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Retail news round-up: Deflation; people who lie on their CVs; multiple difficulties

Shop prices continued to fall in April, representing the deepest period of deflation since February last year, according to the BRC and Nielsen. There have now been five years of shop price deflation. Overall, there was a 1% decline last month, although non-food prices fell 2.2% compared to March when they were down by 1.9%.

Ninety per cent of retail professionals have got away with lying on their CV, a survey from independent job board, CV-Library, has revealed. Furthermore, 90.9% of retail professionals admitted to knowing that it’s wrong to do so. Some 1,000 UK workers were asked if they’ve ever considered lying on their CV, or to a potential employer, in order to secure a job. The data shows that 70.8% of retail workers think that professionals are forced to twist the truth because employers expect too much of them.

Some 65.2% of respondents said they lied to look more professional, whereas 53% did it to obtain a higher salary. A further 51.5% were dishonest to make themselves look more qualified, while 37.9% wanted to look more skilled.

John Lewis has seen more couples than ever before including smart home products on their. Other techy gifts, donations to charity and honeymoon contributions are also on the up as wedding gifts according to the bellwether retailer. In 2011 the most popular gift list item at John Lewis was premium cutlery, compared to the smart speakers that take both first and second place on this year’s wedding wish list. Firepits, Droids and designer coffee machines are also very much wanted by modern couples. The number of couples asking for charity donations has almost tripled.

Total like-for-like in-store sales were down by 3.8% in April, according to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker. The homewares sector was the worst performing, falling 8.8%, its worst April on record, while lifestyle sales were down 3.7%.

Adidas and Reebok have again topped the Fashion Transparency Index, a review of 150 of the biggest global fashion brands and retailers ranked on how much they disclose about their social and environmental policies, practices and impact. They scored 144.5 out of a 250 possible points and were followed by Puma, H&M, Esprit, Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, C&A and Marks & Spencer.

An analysis by insolvency consultancy Begbies Traynor found that 42,958 retailers ended the first quarter of the year in significant financial distress – up 21% on 2017.

The Queen’s Award for Enterprise has been awarded to family-owned jeweller Pragnells, which said that the achievement was due to the development of its jewellery offering, high quality customer service, and comprehensive training programmes.

Mass structural change across retail was responsible for a drop of 2.5% in the number of people working in the industry and a 3.2% fall in hours in the first financial quarter, according to the British Retail Consortium’s retail employment monitor.

The market is still proving a challenge for many multiple retailers as House of Fraser seeks a CVA whilst facing legal proceedings from stakeholder, Sports Direct. Carpetright is to close 81 stores and cut some 300 jobs as part of its CVA, while discount retailer Poundworld is also weighing store closures. Toys R Us and Maplin are to close down completely.

The Times reported that the collapse of Toys R Us has left suppliers, landlords, employees and other unsecured creditors with a shortfall of almost £1.1 billion, according to the store chain’s administrator.

Alan Monahan