It was a defining month for the electricals market.

Arcadia plunge

Topshop

Topshop

Harsh trading contributed to an £80.1m fall in full-year group pre-tax profit at Arcadia, but Sir Philip Green said he was “reasonably” pleased with the overall performance. He pointed to strong international and online growth, but by mid-2014 he plans to shut up to 300 of its stores as leases come up for renewal.

It was a defining month for the electricals market. Within a matter of days, Best Buy decided to cut its losses and shut its 11 UK big-box stores, and Comet was sold for just £2 to private investment firm OpCapita after suffering a £9m loss last year and a like-for-like sales plunge of 18.6% between May and the end of October. Under the direction of OpCapita managing partner Henry Jackson, its new owners said they planned to restore Comet’s value credentials. In the same month, Dixonsrevealed its pre-tax losses had widened from £9.6m to £25.3m in the 24 weeks to October 15, although analysts observed that the group’s performance was better than feared.

“We have to put our hands up. We’ve lost our way in Britain”

Alan Parker, Mothercare chairman

Alan Parker, Mothercare chairman

November was busy for M&S. With retailers anxious to gauge the general trading climate, all eyes were on the bellwether as it released its interims. However, it revealed a steep fall in underlying pre-tax profit for the 26 weeks to October 1. While showing M&S had invested in offering customers value for money, chief executive Marc Bolland also warned of increased price competition. Shortly after, the retailer marked its return to France amid much fanfare with the opening of its Paris store using a bricks-and-clicks business model, and in the same month tried out a new model convenience store in London’s Baker Street.

Sainsbury’s revealed it was looking beyond traditional retail formats with the announcement that it was launching its first separate pharmacy outside its supermarkets as it looked to expand its healthcare business.

Mothercare chief executive Ben Gordon left the retailer as chairman Alan Parker marked his first 100 days in office by launching a review of the ailing UK business. The UK business lost £18.5m, and it made an underlying loss of £4.4m at group level and group sales climbed 4% to £412.9m in the period to October 8.

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John Lovering

John Lovering

Veteran retail deal-maker John Lovering joined the board of Peacocks owner Henson No 1. It is speculated he will exert an influence over the value retailer. He was a former chairman of Peacocks, but left its board last year.

  • BRC retail sales figures -1.6%