Blundered legislation allows DVD traders to escape prosecution

A number of DVD and video game retailers that were found to have sold 18-rated products to children will escape prosecution due to a legal loophole, it has been reported.

As a result of a mistake made during the implementation of the 1984 Video Recordings Act, namely the failure to notify the European Commission of the law's introduction, all new cases will be dropped.

The discovery has come at a bad time for one council that was still pursuing a possible prosecution, according to

Sean Murphy, head of West Berkshire's trading standards, told the publication: "We had just done a district-wide survey on underage sales. The fact that we had three underage sales was disappointing."

"We were still looking into one of the issues, however, clearly in light of what's come out, it seems to have drawn a close to that."

He went on to say that although nothing could be done until new legislation was passed in three months' time, the council hoped local retailers would "act responsibly".

Those prosecuted before the discovery of the loophole will not be able to have the decision overturned or seek financial compensation.

The Licence Factory in Administration

Main funders of troubled importer and wholesaler, The Licence Factory, have called in RSM Tenon as administrators.

The Licence Factory, whose parent company, Marlwood PLC, also used to own clearance specialist Brennan Atkinson, was floated on the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange in 2009 although its shares have been suspended since April this year.

The Licence Factory specialises in the import of brand licenced products such as watches and fashion accessories. The clearance business, Brennan Atkinson, was sold back to its founder Martin Abramson last year in a £2.5m deal.

It will remain to be seen whether the troubles at The Licence Factory and Marlwood will have a knock on effect at Brennan Atkinson as they are still very closely linked through both a three year consultancy deal that was a condition of Mr Abramson repurchasing the company and his control of the ultimate holding company, Hannah Martin Holdings.

Marlwood made a pre-tax loss of £1.36 million on revenues of £3.04 million in 2010.

Shop Front Grant Scheme in Stratford on Avon

Stratford-on-Avon District Council is hoping to improve the appearance of shop fronts in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The proposals if approved at the October District Council Cabinet meeting will offer shopkeepers grants of up to £10,000 to fund up to 60% of the costs of improvements to relevant properties along the 'Historic Spine'.

Its aim is to help regenerate the town's retail sector providing a more pleasant environment for both local residents and tourists visiting the town. It is also hoped that the scheme will encourage new business tenants for some of the empty properties making the town centre more attractive for shoppers and to potential businesses looking to invest in the town.

Cllr Sue Wixey, Deputy Leader of Stratford District Council said: "We have listened to local businesses and appreciate the need to help improve the image and environment of Stratford town centre. By offering up to 60% grants, we hope to encourage the private sector to invest in vital improvements and ensure that our key heritage is at its best for residents and visitors to enjoy. We are working with the Historic Spine Action Group and will focus our early attention on Henley Street, High Street and Chapel Street, the key retail part of the Historic Spine."

The District Council will work in partnership with the Historic Spine Group to market the scheme and assess applications.

The 'Stratford-upon-Avon High Street Study' (Colin Davis Associates, Dec 2004) was adopted by Stratford District Council as supplementary Planning Guidance in November 2009 and clearly illustrates the potential for significant improvement to shop fronts. The scheme will prioritise proposals that help deliver these improvements, initially focussing on Henley Street, High Street and Chapel Street.

Earlier this year POUNDLAND in Stratford was told to change its “out of place” shopfront, after losing a planning appeal for retrospective permission for signage on its recently opened Bridge Street store. The signs had been described as “garish” by opponents. Martyn Luscombe, chairman of Stratford Voice, the town’s environmental pressure group which had led the protest against the signage, said: “We are delighted that the Planning Inspectorate has supported our view that the existing signage is much too garish and dominating for its location in this sensitive site.”

David Heasman © 2010 - The Wholesaler (UK) Ltd

Organisers of the London Gift Fair, Clarion Events have today announced that the 2011 event will be postponed.

The company explained that although they feel that there is a need for another gift fair in London, given the current market conditions it would be best to postpone the show until the mrket improves.

The London Gift Fair was due to be co-located with Top Drawer, Clarion are now hoping that they can utilise some of the vacant space in the National Hall, Olympia with more Top Drawer exhibitors.

David Heasman © 2011 - The Wholesaler (UK) Ltd

Trade News Archive 2008 


Bingley retailers give mixed reactions to Sainsbury's plans

Independent businesses have given mixed reactions to a proposed new Sainsbury's store in Bingley town centre.

The supermarket, which has acquired the old Bradford & Bingley headquarters, is hopeful of opening a new 40,000 sq ft outlet in the West Yorkshire town, the Telegraph & Argus reports.

Jamie Illingworth, Bingley Chamber of Trade's chairman, explained to the newspaper that he is hopeful the store will attract more shoppers to Bingley and boost trade at other local businesses.

However, Paulette Johnson, who owns the Rustic Garden flower shop, said she feared a new Sainsbury's would damage trade at the nearby 5Rise development.

Margaret Anderson, her colleague, told the paper: "I have lived in Bingley for 30 years and over that time, we have lost all the individual shops and we were just starting to get them back again. My worry is that they will suffer."

Elsewhere, The Press and Journal reports that plans for a new supermarket in Stonehaven, north-east Scotland, have been rejected over fears that it will damage trade at local businesses.

© 2010


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