Morning business news - November 14

Thursday 14 November 2013 13.25
Morning business news with Conor Brophy
Morning business news with Conor Brophy

PAMELA SCOTT OPENS NEW DUBLIN CITY CENTRE SHOP - Fashion retailer Pamela Scott exited examinership in May and today it opens its fourth new shop since successfully emerging from that process. It also has plans for more new stores 

Scott Barron, director of Pamela Scott's parent company Flairline Fashions, says that 40% of the company went into the examership process bascially because of high rents. Mr Barron says that while the company had good landlords, who did agree to short-term rent reductions, it needed to get its cost structures down to a sustainable level on a long-term basis. The court process succeeded in doing that. But he cautions that the process is a very expensve option, which requires a hugh amount of work. He says there should be a cheaper, faster option for smaller companies who find themselves in a similar situation as Flairline.

Mr Barron says that Flairline did not "mess" its suppliers around when it was in the examinership process, adding that it has been in business for 40 years. He says that while the company was not able to pay its bills for a month, they kept the process "clean". 

Pamela Scott opens a new store in Dublin's Henry Street today, but Mr Barron says that turnover is still a very challenging problem for retailers. He says that it is a constant challenge to deal with the competition from the multiple chain stores as well as online retailers.

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MORNING BRIEFS - The Irish subsidiary of Belgian bank KBC has reported a loss after charging for impairments on soured loans of €80m for the three months to the end of September. That is an improvement on the €93m loss in the same period last year. Impairment charges on loans were down from €129m to €98m. Separately KBC's parent has issued a statement saying it has accepted with regret a decision by KBC Ireland chief executive John Reynolds to leave the company after 29 years, four of them as CEO, to "pursue further opportunities". Wim Verbraeken, KBC Ireland's chief financial officer, will replace him.

*** Two out of every three exporters here have grown their sales this year. A new report from the Irish Exporters Association found the majority of exporters had targetted new markets in the past year. Brazil, Russia and China were the most popuular targets. 80% of Irish Exporters are predicting further growth in 2014.

*** Irish sportswear maker O'Neills has reported a 25% increase in exports last year to expats and GAA clubs in locations ranging from Chicago to Kuwait. Australia, the UK and the US are the key markets for O'Neills.

*** Coffee chain Starbucks has found a silver lining in a $2.7 billion compensation payment it had to pay to Kraft Foods. The payment, enforced on Starbucks after binding arbitration on Tuesday, was to settle a dispute over its decision to terminate Kraft's contract to package and distribute Starbucks coffee in supermarkets. Starbucks has already effectively clawed back $1 billion though because it has restated its accounts. The impact of booking the compensation payment means it wipes out $1.7 billion profit but also wipes out an $832m tax bill that Starbucks would otherwise have had to pay. No profit means no tax. 

*** Sony has set a target of selling five million of its new Playstation 4 consoles between tomorrow, when it goes on sale for the first time in the US, and the end of March. Andrew House, president Sony Computer Entertainment, denied suggestions from some stock market analysts that Sony would be losing up to $150 on each Playstation 4 it sells. Mr House said the $150 loss per unit estimate was "very, very significantly wide of the mark". The Irish retail price of €399 is around 30% higher than the US retail price in dollar terms. The consoles go on sale here at the end of the month.