MONSOON ACCESSORIZE TO CLOSE 10 IRISH STORES - The women's clothing and accessories chain, Monsoon Accessorize, needs to close at least 10 of its 18 stores if it is to have a reasonable prospect of survival , the High Court has been told writes the Irish Times. The company has 269 employees, of whom 60 are full time. Mr Justice Brian McGovern yesterday appointed Declan McDonald of PricewaterhouseCoopers as examiner to Monsoon Accessorize Ireland Ltd to enable implementation of a restructuring plan aimed at securing its future. The court was told all vouchers and store credits would be honoured during examinership and its UK parent company, Monsoon Accessorize Ltd, would provide funds to ensure the Irish company could continue to trade until August 2014, when it was expected to return to profit if certain conditions were met. Among those conditions are the closure of a minimum of 10 stores and the securing of rent reductions in the remaining outlets, an independent accountant has said in a report. The accountant has also recommended a corresponding reduction in employment, a renegotiation of royalties payable to the parent company, the writing down of liabilities of certain creditors and the redirecting of sales generated online in Ireland back to the Irish business.
AER LINGUS FLIERS TO LEAVE DREARY T1 AT HEATHROW IN SLIPSTREAM - The long and winding walk to Terminal 1 at London's Heathrow Airport will be a thing of the past for Irish travellers from next year as Aer Lingus shifts to the new Terminal 2, says the Irish Independent. Aer Lingus has confirmed that it will move operations to the rebuilt Terminal 2 next year once it's completed. Heathrow's owner is planning to close Terminal 1 by 2016 for some years. The move will come as a welcome relief to hundreds of thousands of passengers flying between Britain and Ireland. For years, they've endured the long trek to and from departure gates at Terminal 1, feeling like second-class citizens as travellers enjoyed better surroundings at other terminals. Aer Lingus first entered discussions last year about a move to Terminal 2. The old facility there was demolished in 2010 and work continues apace on its replacement - a 200,000sqm building that is costing about £2.5 billion (€2.9 billion) to develop. It will open in the middle of next year and is currently being fitted out. The state-of-the-art terminal will serve about 20 million passengers a year.
GERMANY DEFIES CALLS FOR STIMULUS - Germany has ignored calls from its eurozone partners for more economic stimulus by tabling plans to cut spending and balance its budget ahead of schedule on the eve of an EU summit dedicated to growth, says the Financial Times. Wolfgang Schäuble, German finance minister, said on Wednesday that his budget for 2014, involving spending cuts of more than €5 billion to trim the total below €300 billion, was "a strong signal for Europe". The plan means Germany will reach budget balance in 2015, a year earlier than required under the "debt brake" written into its constitution. He described the 2014 spending plan as "growth-friendly consolidation", intended to prove to the rest of the eurozone that "consistent sustainable budgeting and growth are not mutually exclusive". Philipp Rösler, economy minister, said Germany's public finances were the "envy of the world". Publication of the budget was deliberately brought forward by a week to bring out the figures before the EU summit, according to German officials. In spite of tough cuts for health, social security and environment, the plan was rushed through the cabinet well ahead of schedule. It could scarcely have come at a more sensitive moment, with other members of the eurozone, led by France and Italy, looking for relaxation of the tough budget guidelines laid down in the stability and growth pact that underpins the euro.
WHY TESCO STUCK OUT ITS NEXT TO BUY THE GIRAFFE CHAIN - Tesco's chief executive Philip Clarke would be the first to admit that his supermarket has a lot more than horsemeat on its plate. Last year the once-formidable supermarket giant issued a profits warning, reported its first profit decline for two decades, and saw its market share drop amid a recession, rising food prices and a feeling that Tesco was becoming just too ubiquitous. To make matters worse, Tesco is harbouring a format which even Mr Clarke concedes needs to be warmer just as the rise of online shopping increases the need to make its stores more attractive to shoppers, says today's London Independent. Tesco is addressing its format conundrum by buying separately branded consumer-friendly chains to put in or near to its stores and stepped up its campaign yesterday, acquiring the child-friendly 47-outlet Giraffe restaurant chain for £48.6m from shareholders such as a fund run by former PizzaExpress chairman Luke Johnson. Over the next year, it plans to open 10 new Giraffe outlets next to Tesco Extra hypermarkets with further sites planned over the next few years. The Giraffe deal builds on Tesco's acquisition of a 49% stake in the 13-outlet Harris + Hoole coffee shop chain, which plans to more than double in size this year. Tesco has also snapped up an undisclosed holding in Euphorium Bakery.