Morning business news - April 3

Thursday 03 April 2014 10.49
Morning business news with Conor Brophy
Morning business news with Conor Brophy

Online retailer Micksgarage is gearing up for a big international expansion. It already ships car parts and accessories to 70 different countries but is set to grow its presence in Europe and the US significantly.

Managing director Ciaran Crean says that the company moved into "multi-channel mode" late last year and has been selling on eBay and Amazon.com in a lot of European countries, including France and Germany. Mr Crean says the company has been using the move as a revenue generator but also as a market research tool, adding that the French and German markets are proving to be very receptive to their product. To this end, the company is in the process of launching a micksgarage.de and micksgarage.fr sites to complement those launches. He says he believes the name will travel well, adding that the company would be happy to rebrand if the need arises.

Mr Crean says the company is expecting a 60% increase in turnover this year, as it sees a "phenomenal" repeat business rate. He says that e-commerce is on the rise as it continues its relentless march higher, adding that the company is not just riding the rising wave of e-commerce but is pushing aggressively in terms of customer acquisition and customer experience worldwide.

***

MORNING BRIEFS - The real estate investment trust Hibernia has purchased a large warehouse site in Newlands Cross for €10m. Real Estate Investment trusts are tax-efficient, publicly quoted funds that take in money from investors to buy commercial property. The Gateway site is located within the Dublin commuter belt alongside the Luas and close to the M50 and it brings Hibernia's spend to €128m since it listed on the Irish Stock Exchange in December. The Gateway site was sold by An Post at the peak of the property market in 2006 for €107m.

*** Aryzta, the Swiss/Irish baked goods company, has completed the acquisition of Canada's Pineridge Bakery. The €730m deal to buy Pineridge and a US food company called Cloverhill Bakery was announced by Aryzta last month. The Pineridge portion of the acquisition has now been cleared by regulators in Canada.

*** There has never been a bad time to own a Prada handbag but now is not necessarily the best time to own the company's shares. They fell 9% after the Italian fashion house issued a downbeat growth forecast alongside its annual results. Prada reported a strong rise in sales for last year but pointed to softening demand for luxury goods in Europe and flagged a likely slowdown in sales growth in China - its key market.

*** Amazon shares are also down overnight, albeit only slightly, following the announcement of its new Fire TV device offering streaming television and film content. Amazon hopes the device will boost subscriptions to its Prime streaming service a rival to the likes of Netflix and Hulu which currently has 20 million active users. One problem Amazon had not anticipated, though, is that FireTV apparently shares its name with an adult website which has already caught out unwary consumers looking for more details on the new product.