Twinkling lights are just visible behind screens where staff are putting the finishing touches to this year’s Christmas displays, but in other parts of the shop, the lights are still off. John Lewis’s flagship store in Oxford Street, central London, is bearing the scars of the pandemic.

A restaurant and cafe are closed and there are more staff than customers on the furnishings floor. The fashion floor is also a depressing sight, with tags flagging big discounts on racks of unwanted dresses and officewear. Last week it emerged John Lewis had applied for planning permission to convert entire floors of this shop into office space. It’s not hard to see why.

John Lewis, with its employee ownership and reputation for stellar customer service, still holds a special place in shoppers’ hearts. But while sister chain Waitrose, along with other supermarkets, has thrived in the pandemic, results published last week

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a group of people playing football on a field: FILE PHOTO: Pre Season Friendly - L'Aquila 1927 v Napoli

© Reuters/CIRO DE LUCA
FILE PHOTO: Pre Season Friendly – L’Aquila 1927 v Napoli

MILAN (Reuters) – Large private equity funds have teamed up to bid for a minority stake in a firm holding Serie A broadcasting rights, two sources familiar with the matter said, leaving Italy’s top soccer clubs at a crossroads regarding the future of their vital media business.

Looking for ways to lift flagging revenues and weather the coronavirus crisis, Serie A has asked investors to submit bids to buy a stake of up to 15% in a newly-created media company that would control its broadcast rights.

However some clubs are anxious the new structure may reduce their influence over the media business.

Sources say private equity firms CVC Capital Partners, Advent International and Italy’s state-backed fund FSI tabled a joint offer ahead of a deadline that expired on Friday.

A consortium led by Bain Capital, which

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