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Deloitte comments on ONS retail sales

In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity.

Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, said: “Retail sales continued to struggle in May, despite both values and volumes rising by 11.8% and 12% compared to April. In a month that saw two bank holiday weekends, some easing of outdoor social gatherings, and warmer weather for many, retailers may have been looking for the first green shoots of recovery to make up for lost ground in March and April.

“Overall food sales values were flat, at +0.3% month-on-month, but, whilst grocers may have hoped for stronger food sales in what is traditionally the start of barbecue season, online grocery sales remain strong, up by 21.1% compared to April and now accounting for 11.3% of all food sales. More encouragingly, non-food sales are up month-on-month in both value (+24.2%) and volume (+23.7%) for the first time since lockdown, which, for some, will mark the early signs of ‘normality’ for this time of year. However, 41.5% of non-food sales occurred online in May, up from 15.8% in February 2020 before lockdown.

“A wider disparity between online and in-store sales remains this month in spite of garden centre and hardware store re-openings. Total online sales stood at 33.4% this month, beating April’s record sales, though this is unlikely to have offset sales usually seen in-store over this period. In addition to household goods, purchases have also likely been driven by beauty products and, more notably, clothing items as many consumers continue to work from home, with an increased requirement for video conferencing and a more relaxed ‘work’ wardrobe.

“Looking ahead, as non-essential retailers begin to phase-in store reopening plans, some consumer anxiety will remain. During lockdown, consumers have pivoted to fewer but bigger food shops. Whether this trend will also translate into non-food remains to be seen. For retailers, there are two options: a difficult balancing act to between re-creating a familiar shopping experience whilst implementing and maintaining strict new hygiene practices, or innovating and re-inventing the shopping experience for a post-COVID-19 world. Deloitte data shows that 46% of UK consumers currently feel safe visiting a store, but building on this confidence will be key for drawing more shoppers back to the High Street over the coming months.”

Hogan Lovells and Reed Smith advise on the sale of Softomotive

Hogan Lovells and Reed Smith have both played advisory roles in the sale of Softomotive, one of the leading worldwide providers of Robotic Process Automation solutions, to Microsoft. The addition of Softomotive brings Microsoft closer to its 2020 resolution to ’empower tech intensity in its customers and partners’ including in RPA, which is forecast to reach an estimated $7.2 billion by 2025.

The Hogan Lovells team advising the shareholders of Softomotive, including UK-based growth equity firm Grafton Capital, was led by corporate partner Richard Diffenthal, with support from senior associate Simon Grimshaw and associate Joseph Platt (corporate), partner Karen Hughes and senior associate Tom Eyre Brook (UK tax), partner Fiona Bantock (ESI), partners Nancy O’Neill and Kurt Lawson and senior associate Caitlin Piper (on US Tax) and partner Matt Eisler and counsel Ryan Adrian (US corporate).

The Reed Smith team advising Microsoft was led by corporate partner Mike Young, supported by partners Casper Fox (corporate), Gregor Pryor (entertainment & media), David Ashmore (employment), Ramsey Hanna (entertainment & media) and Anthony Poulopoulos (corporate), counsels Stephen Mooney (corporate), Christina Nikiforaki (regulatory enforcement), senior associates Tufayel Hussain (corporate) and Nick Breen (entertainment & media), and associates Harrison Stimson (corporate), Charlotte MacArthur (real estate), Haig Siranosian (litigation), Roch Glowacki (entertainment & media) and Tom Baxter (corporate).

Commenting on the transaction, Hogan Lovells partner, Richard Diffenthal said: “RPA is undoubtedly the future of IT automation and Softomotive have already proven to be pioneers and innovators in this marketplace. It was a real privilege to support Softomotive on this deal, and to work closely with co-founders Marios Stavropoulos and Anargyros Kaninis, as well as Oliver Thomas and his team at Grafton Capital.”

Mike Young, corporate partner at Reed Smith, added: “We are pleased to once again have supported Microsoft on an important acquisition that ensures they remain at the forefront of RPA solutions.”

NIKE, Inc. announces sale of Hurley to Bluestar Alliance

NIKE, Inc. announced today it has reached a definitive agreement to sell the Hurley brand to Bluestar Alliance LLC. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed and it is expected to be complete in December.

“We appreciate how Bob and the Hurley team have built Hurley into the world’s most innovative surf brand,” said Michael Spillane, President of Categories and Product, NIKE, Inc. “As we drive increasingly more targeted investment and focused growth through Nike’s Consumer Direct Offense, this change in ownership will allow sharper focus and intentional investment in Hurley’s growth potential.”

“We have always admired the Hurley brand as it has maintained its leadership role and premium positioning in the surf world,” stated Joey Gabbay, CEO of Bluestar Alliance. “This is a transformative acquisition for Bluestar as Hurley’s international footprint will enhance Bluestar’s reach around the world. We look forward to building upon the existing Hurley network and expanding to additional countries with the deep relationships that already exist within the Bluestar portfolio of brands. We see Hurley continuing to evolve into a 360-degree lifestyle brand, with action sports playing a key role.”

About NIKE, Inc.

NIKE, Inc., based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly-owned NIKE, Inc. subsidiary brands include Converse, which designs, markets and distributes athletic lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories; and Hurley, which designs, markets and distributes surf and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://investors.nike.com/