Farfetch, TfL, Manchester City: Everything that matters this morning

Farfetch readies for ‘£4bn’ IPO

Luxury UK-based fashion website Farfetch is readying itself for a £4bn initial public offering (IPO) that would see its valuation exceed that placed on the entire Marks & Spencer business.

According to the Financial Times, Farfetch has engaged bankers from JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs to work on a US listing, which would put the business in the same bracket as high profile fashion players such as Burberry (with a £7bn stock market valuation) and Asos (£6.3bn valuation).

Today Farfetch also announced a deal with Harvey Nichols to sell accessories and clothes from the high end department store through its online platform. Harvey Nichols will hope the deal will grow its online presence as web sales currently account for just 10% of its business.

Established in 2008, Farfetch connects nearly 900 boutiques and luxury brands with a customer base of two million shoppers across 190 countries. The company has seen its sales grow by more than 50% a year and boasts an average customer age of just 36.

READ MORE: Farfetch unveils tie-up with Harvey Nichols ahead of ‘£4bn IPO’

TfL bans Brexit sensitive ad from Normandy government

Transport for London (TfL) has banned an advertising campaign from the Normandy government urging British businesses to flee across the Channel as Brexit looms.

TfL claims the campaign from the Normandy Development Agency “did not fully comply” with its advertising guidelines as it contained “images or messages which relate to matters of public controversy or sensitivity”.

Using the design of a mocked up newspaper called The Normandy Times, the outdoor adverts calls for entrepreneurs to “vote with their feet” post-Brexit and relocate their office or production to Northern France.

The advert also carries a mock classified ad which reads: “Hot entrepreneur wanted … Someone allergic to post-Brexit tariffs, legislation and restrictions preferred.”

Despite the TfL ban the campaign will appear on buses in Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Cambridge, as well as running in a series of national newspapers.

READ MORE: Normandy advert to seduce UK firms after Brexit banned

Restaurant bosses warn of ‘perfect storm’ hitting the dining sector

A group of 15 restaurant bosses have signed a joint letter warning the Government it must act to avoid “damaging closures and job losses” in the dining sector.

In a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond, the group, which includes the chief executive of Bills and the chairman of pub and restaurant chain Mitchells & Butlers, have asked for “root and branch” reform of business rates.

The business leaders describe a “perfect storm” of soaring business rates, rising employment costs and Brexit-fuelled inflation hitting the UK dining sector. The letter calls on the Government to reduce the “unnecessary costs of doing business”, saying the “sector is at a tipping point and needs focused attention now”.

Just last week research from accountancy group UHY Hacker Young revealed that one in three of the UK’s top 100 restaurant groups are loss-making, a 75% rise over the past year alone.

In January, the premium burger chain Byron agreed to close 20 restaurants as part of a rescue plan, committing to operate a “smaller and more efficient restaurant estate”.

Last week Italian chain Prezzo confirmed the closure of 94 restaurants, a third of its outlets, while the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group is closing 12 of its remaining 37 Jamie’s Italian restaurants. Carluccio’s has also called in accountants KPMG to advise on possible strategies to cut costs.

READ MORE: Restaurants warn chancellor over ‘damaging closures’

Manchester City expands eSports team

Manchester City

Manchester City is expanding its eSports team with the signing of Kai ‘Deto’ Wollin, who will represent the club in FIFA eSports tournaments and competitions around the world on the PlayStation 4 (PS4) console.

Wollin is Manchester City’s second eSports signing of the season, joining Marcus ‘ExpectSporting’ Jorgensen who signed with the club in December. The addition of Wollin takes the total of eSports players across the City Football Group to four, alongside Chris Holly who represents New York City FC and Marcus Gomes who works with Melbourne City.

Having debuted in the FIFA Championship in 2006, Wollin is the current Playstation World Champion and winner of the World Cyber Games titles in 2011 and 2012. His first competition for Manchester City will be the FUT Champions Cup in April.

According to City Football Group chief marketing officer, Nuria Tarre, the club is looking to tap into the growth of eSports over the past two years and use its presence in the gaming space to connect with Manchester City’s global fanbase, particularly the “younger audience”.

Gin sales hit record high

Pink Gin

Gin sales hit a record high over Christmas with consumers buying the equivalent of a bottle for every adult in the UK, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

Sales of the spirit rose by £104m over the festive period compared with the previous year. Over 16 million bottles of gin were sold in the 12 weeks to the end of December, up 28% on Christmas 2016.

Looking at the year as a whole, UK consumers bought 51 million bottles of gin in 2017, up 27% on 2016. That is the equivalent of more than nine and a half million bottles.

The boom in gin has spawned the rapid growth of UK distilleries, which now number 315 nationwide, more than double the amount operating across Britain five years ago.

READ MORE: Gin sales hit record high as consumers bought the equivalent of a bottle for every adult in the UK

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