Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

The retail week: April 6 - April 12

Published: 11 April 2008
High street news
April 6: You can't go just yet, Mr Brown

Tony Brown's start date as chief executive of department store Beales has been put back to June 1.

Mr Brown was due to start at Beales on April 1, but his joining date has been postponed because of contractual issues with Bhs.

Current chief executive Allan Allkins will stay on until May 31.

Mr Brown, 50, has been retail director of British Home Stores since 2001. He was previously operations director of Somerfield Stores and a regional managing director of Asda Stores.

April 7: Somerfield in takeover talks with Co-op

Somerfield has held exclusive talks with Co-op about a deal to purchase Britain's fifth largest grocery chain.
Press reports have said that Co-op has put in a revised bid – it's first was £1.7bn – for Somefield, which has allowed talks to resume, and conduct due diligence on Somerfield's accounts.

April 8: High street gloom

Figures from the Retail Traffic Index (RTI) by analysts SPSL show that monthly footfall numbers (people actually entering shops) in the UK were down by 3.2% year-on-year and up by only 0.8% on February's figures.

April 9: Non-food price inflation rises

  • Month-on-Month: The BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index (SPI) reports non-food prices increased 0.3% in March, slightly less than February (0.4%) on a month-on-month basis.

  • Overall shop prices rose 0.2% in March; in February prices increased 0.4%. There was no reported growth in the price of food products from the previous month, the first time since August last year.

  • Year-on-Year: The index also reports annual shop price inflation of 1.1% in March, marking a twelfth consecutive month of rising annual prices. During the last six months the retail market has experienced relatively steady inflation ranging from 1.0%-1.3%.


  • April 10: Brits pay for services

    British homeowners are spending an estimated £7bn on 'you do it services', a survey from insurance company Legal & General has found.

    According to the figures in the Changing Face of British Culture, 41% said they prefer to pay someone to do their chores for them, which is costing £700 a year.

    The most popular type of help ranges from a dog walker, and car cleaner (5%) to someone to deliver groceries (32%), and employing a window cleaner (61%).

    April 11: Tesco crowned 'Retailer of the year'

    Tesco was crowned 'Retailer of the year' at the prestigious World Retail Awards, which took place at the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya during the annual World Retail Congress in Barcelona.

    The retailer was bestowed the honour after a grand jury of some of the world's most respected retailers and senior industry experts scored it highly on its financial performance, product and store innovation, excellence in customer service and enviable profile in the industry.

    But above all this, judges highlighted the retailer's 'bold and brave move into the fiercely competitive US market' as a key factor in their decision.

    April 12: Indoor products shine at John Lewis; DSG profit warning

    John Lewis has reported a 2% rise in sales to £48.5m for the week to Saturday 5 after poor weather prompted shoppers to look at indoor products. The retailer saw tv sales rise 14%, and computers 30%; online sales of televisions rose 200% over last year.

    In contrast to John Lewis' relatively stellar performance with electronic goods, DSG issued a profit warning leading analysts to reduce their forecasts and call for 'clear direction' from ceo John Browett.

    Poor trading hit the UK particularly with the electricals division suffering.

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