Nearly a year after the EU referendum, Prime Minister Theresa May has called a general election to bring certainty and stability to these turbulent times.

Both would be welcomed by retailers, who have spent much of the last year working out what Brexit means for them, whether it’s rising costs for businesses or rising prices for consumers – or maybe even bright sunlit uplands as the UK forges new trading relationships internationally.

But business goes on nevertheless and this week the spotlight is on department stores. Today brought House of Fraser’s full-year results, and rival Debenhams will update on strategy on Thursday.

Many department store groups are in the midst of business transformation as they seek to ensure continued relevance to consumers, and there was some good news from House of Fraser.

Annual profits more than doubled and the new financial year has not started too badly – even if there was an element of predictable unpredictability as performance rebounded in March after a weak February.

The election will no doubt, certainly in the short term, bring further volatility. But in the end it will be the soundness of retailer’s strategies that will ensure long-term success, whoever wins the election.

We also revealed today that B&Q boss Michael Loeve is to stand down and reported on a new departure for online retailer Farfetch – its ‘store of the future’.

Quote of the day

“I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead is to hold this election”

– Prime Minister Theresa May as she called a snap general election

Today in numbers


Proportion of House of Fraser’s total sales accounted for by online


Sum awarded by an employment tribunal to 110 former BHS head office staff after ruling that there was insufficient consultation when they lost their jobs

Tomorrow’s agenda

Tomorrow brings an update from luxury giant Burberry.

George MacDonald, executive editor