Firms enjoy feel-good factor

Denton Hall and Manches & Co have each tied the knot on a deal in the retail market, where there is evidence that the elusive feel-good factor is persuading consumers to spend more money in the high street.

Tony Grant led the Dentons team which advised wholesaler Bemrose Corporation in its acquisition of Charles Letts Group, the country's largest manufacturer of diaries, for £24.1 million. The purchase was partly financed by a rights issue for £21. 5 million.

“This deal is very much part of management's strategy of building value for shareholders. All the usual documentation had to be drawn up for both the fund raising and the acquisition itself,” said Grant.

Manches advised Moss Bros Group on the purchase of Blazer, the men's casual wear chain, from Storehouse for £7 million. The firm, whose other retail clients include WH Smith, Do it All and Carpenters, also advised the company on the issue of shares which were placed by SBC Warburg to finance the purchase.

Manches' team was led by corporate partner Melvin Pedro, head of property Louis Manches, and Caroline Spicer and Sarah Wise were involved.

The deals come as firms take heart from the latest survey from the Ernst & Young ITEM club, which anticipates that consumer spending will grow by 4 per cent in 1997, up from the increase of 2.7 per cent in 1996. “This would be the most robust high street activity in the UK since 1988,” said the report.

In another development, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said that recent Bank of England figures confirm higher levels of mortgage lending since the spring.