News roundup–VENDA-ECMOD Awards shortlist, profits accelerate at Blackcircles, more

Top names including Toast, Diamond Manufacturers, Seasalt, Victoria Plumb and WorldStores have all made it onto the prestigious venda-ecmod direct commerce awards shortlist. The winners will be revealed at the venda-ecmod direct commerce awards gala dinner and presentation on 18th April at Chelsea Football Club., the online tyre retailer backed by former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, has reported a surge in revenues writes the Telegraph. In 2012,’s revenues rose 30 per cent to £23.2 million, while EBITDA more than doubled to £600,000.

Also from the Telegraph: Tesco faces a bill of about £1 billion to quit its loss-making Fresh & Easy business in the US.

Lovehoney has begun its American push. From today, Lovehoney’s US customers will be able to buy from the sex-toy retailer’s Fifty Shades of Grey range. The line launched in Europe just before Christmas and is the only range endorsed by Fifty Shades author E L James, who helped develop it.

A consortium of investors, led by Stephen Boyd, who chairs leather supplier Pittards and including the ex-managing director of Axminster Carpets Joshua Dutfield, has bought the business “as a going concern” from the administrator, Duff & Phelps. The Independent has more.

Sales of organic vegetable boxes are on the increase but are they still ethical, asks the Guardian. Its blog takes a look and finds that the produce isn’t always local or seasonal and the scheme may be run by a major retailer rather a trusted farmer.

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