BHS row draws in Green as government seeks buyer, Costa sales up... and more

Welcome to Marketing's early morning roundup, a daily shot of news and a recap of the best longer reads and videos.

BHS: Sir Philip Green comes under fire

Retail tycoon Sir Philip Green has been lambasted by MPs on both sides of the aisle, after BHS - the retailer he sold last year for £1 - went into administration yesterday.

One Conservative backbencher, Richard Fuller, called Green "the unacceptable face of capitalism", after it emerged that Retail Acquisitions, the consortium he sold BHS to last March, took £25m out of the company.

The company’s joint administrators, Philip Duffy and Benjamin Wiles, said it would continue to trade as they attempted to sell it as a going concern. Reports say they have already received more than 30 expressions of interest for all or parts of the business.

Business minister Anna Soubry said the Government hoped a buyer would be found, but if that didn’t happen "then the Government will obviously stand ready to offer assistance".

Shadow business secretary Angela Eagle was among those issuing the harshest words for Green. She accused him of taking out £422m in dividends, "far more in value than he paid for the business in the first place".

"BHS staff and the public will understandably want to know whether the former owner who took so many millions of pounds out of the business will have to pay his fair share of the liabilities which accrued during his stewardship," she added.

Source: The Telegraph

Costa owner Whitbread plans further expansion

Whitbread, owner of Costa Coffee and the Premier Inn chain of hotels, has promised further expansion after publishing rosy financial results.

In the 53 weeks to 3 March, sales at Costa were up 2.9% like for like, and up 16.3% overall to £1.1bn, thanks to the coffee chain opening 103 new outlets.

Revenues at the company’s hotels and restaurants branch were up 9.8% per cent to £1.8bn.

The growth helped Whitbread deliver profits before tax of £487.7m - up 5.2% on the previous year (equivalent to 2.2% once the additional accounting week is stripped out).

The business is targeting 85,000 hotel rooms and £2.5bn of coffee sales by the end of the decade.

Source: City AM

EU campaigns put faith in Facebook

Facebook has emerged as a key communications battleground for the Leave and Remain campaigns in the forthcoming EU referendum.

James McGrory, the chief campaign spokesperson for official In campaign Britain Stronger in Europe told the FT that Facebook was "a huge part of our operation with extraordinary reach."

The campaign has employed Tom Edmonds and Craig Elder, of political consultancy Edmonds Elder, to run its digital campaign. They previously ran the Conservative party’s online operations in last year’s general election, when the party spent £1.2m on Facebook ads — more than it spent on posters.

Both sides appear to be neglecting traditional media, especially print. Vote Leave has taken out no print ads at all, while Remain has only done so in some specialist and regional publications - helping it to target ethnic minority communities.

Source: FT

Catch up with some of our longer reads...

Creativity is a serious business: from shape-shifting cars to creating compelling content

As Marketing explores creativity and design in its April issue, editor Rachel Barnes discusses what creativity means in the digital age and why we should all embrace these "disruptive, messy, exciting and sometimes uncomfortable and challenging" times.

Mary Portas: creativity is about finding a brand's essence and expressing it in a powerful way

The queen of the high street discusses how advertising was the last thing on her mind when designing the retail experience.

Have a listen to the Marketing Mind podcast...

Domino's head of digital Nick Dutch, and Iris' head of planning Ben Essen join the podcast to talk about their experiences at SXSW, discussing everything from capitalism as a valid economic model to whether marketers can ever ethically use brainwave-reading headsets.

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