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Retail news round-up: Discounting; route to better service; help in the supply chain

Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, believes that retailers are in ‘a tricky place and have little choice but to continue to discount’, reflected in the -0.3% fall in non-food prices in April over March.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson says that ‘seeing online and stores as two separate channels will become increasingly irrelevant’, and this will deliver better service and experiences for customers and enable new emerging brands and entrepreneurs to grow.

New research by the Federation of Small Businesses shows that just 30% of small firms are currently given some sort of help to make positive changes within their business by bigger firms in the supply chain. Of those that did receive assistance, 83% said it had a positive impact on their business.

Property developer St Modwen is disposing of retail assets the Longbridge Shopping Park in Birmingham and Wembley Central in London.

BHS.com said that demand for its lighting, home accessories and sleepwear had helped boost its sales by 23% in the six months to April 28. The online business was set up in September 2016 following the collapse of the BHS department store chain.

Marks & Spencer plans to close 100 stores by 2022 as it aims to take at least a third of sales online and switches its focus away from clothing and homeware while also scaling back its food expansion.

 

ÏD Kids has made its debut in the UK market, opening up a branch next to struggling Mothercare in Southside shopping centre, London. Mothercare has re-appointed Mark Newton-Jones as its CEO a month after his resignation. Former Tesco’s executive, David Wood, becomes the retailer’s group managing director. Mothercare is to close 50 of its 137 stores with around 800 jobs being lost and has agreed a refinancing package.

Glassdoor, the workplace review website, has been sold for £888 million to Japan-based Recruit Holdings.

Figures from the Birmingham Assay Office show that the number of gold and platinum pieces hallmarked in April rose by 12.1% and 10.9% respectively, although the average volume of silver hallmarked fell by 13.8%, while palladium dropped by 21.6%.

Seven out of eight workers believe factors other than pay are most important in their jobs, according to jobs’ website Indeed. And more than a half of 2,500 employees questioned said they would refuse a pay rise if it meant working in an environment they didn’t like.

Although there has been a 7% year-on-year increase in the number of retail industry insolvencies, bringing the total to 1,071, the number of CVAs has decreased by more than a half over the last five years, according to law firm RPC.

Alan Monahan