15 vignette to stick underneath the one the Austrian’s obliged you to buy but Ljubljana has a pretty little river, a mad-man’s surfeit of bridges, a castle on a hill, a funicular to get you up there and more restaurants than you can shake a stick at with a large number of curious visitors from Italy, Germany and Austria (and yours truly) having a nosy around.
But at €18 or so for a standard main on the strip, we moved a street or two back and put up with a view of the back of a row of more expensive shops rather than the river. nonetheless, we where we were cheered to find large beers at €2.90 and very large beers at €3.60 or so.
So, we’ll have a quieter day today after which we’re told we’ve got to do Lake Bled and the prettier one, Lake Bohinj, beyond it. Anyway, as previously mentioned, elements of Langton are on holiday this week. Back properly next Tuesday and, for the meantime, the email could be a little bit shorter than usual. On to the news:
GENERAL NEWS – PUBS & RESTAURANTS:
Fulham Shore has announced that CFO Nick Wong bought 53,500 shares in the company at 11.845p on 5 August. Mr Wong now holds 8.96m shares or 1.56% of the company.
The Thai restaurant chain Giggling Squid has announced that it is no longer in discussions to attract external investment, after offers failed to meet the group’s expectations.
Pernod Ricard has acquired the Firestone & Robertson’s TX whiskey brand, as both value and volume sales of Amercian whiskey grow at faster rates. Paul Duffy, Chairman & CEO of Pernod Ricard North America: ‘The TX Blended Whiskey distinguishes itself as a brand poised for tremendous growth. The team at Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. have done an excellent job developing the brand, and we are keen to build on this success’.
The chief executive of Naked Wines, Rowan Gormley has told investors that he intends to list the company on the Nasdaq once the £95m sale of Majestic is completed.
Restaurant Brands International has seen its shares increasse 42% in value in the last year, as sales at Burger King rose 3.6% in Q2.
London-based bar chain ETM Group has opened Westwood Sports Pub & Kitchen at Westfield shopping centre in west London.
The restaurant booking sites OpenTable and Quandoo have agreed a deal that will see their restaurant partners to be booked across either platform.
Shake Shack has seen its revenue increase to the range of £585-590m during Q2 2019,compared to $576-582m last year. Shake Shack’s CEO Randy commented: ‘More than halfway through 2019, we are pleased to report continued strong momentum into the second quarter across all areas of the business’.
The Real Greek is set to open its 17th site in London’s Strand as the group looks to expand its prensence in the capital.
D&D London has announced it will open a restaurant and events site in Bristol within the Quakers Friars piazza. Des Gunewardena, chairman and CEO of D&D London commented: ‘Following our Leeds openings and most recently the launch of our rooftop restaurant 20 Stories in Manchester, our Cabot Circus venture in Bristol reflects our continuing commitment to expansion in the UK outside of London’.
HOLIDAYS & LEISURE TRAVEL:
EasyHotel 27% shareholder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is urging shareholders to reject a 95p per share offer for the budget hotel chain as the price is too low. Any successful bid at this level would crystallise losses for those shareholders who supported the company in its two most recent fund-raisings.
· Sir Stelios says ‘I find the offer from Icamap to be very low and I urge all other shareholders to take no action (i.e. not accept the Icamap offer) until the true value and future potential of easyHotel can be evaluated.’
· EZH has recently refocused its attention on Continental Europe. Rivals such as Whitbread, which is still sitting on some of its Costa Coffee sale proceeds, could find the chain interesting as it occupies an ultra-budget niche.
· EZH’s independent directors and the company’s advisors have recommended the bid. But they only own only 0.7% of the company.
· The bidders (Ivanhoé Cambridge and Icamap) say that easyHotel’s ownership structure makes its shares difficult to raise capital. But in proposing to take the company private, their advice to shareholders is the opposite of their own actions.
Choice Hotels International has seen adjusted net income increase 5% to $66.7m. Patrick Pacious, president and chief executive officer commented: ‘We’re especially pleased that the transformation of our flagship Comfort brand is progressing on schedule and paying off: renovated hotels are outperforming the segment and capturing more business travel while developer demand remains strong’.
Southwest’s new GDS agreement with Amadeus and Travelport will remain strictly business-to-business endeavors, as the airline continues to cut out OTAs and metasearch sites.
The Chinese tech group Tencent is set to invest in the Universal Music Group, taking a 10% stake.
START THE DAY WITH A SONG:
Yesterday’s song was One Way or Another by Blondie. Today who sang:
Maybe it’s his first time around
Doesn’t speak the language
He holds no currency
He is a foreign man
RETAIL WITH NICK BUBB:
Boohoo: The Online fashion giant Boohoo confirmed just before2pm yesterday that it had bought the struggling fashion brands Karen Millen and Coast from the administrator, for £18.2m in cash, and it made clear on the 3.30pm call with analysts that it had only acquired the Online businesses (along with c125 people) and that the remaining shops/concessions would soon be closed by the administrator, notwithstanding the previous “click and collect” model. Management were a bit vague about the size and shape of the Online business (Coast was only acquired last October, in a pre-pack deal, ironically), but they said that the combined direct sales of c£28m in y/e Feb (out of total sales of £174m) were a fair reflection of the starting point and they saw ample opportunity to improve that through better sourcing and marketing, targeting a slightly older and more affluent customer. There will
Waitrose Watch: The heatwave was still boosting picnic and barbecue sales a year ago and yesterday morning’s JLP weekly overview, for w/e Aug 3rd, revealed that Waitrose saw another dip in gross ex-petrol sales last week, of 2.7%, given the tough comp and the cooler weather this year, to get Q3/H2 off to a weak start…A year ago LFL sales were c4% up last week, on the back of the continuing heatwave. That left the last 27 weeks down by 0.6% gross cumulatively, albeit store space must be fractionally down (after the sale of five Waitrose stores in June).
John Lewis Trading Watch: The comps were soft again for John Lewis last week (c4% down LFL a year ago, despite bumper sales of electric fans, with the heatwave hitting footfall), but gross sales were still 2.7% down, disappointingly. In terms of sales mix, Fashion/Beauty sales were up by 5.8% in w/e Aug 3rd, but Electricals were down by 6.6% gross and Home sales were down by 7.1% gross. There are no new stores in the figures, but overall John Lewis LFL sales, however, are still down over the last 27 weeks (down 1.4% gross).
Weather Watch: It has turned cooler and wetter recently, but memories about “the weather” are always notoriously short-term and often too London-centric…so, after the BRC Retail Sales survey for July yesterday, we turned to the Retail weather consultants Planalytics for their regular monthly overview of how last month’s weather “should” have affected trading on the High Street across Great Britain…And their overview for the calendar month of July was headlined “Not Quite as Hot as Last Year: Very Short Spells of Heat”, flagging that Great Britain largely missed out on the European mainland’s first heatwave during the middle of the month, but got a taste of the heat late on. For the month as a whole, it was the 8th warmest July on record, but last year came in at number 4. The average temperature of 17.2° C was 1.4° C below last year, but was 0.8° C above “normal”. Overall, across the
News Flow This Week: The Pendragon interims should be out soon and the Majestic Wine AGM is tomorrow, whilst Friday is the anniversary of Sports Direct’s disastrous acquisition of House of Fraser out of administration last year.