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21 Feb 2021 | 18:31

Sunday newspaper round-up: Lloyds, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer

(Sharecast News) - Lloyds chief Antonio Horta-Osorio will this week preside over his final set of annual results before leaving the saddle at the Black Horse bank. [...] Lloyds surprised the City in October by setting aside less cash than expected to cover bad loans. But analysts reckon the bank is likely to have become more cautious amid the two subsequent lockdowns. With bank dividends back on the agenda, a 1p a share payout for 2020 is expected, which could reach 2p but remains well short of the 3.2p divi as recently as 2018. Maybe Horta-Osorio will give investors a lift with a surprise parting gift. - Financial Mail on Sunday The John Lewis Partnership is preparing to close another raft of department stores as chairwoman Dame Sharon White takes more drastic measures to slash costs. Up to eight John Lewis stores could be shut permanently, with the chain's bigger, older shops thought to be most at risk. The final number of closures is yet to be determined as it is subject to negotiations with landlords. In some instances John Lewis may close a store but relocate to a smaller property nearby. - Sunday Times

High street giant Marks & Spencer is set to kickstart a once-in-a-generation overhaul of its clothing strategy by offering a string of top fashion brands alongside its own ranges. The first in a raft of third-party brands will launch on its website this week, with more new labels from outside the business being added over the coming months. The high street stalwart has signed up Touker Suleyman, the fashion veteran and one of the stars of BBC's Dragons' Den, to launch his Finery London label on its website on Thursday. - Financial Mail on Sunday

Boris Johnson should use his presidency of the G7 this year to insist that UK banks take part in the global push to alleviate a new developing country debt crisis, a campaign group has urged. The Jubilee Debt Campaign (JDC) said there was a special responsibility on Britain to act, as it released new figures showing that London-based banks were the largest owners of debt issued by poor countries. - Guardian

Uber could be facing a VAT bill of more than £2 billion after a groundbreaking defeat in the Supreme Court, which upheld a ruling that its drivers are not self-employed. Friday's victory for the 25 Uber workers who brought the case has heaped more pressure on HM Revenue & Customs to clamp down on the Californian ride-hailing giant. It did not pay VAT on fares in Britain because it argued that its drivers were independent contractors, rather than workers. - Sunday Times

An online provider of ready meals for the over-60s is exploring an £80 million float that would crystallise multimillion-pound fortunes for its founders. Parsley Box, founded in 2017 by Gordon and Adrienne MacAulay, is understood to be working with broker FinnCap. Options could include a listing on London's junior AIM market. - Sunday Times



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